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Pink Noise Mixing: The Trick to Fast & Accurate Volume References

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
mixing with pink noise

When you receive a raw DAW project file with a song ready to be mixed, the first thing a mixing engineer will typically do is balance the levels across all of the tracks in relation to one another and pan them around. You may not realize this as an organized person, but more people than not send in the most absurd projects with 50+ tracks, […]

How to EQ Bass Guitar for Energy, Punch, & Clarity

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
bass guitar eq

The sub-bass and bass frequencies of a song are everything. Get it right and you'll hear endless praise. Mess it up and your entire mix will suffer. The bottom is the foundation and has to be solid. There's endless discussion about various attempts to provide a rock solid groove that drives a song to the top of the charts. From equipment and playing technique to […]

How to Use Autotune for Natural or Extreme Vocal Tuning

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
autotune pitch correction

Autotune is the perfect example of a signal processing method that can be used in overdrive as an effect or used properly in a transparent way to improve a performance. More artists than you'd realize use this tool undetectably, while others make it very obvious. Take artists like Cher or T-Pain, or even Lil Wayne when rapping, who nearly sound like robots during their songs. […]

Multiband Compression: The Tool of the Top Mix Engineers

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
multiband compressor

If you're reading this, then the assumption is you understand how a typical audio compressor works (I'll summarize it below anyways). That full-band gain reduction tool is crucial to all mixing engineers. So then what is this mysterious multiband compressor and why does it deserve its own separate name and category of existence? It's still just a regular compressor, the kind you're used to dealing […]

RIAA Curve: The 1954 Turntable Equalization Standard That Still Matters

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
riaa equalization

Today we're going back, way back, all the way to 1954. While the exact year is fuzzy, we accept that as the year that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) established the RIAA curve standardization for records and record players. This article starts as a history lesson that merges into an explanation of why this RIAA equalization still matters today. It's interesting to think […]

Parallel Compression: Get Better Mix Clarity & Dynamics

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
new york compression

As far as we know, this method of compression was invented (or discovered) by Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and used in their Dolby A noise reduction circuitry. Eventually in 1977, Mike Beville casually described its use in Studio Sound magazine. The Beville article, called Compressors and Limiters was reprinted in 1988 and that blew the lid off of a masterful technique hidden right out in […]

How to Compress Vocals in 7 Easy Steps for Pro Results

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
vocal compression

In addition, I'm going to provide you with some professional tricks of the mixing trade that you can explore once you understand the lay of the land and feel comfortable with your results. These tricks aren't a must but can take your mixing to the next level in terms of clarity, intelligibility, and presence in your vocal recordings. And that's the goal of compressing vocals […]

The Types of Microphones & Their Uses (When & Why)

Updated: Studio Recording              
mic types

In most cases most people will only ever deal with three types of microphones. These are the main choices used in most recording and broadcasting scenarios. The main difference is in their diaphragms, which is the mechanism that reacts to sound and converts it to an electrical signal that can then be sent out of a speaker or recorded onto magnetic tape or a computer's […]

How to EQ Vocals Professionally: The Easy 6 Step Method

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
how to eq vocals professionally

Even if you're familiar with recording and using DAW software, stepping into mixing can be daunting if not downright confusing. There's a lot to take in. It's honestly easiest to start with EQing vocals because it's easiest to hear and understand the changes being made. There's a learning curve with each plugin, and that's not even talking about how they affect each other and beginning […]

How to Master a Song: The Methods to Mastering Your Own Music

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
mastering

Mastering a track is the very last step to polishing a song before you release it to the public. But despite the misconceptions, you don't just master a single track. You polish off the entire album in the context of itself as a whole. Yes, you want each individual song to sound great alone, which is the main task involved in mastering, but it also […]

How to Mix Vocals: Tips & Techniques for Perfect Quality Tracks

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
vocal mixing

Nothing matters more than vocals. It doesn't matter if you're talking about music, podcasting, voice acting, podcasting, television and movies... What everyone focuses on is the human voice. Of course, you know that. The question is how to mix vocals to the point that they compete with the quality of professional releases and productions. It's not hard once you understand the order of operations. People […]

