The Complete Guide to Learning Music Production

Futch
27 min readDec 31, 2022

Music production is the process of creating, recording, and mixing tracks. The producer is the one who oversees the entire process and is responsible for the final product. A music producer may work with a single artist or a band. They may also work with different genres of music. The producer’s role is to create the best possible product within the budget and timeframe that they have. They work with the artist to come up with the song idea, and then they work with the engineers to get the sound that they want. They also work with the musicians to ensure that the performance is up to par. The producer is the one who makes sure that the song is radio-ready and that it will sound good on any headphones or speaker system.

Music production is about more than just songs and sounds — it’s about the people involved, too. From the artist to the engineer to the producer, everyone plays a role in creating the final product. And that’s what makes it so special. Sure, the end result is important, but it’s the journey — and the people you take it with — that make music production so special.

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Songs

Songs are made up of three distinct elements — rhythm, melody and lyrics. The rhythm of a song is created by the tempo and the beat, while the melody is the main tune of the song. The lyrics are the words that are sung.

Songs are compositions for voice or voices, typically in verse-chorus form, in which the verses and choruses are interspersed with each other in a repeating motif. The verse-chorus form is the most common form of song, especially in pop music. In this form, the verse is typically used to introduce the main melody, while the chorus hook is used to repeat the main melody and create a catchy hook.

Songs are musical compositions that are typically sung by people. They can be accompanied by musical instruments, and are often used in films, television shows, and commercials. Songs can be used to express emotions, tell stories, or just provide entertainment.

Rhythm

Rhythm can be broadly defined as a repeating pattern of musical beats. The tempo of a piece of music is the speed of the underlying beat, and rhythm can be fast, slow, regular, or irregular. A piece of music with a fast tempo and a regular beat is said to have a light rhythm, while a piece of music with a slow tempo and an irregular beat is said to have a heavy rhythm. Rhythm can be created through a variety of means, including percussion instruments, strumming patterns and tempo. Rhythm is the pattern of sounds in a piece of music. It is often described in terms of meter, which is the number of beats in a measure, and tempo, which is the rate at which those beats occur. Rhythm is an important element of all musical genres, but it is especially important in dance music, where it provides the structure that dancers can follow.

Melody

Melody is a linear succession of musical notes that the listener perceives as a single entity. Melody is one of the most basic elements of music. A melodic line may be created through the pitch and rhythm of the notes, or through the use of musical motifs. Melody is usually created with melodic instruments, such as guitars, keyboards or voice. A melody is a series of notes that create a particular sound or phrase. It is often the main element in a song or piece of music, and can be used to create a sense of unity or coherence.

A melodic hook is a sequence of notes that are catchy and memorable. They are often used in popular songs to make them more catchy and easy to remember. Melodic hooks can often be found in the chorus or hook of a song.

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Lyrics

Song lyrics are the words that make up a song. They are typically written by the songwriter(s) and give the song its meaning. The lyrics can also be used to tell a story, or to set a scene. Lyrics are the words that are sung, and they can be written to fit the rhythm and melody of the song, or they can be written independently and set to music afterwards.

Song lyrics often tell a story, or convey a message to the listener. Through the use of figurative language, lyrics can create powerful images and evoke emotions in the listener. By carefully choosing their words, songwriters can create songs that resonate with their audience and leave a lasting impression. Technical analysis of lyrics can reveal a lot about the songwriter’s intent and the hidden meaning behind the words.

Sounds

Sound is a type of energy that travels through the air, or any other medium, as a vibration of pressure waves. The source of the sound produces these pressure waves, which are then detected by our ears. Our brains interpret these pressure waves as sound.

The sound of musical instruments is created by the vibration of the instrument’s strings or other elements. These vibrations are then amplified by the instrument’s body and projected into the air. The pitch of the sound produced by an instrument depends on the frequency of the vibrations.

The sound of electronic instruments can be produced using a variety of methods. The most common method is to use electronic oscillators to generate the desired sound. Another common method for producing the sound of electronic instruments is to use recordings of real-world sounds. These recordings can be either digital or analog in nature.

