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Original Post From http://www.hometracked.com
Some of the easiest ways to improve your recordings are also the cheapest. In fact, the most effective techniques require no money at all. Here’s a collection of tips you might find helpful the next time a pricey piece of gear stands between you and great recordings.
Have a friend perform: Home recording, especially for singer/songwriters and electronic musicians, often involves a single musician writing and recording all the music. But artists in this situation can find themselves too close to the song, at mix time, to make decisions critically. Working with other musicians might initially complicate recording and mixing. However, creating a great mix depends, in part, on your ability to remove unnecessary details, and most of us are more comfortable objectively critiquing someone else’s work. So asking a friend (or some professionals) to perform a track or two will ultimately make mixing easier, and more effective.
Get more ears on the mix: With any task requiring attention to detail, it’s easy to lose the forest for the trees. And so it goes with mixing. A second or third opinion can draw your attention back to details you’ve glossed over. And outside opinions needn’t come from other musicians and engineers. (Although the homerecording.com MP3 mixing clinic is a great source for free advice.) Often, regular listeners give the best feedback because they don’t think in technical terms about the production, and instead form their thoughts on how the song makes them feel. And some of the best mix feedback I’ve gotten has come from children, who are unconditioned by musical convention.
Listen on multiple systems: Hearing a mix through different speakers is a little like getting a second opinion. And professional mixing engineers rely on this technique.
Avoid dogma: Our hobby (or profession, if you’re lucky) is plagued with religious arguments, like “tube gear sounds better,” and “analog sounds warmer than digital.” Regardless of each argument’s merit, these dogmatic issues over-complicate the recording process, and distract us from the importance of technique – which, of course, costs nothing!
Cut. Ruthlessly: As musicians, our egos push us to put everything we’ve got into every part we record. But virtuoso performances and great recordings don’t necessarily go together. The whole, as they say, is often greater than the sum of the parts. In most song arrangements, over-instrumentation usually just leads to clutter. And along with being more difficult to mix, clutter rarely sounds good.
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