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So this week I was on vacation and hit a point in the mix world where I felt I needed to start posting some tips (or at least what I think are tips) to the bands out there.  This is by no way a post to degrade, etc but a post to hopefully enlighten potential upcoming artists.  Awhile back I decided to mainly mix and master bands due to having a home studio and kids. Getting artists in all the time was just not in the cards at the moment.  Now I do still record and love producing bands, but I filter out quite a bit now due to these restraints.  One thing I have found in this shift of mixing and mastering only is that I am receiving material that is great, good, decent and terrible.  Sometimes to the point where I reach out to the artist for possibly re-tracking or making minor corrections.  This is to benefit your material and again a benefit to you.  I have lived by a mentality that you get one BIG chance at the release of your material and you need to make it as best you can.  The other huge thing is that my name will more than likely be on it as well and I want to make sure you have the best service and sounding material that I can provide.

So.... here are a few things that I will suggest and push if you use me as a mix/mastering engineer or even if you come to me for recording.  This will be an ever changing list, but here it goes:

1.  Release the best material you can.  This is to say track what you can and focus on that song first.  There is no rule that states you must release 5 songs at a time, or even more.  The industry is changing and singles are coming out all the time.  It is great to make an EP - sure it is and it takes a ton of time and work to make it solid, but there is nothing that says you have to release 5 songs.

2.  Spend the time to setup properly, do a test run on the song and listen to how it is sounding in the control room.  Listen for the feel of the music, the tone, and how the emotion portrays what your song is trying to achieve.  I have heard a lot of music that seems to be recorded harsh and aggresive because the engineer had a new toy (I am guilty of this as well) but make sure the song and tone represents what your vision as the artist is trying to portray.

3. Spend the money on tracking.  There are bands out there and studios who want to track 10 songs in a weekend.  9 out of 10 times this can be heard.  The material will sound rushed, unpolished and demo in quality.  If this is the goal, go for it, but if you are seriously trying to release a record to the masses, spend the money and put that extra time in to making sure the songs are polished.  You will also make your mix engineer happier in the end!  ;)

4.  Pick the songs that keep the listener listening.  Again, this could be the first single or EP - make it the best you can.

5.  Spend time tuning your drums to the song.  This is a HUGE step that a lot of people overlook and can really add to the song.  Change your heads too, this is critical.  

6.  Samples - this is a huge topic that some love and some hate.  I personally use samples on almost 100% of the tracks that I receive.  To be clear, I do not sample REPLACE, but enhance.  The majority of the material out there that is rock based and definitely pop based does this.  If done properly you cannot even tell.  Drums can be recorded well and still have some additional Umph to make the song hit just a little harder.  Do not fear the samples but definitely listen to make sure it fits the emotion for the song.  Sometimes it will be through the whole song and other times it will be in spots.  

7.  Label your material.  A lot of mixers have specific ways that they label sessions, tracks, etc.  Please speak to your mix engineer when you are going to have your guy export tracks so they can coordinate naming conventions. This will save a lot of time on the mix engineer if things are lined up.  I get things that are "Adam's guitar 1" or "Adams Guitar 1_dup.1_wav"  This is super confusing and takes a lot of time to rename and set straight.  Be smart with labelling and things will be super easy for everyone.

I will continue this type of series I think as I think it is an important topic.  Recording is a challenging art form where there are no real "rules" but there are things that will make your material sound much better.  Thanks for reading and let's make some music!

HDXWell it has been awhile since I have posted a BLOG.  A lot has happened in the studio this year.  Mixing and mastering has been the main focus it seems and I am happy with that.  This past month, I had a computer meltdown that resulted in a quick upgrade to Pro Tools 12 HDX and a new computer.  I was planning on doing the upgrade this year, but not this quickly.  Sadly I had no choice in this and had to make the leap.  Needless to say, this was the best upgrade of Pro Tools in 17 years of using the software.  The computer alone is more powerful than anything I have ever built sporting a new Ryzen 1800X processor, 64 gigs of ram and all the bells and whistles.  Pair that with a new HDX card and the power and workflow is off the charts.  Super happy with this setup!  I was also able to move some gear around this week.  I thought I would never sell the Chandler TG1, but an opportunity came up that allowed me to sell the Chandler TG1 and move to a Chandler ZENER 12413.  Cannot wait to add this to the arsenal.  Monument Sound is really excited about things to come and I look forward to working with new, old and current clients with this upgrade!  Get in touch for your project!

Well, it's been a ong time since we updated this sections.  There are a ton of things to cover but we will make it short.  First, Thanks for 2016!  This year was a time of change, growth with the studio, and some new and amazing clients.  We are hoping that 2017 will bring in more new clients and amazing material.  Monument Sound went through a bunch of changes this year with the setup and we are always trying to improve.  2017 will more than likely be the HDX upgrade and Pro Tools upgrade, but we are still planning for that and taking things one step at a time.  That being said, we are pleased to annouce that we are moving away from the Dangerous Music 2 Buss setup that we have used for over 7 years now.  We will be moving to a new and more advanced SSL Sigma setup.  This 32 Input summing mixer has the guts of a Duality and AWS 948, but the footprint of a 2U rack.  The setup will allow us to utilize the hardware that we so love and crave, but in the analog world.  The Sigma will act as a backbone and out of the box mixer while not messing with the hardware stems that we will be sending to it.  Cannot wait for this change!  Have a great and Happy New Year!  Here's to 2017!

Learn more about it here:  SSL SIGMA

SSL Sigma

 

Jared Jones - "Turn Up the World"

Had a blast this month working on this new Dance/Pop tune by Jared Jones.  This was the first song mixed on the new SSL Sigma and we could not be happier with the final result

Check it out and leave a comment!

https://soundcloud.com/jaredkfjones/turn-up-the-world

 

 

TMHSo being the guy who mixed this record I am somewhat bias on a review, but I must say this. The record took a lot of work to get correct, and a lot of hours spent fixing seemingly loud recorded parts. That was the easy part. The challenge for me was maintaining and keeping the vision of the artist in mind. Jason Schubele and Alec Schubele gave me a huge leash to do what I heard and most of the time it worked really well. Right when I thought I nailed the idea of this record, another song would come in and completely go a different direction. it kept the creative vibe going strong - this is certain. This record will take the listener on a trip the way old records used to do. The listener should be encapsulated with the songs, unlimited ear candy and killer tones for the duration on this one. From heavy, to pop to acoustic even, it is great! As the mixer I am super happy to what Nathan James did with the songs in mastering. He was able to take all 10 and make them cohesive and smooth. Everyone who is a "fan" of this page needs to pick this up. Pre-order it, get it Monday, whatever. Really refreshing record that I hope does well for the band! Pick it up at the link below and hear it Monday!