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The Team

In order to produce a song, you will need a few key people on your team. This includes a songwriter, producer, and engineer. The songwriter is responsible for creating the melody and lyrics for the song. The producer is responsible for overseeing the creative direction of the song, and the engineer is responsible for recording and mixing the song. Musicians, singers and/or rappers are the people who execute the performance of the song parts.

Songwriters

The songwriter is responsible for creating the melody, lyrics, and sometimes accompanying instruments for a song. In popular music, the songwriter is often separate from the artist who performs the song. In some cases, the artist may be the songwriter, meaning they will write the song and perform it themselves. In other cases, the songwriter may create the song and then hand it off to another artist to perform. In either case, the songwriter is usually credited as one of the song’s creators.

Musicians

A musician is someone who plays one or more instruments as a form of their profession. This could include playing in a band, orchestra, or as a soloist. They may also teach music or compose it as part of their job. Musicians must have a great deal of training and practice to perfect their craft.

Singers & Rappers

Singers are typically associated with melodic vocal styles and their performances may be accompanied by instruments or a backing track. Rappers are typically known for their rhythmic delivery of lyrical content and their performances are often accompanied by beats or a pre-made instrumental track.

Audio Engineer

An audio engineer is responsible for the recording, mixing and processing of music and sound. This can involve working with live music, recorded music, and sound effects. They use a variety of equipment and software to create the desired sound. An audio engineer has some kind of training or experience in recording and mixing sound. They must have a strong understanding of acoustics and sound equipment. They must also be able to use digital audio workstations (DAWs) to mix and process audio.

Recording Engineer

The recording or sound engineer is responsible for setting up the technical equipment required for recording audio, as well as for ensuring that the sound quality is optimal. They typically possess a great ear for music and can make subtle adjustments to the sound to enhance the overall listening experience.

Assistant Engineer

An assistant engineer usually works for a recording studio and is responsible for providing technical and organizational support to the recording or mix engineer. This includes setting up and maintaining equipment in the studio, keeping track of recording materials, and troubleshooting any technical issues that arise during the production process.

Mix Engineer

A mix engineer specializes in combining and manipulating multiple tracks of audio into a cohesive blend. They are responsible for adjusting the levels, panning, and EQ of individual tracks to create a balanced mix, as well as applying effects such as compression and reverb to achieve the desired sound.

Mastering Engineer

A Mastering Engineer is a specialist in the field of audio production whose main focus is the final step in the audio production process. Their job is to take the audio material that has already been recorded, mixed, and edited and then enhance it so that it is balanced, polished, and ready for release.

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Music Producer

A music producer is responsible for overseeing the entire recording process from pre-production to the final product. This includes selecting the material to be recorded, arranging the songs, defining the overall sound, and overseeing the recording, mixing and mastering processes.

Project Management

The producer also plays the role of the project manager. Project management is the process of planning, directing, and coordinating activities to achieve a specific goal. A project is a temporary endeavour with a defined beginning and end, typically constrained by time, budget, and resources. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and within scope.

Schedule

A schedule is used to help plan and track productivity. By outlining when, where, and how people will work, a schedule can help to improve efficiency and optimize workflows. It can also help to ensure that all personnel are working the appropriate number of hours and that tasks are evenly distributed. A room booking schedule is a tool used to track and schedule the use of a room or other space.

Budget

A recording budget is a financial document that itemizes the estimated costs for recording a song, album or EP. This includes the costs for studio time, producer fees, session musician fees, engineering and mixing, and mastering. There will typically be a separate budget to account for everything after the production stage like marketing, promotion, and distribution.

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Places

The places people record songs have changed drastically over the years. With advances in technology, songs can be recorded anywhere that is convenient for the artist. This could be a professional studio, a home studio, or even on the go using portable recording equipment. In the past, songs were mostly recorded in professional studios. This was because the equipment required was very expensive and only available to those who could afford it. This made it difficult for up-and-coming artists to get their start in the music industry. Nowadays, there are many affordable options for recording equipment, which has made it possible for anyone to record music. This has led to a surge in the number of independent artists who are able to produce their own music at home.

