mixing and mastering 35-40 hours

When i moved onto mixing i started with the song i recorded but had issues with it and found it difficult because of this i put it to one side and decided to come back to it with fresh ears. I then moved onto the the song I got from the cambridge mix library, i developed a  method and order that i found it easy to work in this order was 1. find any obvious problem tracks, this could be tracks that sit properly or are way too loud. 2. put in place any EQs that are needed this will give you more space in the mix. 3. apply the compressors where necessary this will reduce the dynamic range of the tracks. 4. apply reverb I started to use 2 different reverbs both on sends, one for vocals and one for instruments. 5. pan tracks to fill space. after this i would just continue with whatever that particular song needed.

In total I mixed 5 songs and it took aproximately 25-30 hours purely on the mixing.

After this I started mastering the songs, I made use of the templates in CuBase and used parallel compression techniques, this is where you add a heavily compressed vesion of the song to the original version this tends to bring out the vocals and reinforces quieter parts of the song without reinforcing the peaks of the waveform too much.

In total I mixed 4 songs and it took aproximately 10 hours just on mastering.


WBL final summary

General summary

I have recorded one artist called Oscar Prince, this song is now finished and on my new SoundCloud page, i made this new SoundCloud page to represent myself as a mixing and mastering engineer rather than an artist as my other SoundCloud does. approximately 5 hours was spent contacting the artist himself, booking studios and organising recordings with himself and the violinist. I spent approximately 15 hours recording over a total of three sessions, two of these sessions were done in Leicester colleges studios and the third and final was done at an external home studio of a family member. because of where the recordings took place the studio time did not cost me anything however if i was paying for spaces i would and could have streamlined the recording process as 15 hours for one song is too much especially for the song that was recorded as it had limited instrumentation. The recording could have been done in two sessions but we had issues getting the violinist available at the same time as myself and Oscar.

After finishing the recording I got feedback from Oscar advising me on the sound he desired from the mix, I took this input at the time because I didn’t want to waste more organising a time we were both available again and then being in a studio again which would be costing me money in a real situation.

I then moved onto mixing, i started to run out of time to record more artists so I downloaded unedited stems from the Cambridge mixing library, my thoughts behind this was they would be for my new SoundCloud page as an online portfolio in total I spent approximately 5 hours sourcing mixes even offering my services to other students on my course that i knew were releasing EPs however they didn’t get back to me, I tried to pick a range of genres from the mix library. I picked a selection of genres to test myself more than if i just stuck to one genre, this also meant i had to approach them differently.

The only mix i had issues with was mixing Oscar’s song i sought the help of a tutor for this and he assisted me giving me pointers for EQs and levels, one of my question was about the track sounding a bit muddy and messy and one of his pointers was to use the EQ before the compressor and take the bottom end out before compressing and this is something that i now use in most of my mixes. I finished mixing 5 songs including Oscar Prince’s and this took me about 25-30 hours.

After mixing I moved onto mastering I master all 4 songs which took me approximately 10 hours I used techniques such as parallel compression a technique that i learnt from a guest lecturer, I used this technique to bring out the mid of the track a bit more including the vocals. this technique is done by compression one bounce of the song heavily to squash all of the peaks down you then add this heavily compressed version to the original and it brings up the lower energy sections of the song without reinforcing the peaks too much, this avoids distortion.

All masters are available on my new SoundCloud page “KJN Audio

looking forward

moving on from here I will continue adding to this SoundCloud using it as my portfolio I will eventually use this portfolio to help myself gain a job either in a studio or clients for recording, mixing, or mastering work. I have more of the raw stems downloaded from the cambridge mixing library ready. I will also work on making the SoundCloud page look more professional and consider the idea of making a website as this will be more customisable and professional than a SoundCloud page. My personal target is to have people paying me to mix and master their songs within 2 years, and within 5 years i want to be working in a studio whether it be my own or someone elses. To move me towards these goals I think I may try offering my services on Fiverr and then moving off of Fiverr once I had gained enough money to start my own proper website.

To improve on what I have done I would streamline some processes so that they did not take so long however most of this will improve with practise such as recording mixing and mastering. however generally turn around times of both the recording and mixes would of had to be faster whilst working in a competitive environment. all feedback i got from Oscar was good and he plans on recording with me in the future infact we are currently talking about recording some more violin for a song he has recorded a while ago.


