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When Less Is More: 3 Reasons Why Smaller Arrangements Can Make Your Tracks Sound Bigger

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Everyone wants their studio tracks to sound “huge.” In an effort to achieve “hugeness,” many of us follow the obvious path of adding more and more things to our arrangements. If two guitars sound big, then four guitars should sound even bigger, right?

While this makes sense in principle, the results can be paradoxical; often what we achieve by adding more elements to a track isn't a bigger sound but a smaller one.

How does this work? Here are a few examples of some situations when removing elements from your tracks can lead to a fuller sound.

Recording, Honing Your Craft

Nov 4, 2016 06:00 AM

Hugh McIntyre

The 7 Essential Musical Credits You Need to Keep Track Of

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If you're gearing up to make some new music and release an album, make sure you’re keeping proper notes and writing down everyone who was involved with every bit of the album-making process as you go along. Trying to look back later and remember every place and name is incredibly difficult.

You might not think it’s that big of a deal, but if you fail to properly credit someone for their work, you run the risk of alienating that person, losing a contact, and even getting yourself into some legal troubles. While you're working, follow this checklist to make sure you're keeping track of every credit.

How to Evaluate Song Feedback

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Criticism is vital, especially for a songwriter just starting out. But finding the right criticism – and being able to evaluate what's useful and what's not – is even more key. Since this is a business of opinions, you're going to be getting a lot of feedback. Here are three questions to ask to determine if that feedback is useful.

Is Going to School for Audio Engineering Worth It?


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A hotly contested topic in the music industry, and a question I frequently get asked by students is, “Will getting a degree in audio engineering be a waste of time and money?” I find the answer to that question is actually a much more nuanced one, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer.

How to Critique Your Own Music More Objectively


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Artists often talk about being “too close” to their own work, being so immersed in the process of making music that they know longer have a strong sense of whether the work is good. Philosophically speaking, that’s a worry for another time. During a show or a recording session isn't the time to be concerned about your musical legacy or the objective quality of what you’re doing. When you’re out there onstage, or in a vocal booth tracking leads, you need to be focused on delivering your best performance, not worrying about how everybody might receive it.

But there are times in the creative process when you need to self-edit, decide what projects are worth pursuing, and change what doesn’t work. There are times when you might want to listen to the opinions of others, even others who critique music as part of their work. Here are some hints to help pull back from that closeness and be your own best critic.