Rehearsal Space

A rehearsal space is a place where performers can practice their craft. It is typically a room in which musicians can play their instruments and work on their material before a live show or a recording session. Rehearsal spaces are sometimes located in music venues or rehearsal studios located in industrial areas of a city or town.

Recording Studio

A recording studio is a special facility used for the recording, mixing and sometimes mastering of audio and/or musical tracks. Recording studios usually have high-end audio equipment and professional acoustics to ensure the quality of the recordings. The live room of a studio will sometimes have a piano, drums, and other instruments, which can be used for live recordings. The vocal booth and isolation rooms allow for cleaner recordings where there is less room outside sound or “bleed” from other instruments.

Control Room

The control room of a recording studio is where the sound engineer operates the mixing console and other equipment to record, edit, and mix music or other audio. It is typically isolated from the rest of the studio to allow the sound engineer to work without being distracted by outside noise. Control rooms are usually equipped with a mixing console, effects processors, and other playback and recording devices.

Recording and Mixing Tools

Recording and mixing music requires access to the right tools and equipment. There are a wide range of options available to musicians and audio engineers, from professional grade digital audio workstations (DAWs) to audio interfaces and microphones. DAWs, such as Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools or Apple Logic Pro, are powerful software programs that allow users to record, edit, mix, and master audio. Audio interfaces provide a connection between analog audio sources and computer systems, enabling users to record high-quality digital audio.

Transducers

Transducers are devices that convert energy from one form to another. In general, transducers use a combination of electrical and mechanical components to detect and convert energy from one form to another. For instance, a microphone is a type of transducer that detects sound waves and converts them into an electrical signal. Similarly, a speaker is a transducer that takes an electrical signal and converts it into sound waves.

Microphones

Microphones are essential for capturing sound in audio recordings. Different types of microphones are used for various applications; for example, dynamic microphones are robust and well-suited for live performance, while condenser mics are used in studio recordings due to their high sensitivity and wide frequency response. Other types of microphones include ribbon, USB, and shotgun microphones. Each type of microphone has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, so it is important to select the right microphone for the job.

Speakers & Headphones

Speakers are designed to produce sound waves that fill a room or environment with sound, while headphones are designed to produce sound in a much more localized way, usually surrounding only the user’s ears. The type of speaker or headphones chosen will depend on the listener’s preferences, the intended use, and the sound quality they are looking for. Speakers come in a variety of sizes, frequency ranges, and power levels, so there is something for every size studio and budget.

Audio Interface

An audio interface is a device that enables you to connect musical instruments and microphones to a computer. It acts as an intermediary between audio sources and the computer, converting analog signals from microphones and instruments into digital audio signals and vice versa. Audio interfaces also provide additional functionality such as monitoring and low latency audio processing. Windows computers require some extra attention to the asio audio settings for the audio interface.

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DAW

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation, which is a software emulation of recording studio components designed to edit, process and mix audio recordings, allowing users to manipulate the sound of the recordings and create unique compositions. By having access to a wide range of features, users can create high-quality audio projects without needing to purchase expensive hardware. Using MIDI a DAW can also emulate musical performances and instruments.

MIDI

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that describes a protocol, digital interface, and connectors that enable electronic musical instruments and computers to connect and communicate with each other. MIDI allows musicians to control aspects of their performance, such as pitch, volume, and tempo and can be used to create complex compositions and performances.

Sequencer

A MIDI sequencer is a device that records and plays back digital audio data in the form of MIDI messages. MIDI sequencers are typically used in the production of electronic music and are often integrated into a digital audio workstation (DAW). The most basic type of MIDI sequencer is a step sequencer, which records note events one at a time, and can be used to create drum patterns or bass lines.

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments have been used for centuries to create beautiful and unique sonic experiences. From ancient drums to modern synthesizers, each instrument has its own unique sound and capabilities. Modern instruments are incredibly varied and range from traditional instruments such as guitars and pianos to more electronic instruments such as synthesizers and samplers. Every instrument has its own range of tones, timbres, and capabilities, allowing musicians to create a vast range of musical sounds.