WBL social media

I weighed up the idea of having a social media page and decided to go with a FaceBook page rather than a twitter page, this is because I don’t use twitter and therefore would sort of have to start from scratch whereas on FaceBook I can invite allow my currant friends and even if they don’t follow i can share the posts on my personal page to spread the word. another reason for not using twitter is the limitation of characters you can use in each post this could be frustrating when using it for a business rather than a personal page. I have set up a SoundCloud and uploaded my mixes to start my online portfolio, both FaceBook and SoundCloud are under the same brand name of KJN Audio, this will be my name as a mixing and mastering engineer whereas my name as an artist will be Rhythmical Thinking. I think it is important to have the two different alliases so you can cater more to each fan base the fans of me as an artist may not want to hear the latest rock mix that I did.

to improve my social medias i need to put some branding and personalisation onto them such as logos or pictures. i am considering approaching graffic design students as this could be a budget approach to getting a logo done.

WBL marketing myself

To market myself i have set up a FaceBook, SoundCloud, and WordPress. I will use these sites to build a fan base urging people to share the posts on each site. currently I am marketing myself as a free mixing and master service however after I have built my portfolio a bit more and got a bit better and faster I will begin charging or possibly move onto a site such as Fiverr where I could do quick mixes for any price this could be a good place to start as i would only be charging a small amount. I need a logo and I am considering using Fiverr for this too or approaching some college students, as I think this could also be a budget approach.

creative performance summary

Originally my plan for my performance was to make a song in ableton that I have created with the idea of playing it live however after practicing with a half finished dub track I made a while ago i decided to just use that with the intention of finishing it. after practicing with it in its half finished state i decided to just leave it at this stage as this would force me into using live performance techniques to create breakdowns and different sections in the songs.

The performance was done using an akai APC40 and an Ableton Push V2, my original plan was to only use the APC but then I decided that I wanted to be able to play an instrument live as well as triggering the scenes at the same time. The instrument I chose to play was an organ to fit in with the genre of the song. on the APC40 I would be triggering the scenes as well as applying effects to the scenes playing.

I mapped the faders on the APC that are normally used as volume faders to a delay with a high feedback commonly found in dub and similar genres this was so that I could quickly flick the fader up and then down again normally on the snare, you do it quickly because of the high feedback on the delay and if it was activated for long then the song would quickly become overcome with delay.

Potential issues I could have run into whilst performing were triggering scenes at the wrong times, playing the wrong chords or notes and triggering the wrong effects or for the wrong amount of time.

During my performance I think there was only one scene that I triggered too late and this was due to me trying to trigger multiple scenes at the same time. there were a couple of times where I played the organ out of time or not the chords that I wanted I think this was due a lack of practice with playing the instrument live, if I were to do the performance again I would have planned what I was playing on the organ and when this way the same mistakes may not have been made. however overall I think the performance went well and I received good feedback from peers.

WBL up to 06/04/2017

so far i have been recording Oscar Prince primarily in the studios at Leicester College he is a singer song writer and his track contained acoustic guitar, bass guitar, vocals and violin, my involvement in this project has mainly been as a recording engineer as Oscar has been the producer with a clear view of what he wants from his songs, my only input into this side of the project would be when hes taken a few takes and ill let him know which i think is best also when recording the violin they were struggling with deciding what to play on the violin for the outro when i made a suggestion to repeat the previous piece played, they tried it and decided they liked it and used that. the violin and some backing vocals were recorded at an alternative studio, it is only a home studio and situated in the front room, I had worries of noise from the road but it was a relatively quiet road and nothing came up in recordings. I still have to mix and master this track and have been given Ben Howard as a reference track, this is good as he is an artist i’m familiar with the main characteristic he is looking for is warmth mainly from the guitar.

i have spent around 10 hours recording, 7 hours in the leicester college studios and 3 hours in Mid-Dawn studios.

I have spoken to Ross Keymer and he has an EP release coming up that he needs some songs mastered for, I suggested that i could master them for him, however so far it has not got much further than this, partially because Ross is unsure in which songs he is definitely going to use. I will let Ross know that I am available to master his tracks if he so wishes.

now that i have finished recording the first song with Oscar I am thinking of reach out to other artists, using social media, however i already have a good sized recording portfolio and would prefer to grow my mixing and mastering portfolio.

creative live performance

I am now feeling a lot more comfortable working within ableton and using midi controllers. I had decided to use two controllers for the performance, one APC40 and one Ableton Push. I have mapped the faders on the APC to the sends to delay on each track for use with break downs and transitions. The Ableton Push will be used as an instrument which I will play live on the night I’m planning to have multiple effects to change this instrument during the song however this has not yet been implimented.

the song has been fully transferred to clips however the only changes I want to make to it is to add some variation to the drum track/ an alternative drum track that I can swap between to give the variation. the alternative drum track should be done for next week. other than the things mentioned all else i have to do is to practise especially with playing the push live.