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Old 11-20-2014, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Advise on Improving Production

I don't have much to say but a question that's been on my mind for some time now. How do I turn a amateur mix into something that sounds completely pro?
I'm talking production wise not song style or creativity. Too get a professional sound I know technique in mixing is essential but is gear also necessary (how important is gear?). Can one make a high quality production with only Logic Pro X plug ins (quality like that heard on the radio. Clean and up front.)? It's such a vast difference to me between amateur mixes and pro mixes that i'm unsure I need to start focusing equally on purchasing professional gear as well as refining my mixing skills. Would appreciate the help. Thanks
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Old 11-20-2014, 04:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Gear is nowhere near important as technique. You can get pro mixes using solely free VSTs in a DAW and on mid-grade speakers just like you can with the highest quality outboard analog gear and mixed on a massive SSL console with the world's best monitors. There will be somewhat of a difference in character, but the same pro engineer doing the same things on both will still get a pro mix because of his experience and knowledge. Whereas, an inexperienced engineer will get poor mixes on either.

Another part of it, though, is the source material. If it was recorded very well, the mix is going to be A) a lot easier to mix and B) will sound better than if recorded with, for example, a bad mic, everything muffled (or too bright, no lows) and the levels were too hot and everything was clipping.

The best advice is to refine your skills. If you can get to the point where you're getting close to pro mixes on non-pro gear, then that's where you want to be. Only then will purchasing high end gear actually do something for you. Until then, high end gear is just going to make your bad mix sound a little different (not necessarily better), if you don't know how to use it. Pro gear is not a magic bullet. Great mixes are made by great engineers, not great gear.

So, with that in mind, do all the research you can and watch tutorials on Youtube and apply what you learn and when you're able to get great sounding mixes with what you have (and they translate well on other systems), then start thinking about upgrading your gear to give you a sonic edge.

Check out RecordingRevolution on Youtube. Watch every single video from the oldest to the newest. Graham has some very good tips for any skill level and he goes over a lot of focused approaches.

Also on Youtube you should check out Pensado's Place. After you've watched every single video in the RecordingRevolution channel.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 11-27-2014, 04:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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To put it simply, it has nothing to do with gear at all. The difference in quality that you are noticing comes down to three important things. 1) Space: by equalizing and compressing your layers well, removing overlapping frequencies and creating space for frequencies to shine through, you create a clearer layering of sounds. 2) Mixdown: this is the most important part for you - you need to make sure that your peak master volume is at or below -3db and that all of your levels sit nicely with each other, none is too domineering or too quiet in the mix. A good mixdown is what makes for a good master, so if you get your levels right then the third thing, Mastering (3) will be a piece of cake for your master.

Mastering takes your track, makes minor sonic adjustments and increases the volume to the maximum level possible without clipping. This is where an amateur song can be made to sound "professional" as you call it, but realistically a master shouldn't change the sound of the original song dramatically, but instead simply even out its sonic range and increase its overall volume and stereo width. If you as a producer make sure that your mixdowns are good and that you have space for your frequencies to breathe then your masters will be good and your tracks might start to sound better
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Old 11-27-2014, 06:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xujih View Post
To put it simply, it has nothing to do with gear at all. The difference in quality that you are noticing comes down to three important things. 1) Space: by equalizing and compressing your layers well, removing overlapping frequencies and creating space for frequencies to shine through, you create a clearer layering of sounds. 2) Mixdown: this is the most important part for you - you need to make sure that your peak master volume is at or below -3db and that all of your levels sit nicely with each other, none is too domineering or too quiet in the mix. A good mixdown is what makes for a good master, so if you get your levels right then the third thing, Mastering (3) will be a piece of cake for your master.

Mastering takes your track, makes minor sonic adjustments and increases the volume to the maximum level possible without clipping. This is where an amateur song can be made to sound "professional" as you call it, but realistically a master shouldn't change the sound of the original song dramatically, but instead simply even out its sonic range and increase its overall volume and stereo width. If you as a producer make sure that your mixdowns are good and that you have space for your frequencies to breathe then your masters will be good and your tracks might start to sound better
Well said.
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