Acoustic Instruments

Acoustic instruments are musical instruments that produce sound through the vibration of strings or soundboard, rather than from electronic amplification. These instruments can be broadly divided into four types: string instruments (which include acoustic guitar and piano), woodwind instruments (which include flute and saxophone), brass instruments (which include trumpet and trombone), and percussion instruments (which include drums and cymbals). Each type of instrument utilizes an individual set of techniques and produces a unique tone.

Electric Instruments

These instruments are powered by electricity, allowing them to produce sound at a higher volume and with a wider range of tones than acoustic instruments. They come in many shapes and sizes, from an electric guitar to an electric piano. Electric instruments are versatile and can be used to create an infinite number of sounds and volume levels.

Electronic Instruments

Electronic instruments come in many forms, from synthesizers and drum machines to samplers and sequencers. Synthesizers are typically used to create unique sounds and textures, while drum machines are used to provide a rhythmic backdrop. Samplers are instruments that allow the user to sample sounds from a variety of sources and manipulate them in various ways.

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Virtual Instruments

Virtual instruments are DAW tools designed to emulate the sound and behaviour of acoustic, electric, and hybrid instruments. Virtual instruments allow producers to record and mix music more easily and quickly than with traditional instruments. They also provide more control over the sound and tone, allowing producers to experiment with sonic textures and create unique sounds. Virtual instruments are also a great way to practice and learn music production techniques without investing in expensive hardware.

Procedures

There are three main procedures for recording a song: writing, recording and mixing. Writing involves creating the song’s composition, including the melody, lyrics and chords. Recording is the process of capturing the performance of the song, typically using microphones and audio recording equipment. Mixing is the final stage of the recording process, where the various tracks are combined and processed to create the finished song.

Songwriting

Songwriting is the process of creating a song, typically with words and music. The songwriter may create the song alone, or may collaborate with other musicians to create a song. Songwriting can be a very rewarding experience, as it can allow someone to express their innermost thoughts and feelings through music.

Song Idea

Songs begin as a lyric or melody idea that someone gets out of their head and pairs with a basic rhythm and chord progression played by a piano, guitar or electronic bed track. The idea is iterated and practiced until it’s ready to lay down.

Song Demo

A song demo is typically an early version of a song which is produced in order to showcase the song’s potential. It is usually recorded with a basic setup of instruments and recording equipment, and is typically used to give others an idea of what the song could sound like when it is fully produced. Demos are often shared with producers, record labels, and other musicians in order to attract potential collaborators. They are also often used as a reference for the artist when they are producing the full version of the song.

Music Theory

Music theory is the study of how music works. It involves understanding the various elements of music like rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and texture. It also encompasses analysis of musical structure and the evolution of musical styles. Through music theory, musicians can identify and apply different musical styles, techniques, and trends to their songs.

Drum Programming

Drum programming is an important skill for electronic musicians, producers and beatmakers to develop. It involves constructing rhythm tracks using a variety of sound sources, such as sampled drum sounds and synthesized drum sounds. Each individual drum in a drum kit must be programmed, like kick drums, snare drums, hi-hats, cymbals, and toms. Each sound needs to be placed creatively to create a unique pattern.

Pre-Production

Pre-production is the process of preparing all the elements that will be used in a song before recording begins. This includes creating the song’s structure, choosing the right instruments and sounds, and rehearsing the parts. By taking the time to pre-produce a song, you can ensure that the final recording will be of the highest quality and will capture the sound that you’re looking for.

Song Arrangement

Song arrangement is the process of selecting and combining musical elements such as melody, rhythm, and harmony to create a cohesive piece of music. It involves taking into account the structure and flow of the song, as well as the orchestration and instrumentation. By carefully selecting and combining these elements, an arranger can create a unique sound for a particular piece of music. Depending on the genre, song arrangement may also involve creating a drum pattern, adding vocal harmonies, and mixing the track. An effective song arrangement can be the difference between a good song and a great song.

