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Independent Artists: Stand Out From The Masses By Sounding Your Best

By Author: Bob Smith
Total Articles: 311

For the independent recording artist, sounding good isn't a luxury only available to hit artists anymore - it is essential. Music sales may have tapered, but that doesn't mean that recorded music is on its way out. Far from it. More music is being consumed on more devices by more listeners than ever before in history! Musicians 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 many, audio engineers are still mysterious. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of sound, creating phony, auto-tuned, robots out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets touched by a recording engineer, mix engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer uses many of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist's performance as it occurs in the recording studio. The mixing engineer takes all of the separate audio tracks and crafts the music to sound correct and convey the song's emotion. He sets correct levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to complement the musician's vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses special gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the production for final release and ensure the music translates to 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.
Recordings are more often used as promotional vessel for musicians. The most income these days is in live shows, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with an artist's music, they'll listen to their records, tweet, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to help the artist and buy tickets to their shows, purchase t-shirts, and follow and interact with the band through social media. As the artist grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays very well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with well written song and polished recording.
The rise of DIY recording has led to more musicians releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some mics, a DAW, and a little know-how, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced mixer has the right equipment, but most importantly the knowledge to make a recording reach its full potential. Though it can be difficult 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 solid as possible. Then and only then, go to the best studio you can afford to record your basic tracks. Find a local or online mix engineer within your budget whose work and personality you gel with, and tweak the mixdown until you're satisfied. Lastly, send the songs off to the mastering engineer for that final polish. Once your production is completed, you can get the music into multiple outlets and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans. Scott Horton is the epitome of the cutting-edge mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has worked with multitudes of recording 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, provides artists and record labels with industry standard sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Get in touch with Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com

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