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3 Questions You Have to Ask Yourself Before You Get Your Song Mastered

Guy Sternberg, LowSwing studio, Berlin. (Photo by Marc Wathieu)

Many of the bands and artists that come through our studio don't know the difference between mixing and mastering, so before we go any further, let's clarify that first. Mastering is the final step of audio post-production. The purpose of mastering is to balance all the sonic elements of your mix, to get a universally satisfying playback across all media formats, and to sweeten your overall mix.

Now the big question is, "How do I know that my mix is ready for mastering?" Well, there are three things you need to ask yourself to find out.

How to Seamlessly Incorporate Synths and MIDI Into Your Next Project

Image via performermag.com

This article originally appeared on Performer Magazine.

 

When some musicians hear the words "synthesizers" and "MIDI," images of dayglow T-shirts and frizzed-out '80s hairdos flash before their eyes. Most artists who do not regularly use these tools in their music have this antiquated idea of what synthesizers and MIDI are capable of and may be ignorant to the leaps that have been made in the respective technologies. Basically, what we're trying to say is synthesizers and MIDI are no longer just for cheesy robot sounds and old eight-bit video games anymore. We can now utilize these tools to create ambience in our songs, realistically replicate instruments that we may otherwise not be able to record, and create tracks that can be easily edited/manipulated to our needs. But let us break down the differences between synths and MIDI first, so we know what we're dealing with here.

8 Commonly Overlooked Ways to Save Money on Your Album Production Costs

Downtown Recording in Louisville, KY. (Photo by Jason Meredith)

If you're like most of the musicians that we see coming into the studio, you don't have a major label financing the recording/mixing/mastering of your album. Most artists have to pay for the production costs themselves, and most of them have to work on a budget. Now, this seems like a pretty daunting task. You may be asking yourself, "How am I supposed to record and produce an entire album without having to take out a second mortgage on the house?" In all our years of engineering and producing albums, we have found a number of things you can do as an artist to make your time in the studio as efficient as possible.

Why Won't Music Supervisors Listen to My Music?

Fatz Belvedere in the studio recording "Broken." (Photo by Lenny Marin)

Picture this: you're a music supervisor. Your job is to quickly find and secure great music that perfectly fits visual scenes on TV shows, films, software, and advertisements. You go to many pitch sessions every day where you watch scenes and listen as directors tell you what they're imagining for each scene. There may be temp tracks that the director has been working with during the shooting and editing process that they want to stay close to, or maybe there's a blank slate and you have to find an amazing piece of music that will encapsulate the feel the director is trying to capture. And, oh yeah, the director wants the music right now. And you're working on a tight budget.

What's the Difference Between Song Plugging and Song Licensing?

A.R. Rahman with Orianthi during the recording of Sadda Haq. (Image via bollywoodhungama.com)

As a musical artist, the world of music publishing can be hard to wrap your head around. If you're fortunate enough to get a music publisher interested in your songs, what are they going to do for you? Well, there are two basic directions a music publisher can go with your music: trying to get a major artist interested in covering your song (song plugging), or trying to get your song into a TV show, film, software, or advertisement (licensing). Both take a completely different approach and different set of skills and industry contacts, so often publishers specialize in one or the other.