Song Structure

A song’s structure refers to the arrangement of the sections of a song, including the order in which they appear, the type of sections used, and how long each section is. Common song structures include verse-chorus-bridge, ABA, 12-bar blues, or Build and Drop. Each structure has its own unique characteristics that can be used to create a desired effect or emotion. Verses typically contain the main themes and ideas of the song, while choruses provide a repetition of the key ideas that drive the song home.

Instrumentation

Instrumentation refers to the instruments or sounds that are used to create a song. Common instruments used in song instrumentation include acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and strings. Other instruments can be used to create soundscapes and a variety of textures, depending on the genre of the song. Producers and engineers use a variety of techniques to create the desired sound, including layering instruments, sampling, and adding effects. In addition to traditional instruments, modern producers often use digital instruments such as virtual synthesizers and samples to create unique sounds.

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Musical Parts

Music is composed of a variety of different musical parts that together create a unified, cohesive piece of art. These parts, played by musicians using various types of instruments can be broken down into three primary categories; rhythm, melody and harmony. Most musical parts incorporate 2 of these elements. Many of the best musicians keep their parts simple in order to highlight the vocals and lyrics of the song. Pre-production rehearsal is where the musical parts are finalized to create the most impactful version of a song.

Sound Design

As a sound designer, you can create or manipulate digital audio to create a unique and personalized sound. In order to become a successful sound designer in the electronic music realm, it is important to understand the fundamentals of audio creation, manipulation, and mixing. This includes knowledge of audio synthesis, digital signal processing, and sound engineering techniques. Additionally, understanding the basics of sound design DAW software, such as Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro is essential. When designing sounds, it is important to consider the elements of timbre, such as frequency, amplitude, and duration. An experienced sound designer can manipulate these elements in creative ways to create unique sonic textures and soundscapes.

Setup

Recording setup can be a complex and time-consuming process, depending on the size and scope of the project. The complexity of the setup will vary depending on the type of recording, the sound quality desired and the means of recording. Key elements of the recording setup include selecting a microphone, selecting the pre-amplifier, selecting the recording device, connecting the microphone to the pre-amplifier, connecting the pre-amplifier to the recording device, and setting the levels for the microphone and pre-amplifier. It is important to ensure that all components of the setup are compatible and working correctly in order to achieve the desired sound quality.

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Getting Sounds

Once the connections are established, the goal is to get the highest quality recording into the DAW. The source is picked up by the microphone and its level is boosted by a mic pre-amp and sent to a new DAW track. Optimum levels are at the top of the green meter levels just before the yellow and red peak lights. Getting drum sounds for a recording can be a tricky task, as a variety of factors come into play. When recording drums, the type of microphone used, the room acoustics, and the drum kit itself all contribute to the sound that is captured.

Rehearsal

Before the actual recording, it is essential for musicians to practice the song and become comfortable with the material. Rehearsal should also include sound checks to ensure that all technical equipment is working properly and that everyone involved is comfortable with the sound quality. If a band is recording with multiple microphones, it is important to practice with each microphone in order to find the best sound. During rehearsal, the band should also practice dynamics and any other techniques necessary for the recording.

Recording & Editing

For audio recordings, a microphone and audio interface can be used to capture the sound of an acoustic instrument, voice, or any other sound source into a digital audio workstation (DAW). For MIDI recordings a MIDI keyboard can be used to capture the performance of a synthesizer, drum machine, or any microphone Once the audio or MIDI has been recorded, it can be edited using the DAW in the same way that you would edit a text document using cut, copy, paste and duplicate commands to create the desired track.

Sound Theory

Sound theory is a branch of physics that studies the transmission and production of sound waves. It is a sub-discipline of acoustics that studies the physical properties associated with sound, such as frequency, amplitude, phase, and speed. Sound theory also encompasses the mathematical models of vibration, as well as the physical properties of sound waves, such as resonance, diffraction, refraction, and absorption.

