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Indie Groups: Stand Out From The Masses By Sounding Your Best

By Expert Author: Bob Smith

For the independent recording artist, sounding amazing isn't a luxury only available to well-funded artists anymore - it is a must. Music sales may have tapered, but that doesn't mean that recorded music is going away any time soon. Far from it. More music is being consumed on more devices by more fans than ever before in history! Artists are making their music available on internet and satellite radio, online music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and YouTube, selling on direct-to-fan sites such as CD Baby, Bandcamp, and ReverbNation, and still pushing sales through ‘traditional' online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. Simply put, there is no excuse for an artist to put out poor recordings.
For some people, audio engineers are still mysterious. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of sound, creating phony, auto-tuned, drones out of terrible artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every record, no matter the type, gets handled by a recording engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer utilizes many of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist's performance as it happens in the recording studio. The mixing engineer takes all of the separate music tracks and crafts the music to sound convincing and convey the song's emotion. He sets proper levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where needed to complement the musician's vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses unique equipment and highly trained ears in an acoustically sound room to subtly polish and prepare the music for final release and ensure the recording plays back well on a variety of speakers. "While many audio techniques can enhance the final production, we engineers are not magicians and can't replace a poor performance or terrible recording," says Scott of Virtual Mix Engineer.
Recorded music is more often used as promotional vessel for artists and labels. The real money these days is in touring, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with a band's music, they'll listen to their records, tweet, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to support the artist and buy tickets to their shows, purchase apparel, and follow and interact with the band through social media. As the musician grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in film and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays very well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with a great song and polished recording.
The rise of DIY recording has led to more bands releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some mics, a digital audio workstation, and a little knowledge, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many musicians fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in audio engineering. An experienced engineer has the right gear, but most importantly the skills to make a recording reach its full potential. Though it can be hard for an artist, letting go and trusting your mix engineer will take your recordings to the next level and help you stand out from the crowd. Listeners are instantly attracted to a well-written and performed song that sounds like a hit.
Spend a good amount of time in pre-production, ensuring your composition and arrangement are as strong as possible. Then and only then, book time in the best studio you can afford to lay down your tracks. Find a local or online mix engineer within your budget whose work and personality you connect with, and tweak the mixdown until you're happy. Finally, send the songs off to mastering for that final polish. Once your production is finished, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans. Scott Horton is the ultimate example of today's modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has collaborated with countless artists world-wide in all musical genres ranging from Pop, Pop-Rock, Hip-Hop,RnB, Urban and more. His online mixing and mastering service, Virtual Mix Engineer, delivers recording artists with industry standard sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Visit Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com

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