13 Stage Presence Rules That Capture & Enrapture Your Audience

Updated: Gigs & Live Performance              
stage performance tips

Stage presence is the core variable that determines if someone will spread the good word about your performance after the show, or tell their buddies not to bother next time you're in town. "The band was really sucking that night and I don't even like that genre of music, but man, the vocalist was the most enthusiastic and funny person ever. It's worth seeing them […]

DIY Vocal Booth: Studio Quality Recordings on a Budget

Updated: Studio Recording              
vocal booth

Nothing matters more than vocals. You can get away with shoddy drums, guitar, and any other backing instrument. But vocals get all the attention, so you can't really compromise. This is especially the case if you're recording vocals for music, a podcast, audiobook narration, or voice acting. Anywhere where your voice will be the center of focus, you have to produce a flawless recording. Let […]

Noise Gate: How to Auto Clean Your Live & Recorded Audio

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
audio gating

The amount of people that either don't know about noise gates is astounding. The number that know but won't take the time to learn how to use them is sadly astonishing. That's largely because there's no easier or better way to get huge gains in audio quality while performing live, recording, and during mixing. And gating is easily the biggest time saver during post-processing. Regardless […]

How to Start a Band - 9 Steps to Stardom (Hard Work Required!)

Updated: Careers & Marketing              
how to form a band

It's time and you're committed. After kicking the idea around for too long, you're finally ready to start your own band. Now what? You know you want to treat this like a real business and not a bunch of buddies hanging out casually. You don't want to join a band. You don't want to form a cover band and build someone else's brand for them. […]

Gain vs Volume: The Practical Differences That Matter

Updated: Studio Recording              
gain and volume

At some point, no matter if you're learning to record music, be a mixing engineer, toying with your first guitar pedals, you'll be asking the question "What's the difference between gain and volume?" To the untrained mind, they seem like they're the same. They both make audio louder when you increase them. The sound of changing either might seem identical to you now, and maybe […]

What is MIDI? The Music Tool You Can't Live Without

Updated: Beat Production              
MIDI introduction

It all started in 1983. If you're a music afficionado and know the sound of each decade, you'll know that there was a sudden jump from the 70's to the 80's where suddenly we stopped hearing live instruments as much. Out of the blue the pop music scene was filled with the cheesiest sounding "computer music," which progressively got better. That trend never ended, to […]

What is Sidechaining? This Pro Mixing Trick Will Evolve Your Music

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
sidechaining

If you're a music producer of any kind then you've tried your hand at mixing. You may even be great at it. You know the ins and outs of equalization, compression, using effects on auxiliary sends, using group buses, etc. But still, once you sit back to check your mix on a couple of sets of speaker monitors and even your nice headphones, things just […]

Sidechain Compression: A Critical Method for Mix Clarity

Updated: Mixing & Mastering              
sidechain compression critical method for mix clarity

If you're a long-time follower of LedgerNote, you know I've written a ton about mixing tricks of the trade to help you get better clarity, especially in the bottom-end of your mix. Sometimes there's only so much you can do with equalization. And that's where the concept of sidechaining comes in. It's not hard to understand or set up, though we all need that first […]

Songs for Sale: How the Music Industry Creates Pop Stars From Thin Air

Updated: Careers & Marketing              
songs for sale

This isn't news to the old-timers. We remember the days when artists all covered each other's songs and wrote for one another. The thing is, they were all capable and proved it time and again. That's not the case today. And it seems the big wigs would like to sweep that little secret under the rug. People are becoming wise to the game though. There's […]

Jared H. HeadshotLedgerNote is the leading-edge online music magazine. With our focus on education for industry professionals while at work and enjoyment at home, we never cease adding and updating our tutorials, tips & tricks, and entertainment blog. Use our passion for your benefit in the studio, at gigs, and during practice and rehearsal. Progress never stops at Ledger Note. Gear Gigs Grind Glory. Learn more about the LedgerNote Team here. See you at the top!