Audio Engineering

Audio engineering is the practice of manipulating sound waves and recording audio signals to create the desired sound. It involves recording, overdubbing, editing, and mixing. Audio engineers use various types of equipment, such as analog and digital mixers, audio consoles, effects processors, DAWs, and microphones, to capture, edit, mix, and master audio for a variety of applications. Audio engineering is a craft that requires a high level of technical skill and understanding of electronics and acoustics, as well as a creative mindset to bring the desired sounds to life.

Recording

Audio recording is the process of capturing sound waves, typically using a microphone, and converting them into digital signals, which can then be stored on a computer. Audio recording is one of the most important aspects of music production and can be used to capture speech, music, and other sounds. Audio recordings can be edited and manipulated using a variety of digital audio workstations, allowing producers and sound engineers to create professional-sounding recordings.

Bed Tracks

Bed tracks are the basic musical elements such as drums, bass, guitar, and keyboards. This allows for a solid musical foundation to build upon and create a song. It is important to ensure that all the bed tracks are recorded properly, as they will be the basis on which the rest of the production is built. To do this, the engineer must be able to accurately capture the sound of each instrument, as well as pay attention to the balance and dynamics between them. Additionally, the engineer should be aware of any potential phasing or cancellation issues that may arise due to the interaction of the instruments. By using proper microphone techniques, the engineer can minimize any potential issues

Overdubs

An overdub is a technique used in audio production that involves recording audio over an existing track. This allows producers to layer sounds, instruments, and vocal parts that were not previously recorded. It is a common practice when recording music and can be used to add new elements such as bass, background vocals, synths, and guitars. Overdubbing can also be used to replace existing audio, such as removing a part that was not ideal or replacing an instrument with a more suitable one.

Vocal Production

Vocal production is the process of recording, layering, processing and mixing vocals to create a specific sound. It involves a variety of techniques, including pitch correction, compression, equalization, reverb, and delay. The goal is to make vocals sound polished, clear, and distinct, while at the same time helping them to stand out in a mix. A key part of the process is finding the right balance between the vocal and other instruments in the track. This is achieved by using a variety of tools and techniques, such as vocal stacking, doubles, harmonies, panning, equalization, and dynamic processing.

Audio Editing

Audio editing is an essential part of the post-production process, as it can be used to tweak the overall sound of a project and make subtle improvements to its sonic quality. Audio editing requires a great ear for sound and can be done with a number of digital audio workstations (DAWs), such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase and Ableton Live. Professional audio editors will use a combination of automated tools and manual editing techniques to achieve the desired sound by cutting, copying, pasting, duplicating, and fading audio files and removing unwanted noise, pops and clicks.

Compositing Takes

Compositing (or “comping”) is the combining of multiple audio takes into one cohesive final audio track. It is typically used to create the final drum, bass, guitar and vocal tracks. In the compositing process, multiple takes can be blended together to create a single track. Compositing audio tracks can take a significant amount of time and effort, but it is also an essential part of creating quality audio recordings. Creating multiple takes of the same audio source can provide the audio editor with a wealth of options to choose from when creating the final comp.

Timing

Timing is the process of adjusting the length of a sound or adding pauses to give it the desired rhythm and flow. This is especially important with music, as a slight adjustment in timing can drastically change the feel of a track. Drums and other instruments can either be grid edited in reference to the click track and session tempo or, alternatively, only the trouble areas can be spot-edited for a more natural feel.

Vocal Tuning

The pitch of vocals and any monophonic instruments can be adjusted with tuning software like Auto-tune or Melodyne. The effect of vocal tuning can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the desired outcome. It is a common practice in virtually all modern music production environments, and can often be the difference between an amateur-sounding recording and a professional-sounding one. Vocal tuning is a critical aspect of any successful production, and it is important to have a good understanding of the techniques and effects available in order to achieve the desired result from pitch correction to the robotic “Auto-Tune” effect.

Mixing VS Mastering

Mixing refers to the process of taking multiple audio tracks, combining them together, and applying various techniques such as equalization, compression, and reverb to create a desired sound. Mastering, on the other hand, is the process of taking a finalized mix and further enhancing it to make it sound as professional and competitive as possible. It involves adjusting the overall EQ, dynamics, and stereo imaging of the track to give it a more cohesive and professional sound.

