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Gated Reverb - How to Get the Big Drums of 80's Pop Music

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
gated reverb drums

Gated reverb is the sound of the 1980's. One might argue, "No, it's MIDI production or it's the synthesizer." Say what you will about the blatant and overt sounds of that time, but the trained ear hears something completely different. It's all in the drums, especially the gated snare drum. They're powerful. They punch through the mix. And they don't sound like anything ever heard […]

Reverse Reverb - How to Create This Backwards Echo Effect

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
backwards reverb

People call it different things: reverse echo, backwards reverb, reverse regeneration... but in the professional sector of the music industry we plainly call it the reverse reverb effect. And thanks to computers and lookahead algorithms it's easier than ever to create. Let's quickly define what it is for the newcomers, give a few examples of how it sounds, talk about how it was originally invented […]

Spring Reverb - Learn About & How to Use This Ever-Present Effect

Updated: Studio Recording
what is spring reverb

Spring reverb has been around for what is practically forever. Anyone who's been slightly involved in the music industry to any degree, especially guitarists, have heard of it. It's the oldest mechanical reverb around and still in use. Of all of the different types of reverb, the spring is the most common by far in terms of manufacturing and ownership, but possibly the least used […]

Plate Reverb - Learning About & Using This Influential Audio Effect

Updated: Studio Recording
what is plate reverb

Anyone that has spent even the slightest amount of time with signal processing effects, either as a guitar player, synthesizer player, music mixer, or really any role will have encountered plate reverb. It's everywhere and for good reason. Of all of the different types of reverb, none has stood the test of time and garnered more attention and love than that generated by a plate. […]

13 Types of Reverb & When to Use Them

Updated: Studio Recording
reverb types

I do agree there's only three main categories, but anyone looking to fully explain the topic can't limit the discussion to five or seven types of reverb, which is what always happens. It's unfair to the reader. If you're reading this then you probably already understand what this effect is and how it arises in nature or is created acoustically, mechanically, through electronics, or through […]

What is Reverb? All About This Beautiful Sound Effect & Its Uses

Updated: Studio Recording
reverb explanation

What is reverb? Is it different than an echo or delay? If so, what makes it different. Why is it used in music production? How is it created? This is the logical sequence of questions that arise when you start considering this natural sound effect for the first time. What people don't realize is that they know what reverb is, they just hadn't attached a […]

What is Audio Clipping: Examples, Causes, & the Easy Fix

Updated: Studio Recording
what is audio clipping

Whether during recording or playback, you've been around someone that sees the little red light go off or light up permanently who then says "Oh, dude, you're clipping." But do they even know what audio clipping is? What causes clipping? Is there anything we can do about it? Is it the same as peaking (yes)? I'm going to explain it all, tell you what it […]

Blown Speaker: Sounds, Symptoms, & Fixes (Plus Guidance)

Updated: Studio Recording
blown out speaker

No matter if you're talking about car speakers, studio speaker monitors, a guitar amplifier, or even some cheap computer or TV sound system, blown speakers are frustrating. And doubly so when you realize that if you'd caught it soon enough you could have saved it. Most of the time we want a matching stereo pair so that can mean replacing two if it's in a […]

What is Phantom Power? All the Big Questions Answered in Plain Talk

Updated: Studio Recording
phantom power

What is phantom power? How does it work? Why does it have that name? Which mics need it? Anybody who's been in this industry hears these questions a million times a year, including me, which is why I'm writing it up. Now I can just send people here and save myself the trouble. Usually what happens is a newcomer gets their first microphone and preamplifier […]

Haas Effect: Gain Depth & Width With a Slight Delay

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
haas delay

Way back in 1949, a gentleman by the name of Dr. Helmut Haas is given credit for discovering a psychoacoustic phenomenon which was subsequently named the Haas Effect after his namesake, but is also called the Precedence Effect. Psychoacoustics relate to how our minds perceive the audio our ears sense out in the world. There are a handful of these interesting cases that we've covered […]

How to Start Producing Music as a Beginner (& The Path Forward)

Updated: Beat Production
learning music production

Learning music production isn't that hard if you can cut through all of the extra, non-relevant information out there. The truth is there's very little you need to begin today and you likely already have most of it. All of that extra info comes into play later once you start progressing further down the path of making music. Below I tell you the minimum equipment […]

How to Use Reference Tracks to Emulate Top-Tier Mixes

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
what is a reference track

We all have a list of favorite albums and songs that we think sound amazing. We always imagine that that's how we'd like our own music to sound, and a lot of times even think "How the heck did they do that?" Don't dream about it anymore. You can get your songs to sound that good by using those exact songs as reference tracks for […]

What is Phase Cancellation? Understand & Eliminate It In Your Audio

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
what is phase cancellation

Phase cancellation is almost a mystical matter in studio engineering and recording. Many choose to flat out ignore it just to avoid learning what it is, why it occurs, and how to fix it. Don't be one of these people. I'm going to break it down in simple language and show you exactly how to hear it, how to spot it with plugins if you […]

Bass Compression: Getting Energy & Groove Into Your Mix

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
compressing bass

Compressing bass is a fundamental part of any mix, and getting it right means having a great foundation to a song with well-balanced energy and an intelligible groove. Getting it wrong is a disaster. Great bass compression settings, along with other considerations we'll mention, are the difference between a solid, full, and thick bass with great harmonics and attack, versus one that's either weak and […]

Acoustic Guitar EQ: Studio-Quality Tone With Minimal Effort

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
acoustic guitar equalization

Forget your preconceived notions. Acoustic guitar equalization is a piece of cake once you understand what to listen for (and how to listen for it). The principals below work for mixing in the studio and for live performances on stage. There's two aspects to mixing any instrument, and that's getting it to sound amazing by itself while also allocating a dominant frequency range so it […]

Mixing in Mono: Produce Better Music With This Pro Method

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mono mix

You might be thinking "mixing in mono? I thought the 1950's came and went?" I'm not telling you that your final result will be completely centered between the speakers, just that you'll work that way for at least half of your mix. Why does pretty much every professional do this, and if not at least spends 10% of their time not working in stereo? Because […]

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 […]