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Mixing

Song mixing is the process of combining multiple tracks of audio or musical elements to create a single song or musical composition. It involves taking the separate tracks of a song and manipulating them to create a unified, cohesive mix. This manipulation includes combining the volume, EQ, and panning of each track to create a balanced mix. Additionally, song mixing involves adding effects such as reverb, delay, and compression to enhance the overall sound of the song.

Effects Processing

Common types of effects processing include reverb, delay, and EQ. Reverb creates a sense of space, while delay creates an echo. EQ is used to boost or cut specific frequencies. Compression is often used to even out dynamics and add punch to a mix. Insert effects such as distortion or phaser can also be used to add character to a track. All of these effects can be blended together to create the perfect sound. When used correctly, effects processing can bring an otherwise dull track to life.

Automation

Volume automation is a powerful feature of digital audio workstations (DAWs) that enables users to quickly and easily change the volume of a sound over time. This is often used to create dynamic mixes with smooth transitions between different sections of a song. It can also be used to give an audio track a professional touch, allowing for subtle variations in volume or a ‘pumping’ effect. In order to achieve this, the user must input the desired volume level at specific points, or ‘nodes’, along the timeline. The software then automatically adjusts the volume of that track between those nodes based on the rate of change specified by the user. Any other parameter on the mixer and effects processors can also be automated for unlimited creativity.

Mastering

The mastering process begins with analyzing the mix for any potential issues, such as clipping, excessive sibilance, or other technical issues. Once these issues are addressed, the engineer will then use a variety of tools and effects to enhance the frequency spectrum and dynamic range of the song. This can include equalization, compression, limiting, excitation, stereo imaging, and other tools and techniques.

Audio Cleanup

Cleanup of audio involves removing any unwanted noise or background sound from the recording, as well as improving the overall sound quality. This can be done through a variety of techniques, such as manual noise reduction, spectral editing, dynamic range compression, and equalization. Additionally, audio restoration techniques can be used to restore lost audio information or repair sound artifacts. The result of these processes is a clean and clear recording, with improved tone and clarity.

Loudness

Loudness is measured in decibels (dB), and must be taken into consideration when mixing and mastering audio to make sure the song sounds good next to other professional recordings. Audio loudness is used to create a consistent level of perceived loudness across multiple audio sources, and can be adjusted to ensure that the audio signal is not too loud or too quiet. Additionally, audio loudness can be used to create a sense of dynamics in a mix. Care must be taken when adjusting loudness, as it can easily distort the sound of the mix if overdone.

Exporting Audio

Exporting audio from a digital audio workstation (DAW) is the process of finalizing and creating audio files ready to be delivered to a client, uploaded to a streaming service, or played back in other contexts. When exporting audio, it is important to ensure that the technical elements are properly configured. This includes setting the sample rate, bit depth, format and output level. Additionally, the export settings should be tailored to the intended usage of the audio file; for example, if the audio is being uploaded to a streaming service, it should be configured to meet the audio specifications of the service.

Sharing Audio Files

Sharing audio files is a relatively straightforward process, though the exact steps may vary depending on the platform used. Generally, the process involves uploading the audio file to the platform of choice, such as a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, WeTransfer or Google Drive. Once the file is uploaded, users can generate a shareable link which can then be sent to the intended recipient. The receiver can then click on the link and download the audio file. Simply emailing the file causes problems because the file is much larger than the files typically shared via email.

Conclusion: That’s it! Everything you ever needed to know about music production. Want more or just hate to read? Take my 24-class live online music production course and learn all of this stuff in depth and hands-on. Intro to music production, writing exciting songs, and designing your artistic identity. For beatmakers, singers, songwriters and musicians of all kinds.

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Originally published at https://www.levelsmusicproduction.com.

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Futch

I help music makers write, record, edit & mix better songs at home by teaching them the fundamentals of music production. https://levelsmusicproduction.com