Making Your Mixes Come to Life With Saturation

Raw vocal sounds tend to have very harsh-sounding artefacts in the digital age of recording. Why earlier recordings sound smoother is because recording equipment relied not on transistors, but on tube and tape components that make up most recording systems. Knowing a bit about saturation and its help to your mixes can make your music become more alive.

1. Warmth and Brightness
Tube saturation, coming from a tube-based equalizer system, gently pushes frequencies up and down as compared to a digital-age equalizer. This highlights certain details of your audio mixes without sounding too harsh on certain frequencies. Tube compression also helps highlight dynamics without quashing the track heavily.

2. Gentle Clipping
If you would want certain tracks to retain a little dynamic, but louder, through compression, tube compressors could push up your track through certain clipping stages. But due to the tube’s uniform clipping stages, the sound can become musical. However, a good balance of gain and saturation is very important, so monitor carefully.

3. Tape Warmth
Tapes were used in recording many tracks during the 80s to the 90s. Tapes bring a different type of warmth to tracks. Most guitarists prefer a tape-sounding warmth because it brings out the high-mids, areas where the distorted guitar could punch out in the mix without overwhelming it with harsh frequencies.

The Art of Resting Your Ears

A half-day or whole day tracking of a song could bring fatigue to your ears. Most audio engineers know this, and tracking and mixing an instrument in the same day is a recipe for failure. Here are a few tips how you could effectively rest your ears after a recording session.

1. Do Something Else
After the session is over (assuming you have done much recording throughout the day), allow yourself to relax to avoid having “tunnel hearing.” Tunnel hearing is when you ears fixate on a single frequency, usually the frequency of the last instrument you have listened to. Play videogames, read a book or eat. Anything that will allow another sense in the body fixate for a great few minutes will be helpful to resting your ears.

2. Listen to Relaxing Sounds
Sounds does not necessarily mean it should be music. It could also be the recorded or actual sound of a water fountain or waterfall, a river, a soft voice reading a passage, or even the rustling of leaves in a forest. Listening to other people’s conversation, or ambient sounds outside, could be helpful.

3. Sleep
If all else fails, taking a short nap of one to two hours will help your ears reduce the likelihood of tinnitus, especially at loud recording sessions. It returns your ears’ built in organic compressors and limiters to their initial level, allowing you to decipher frequencies and sounds more effectively than before.

Why it Helps to Listen to Different Genres of Music

Musical genres differ in energy, style and appeal and audio engineers specialize in at least one or two musical genres during recording. It helps to listen to different genre styles because it helps you not only become diversified in terms of using your skills, but also understanding the proper usage of dynamics and managing the energy of your entire mix.

1. Instrument Sound
When you listen to an orchestra, you get to know what a timpani, a glockenspiel and a harp sounds like. If ever you need to record an instrument only specifically used for the genre, you have an idea what it should sound like in your mix. If you only listen to rock, you might find it difficult to record a tambourine or a water percussion.

2. Dynamics
In the name of competitive loudness, many audio producers compress instruments to sound louder and more massive, but killing the dynamics in the process. The dynamics and audio transients help deliver certain nuances that are the characteristic of the music, especially in jazz and classical music. You will learn much more in dynamics listening to these genres and not just mixing electronic dance music.

3. Composition
Flowing passages tend to be simple in most mainstream rock and dance music. Listening to complicated compositions in different genres helps you identify good suggestions especially for bands with certain ‘gaps’ in their

Make it a Point to Use Different References

Any pair of audio monitors will sound awesome especially during your final mix. The sound of your guitar, bass and drums will come out smoothly if you did well in pre-production. However, the mix might sound different from other sources, specifically consumer grade speakers. You want your mix to translate beautifully into other consumer devices, which is why it is important to make it a point to use different audio references.

1. The Car
The songs can be played in different settings, and for most people, the radio in the car will be their primary source of audio streaming. You could listen to your mix in the close cabins of the car and hear how the sound bounces around. You will definitely hear what is lacking in your mix.

2. From Outside the Room
Testing the bass levels can be tricky, so it is important to consider listening to the music from outside the room. You could also hear how the ambient frequency of your mix sounds like when you are listening to it from across the hall or with the door open, slightly opened, or completely closed.

3. From a Low-Grade Source
Most listeners will listen to music using conventional earphones packaged with their smartphones or listening device. Listening to these low-grade devices should help you understand more about your mix and what you need to add or subtract from your mixes.


Compensation Claims: Your Loud Music Could Cause Road Accidents

Many traffic authorities in many countries are wanting to impose a ban against vehicles playing too-loud music in highways and roads. I think the sense of sight is as important as the sense of hearing out in the road because a loud horn of a passing or overtaking vehicle could save both you and the overtaker’s lives.

One friend of mine learned this the hard way. He just had new booming bass speakers installed in the rear compartment of his vehicle. The sound was so ‘boomy’ other vehicles were staring at his vehicle as it overtook others.

However, he didn’t hear the honking of a truck against another vehicle, which ended up colliding with each other. The entire accident was caught on camera by traffic surveillance, who then called for my friend after a few weeks when the victim said he couldn’t hear the horns and witnesses pointed to my friend as the culprit of blocking out the horns of the trucks

He was made to pay £2000 for damages by the victim’s no win no fee lawyers along with the company that owned the truck, who paid higher because of their personnel’s negligence. My friend said that even though he did not collide with the other vehicle, he feels very responsible for the catastrophe the victim and the truck driver suffered.


The Loudness Issue on New Recordings

Learning about increasing the perceived loudness of your music mix, typically you will want to compare its compression and limiting to that of modern music albums. Loudness is essential especially if you want people to hear all the parts of your music, but most traditional audio producers advise against making your tracks loud.

It is simply understandable: Not all kinds of music will benefit from heavy compression.

A classical music track takes to focus the natural sound of classical instruments. These instruments and concerto suites are heavy in dynamics, which is the upswing or downswing of volumes in certain musical passages, which make the music feel more “organic” and powerful.

When you compress, both the supposedly weak and strong dynamics end up being squashed together, which flattens out the dynamic in favour of the track or instrument’s sound becoming louder and defined.

For modern rock and dance music, it would never actually sound proper to compress a bit weak as you would in jazz or classical. These types of music rely heavily on bass beats and strong energy, which means constant dynamics, regardless of musical passages, are heavily important.

The “loudness wars” on new recordings may border on clipping, but in reality, it is all about style and knowing when to use something that is essential as you would a screwdriver to a screw.

Mastering the Equalizer

The equalizer is probably the first plugin you will encounter in most DAWs and is probably the most well-known even for inexperienced music producers. Its presence in many classic and modern stereo systems allowed many people to tweak its settings and find the right sound for their ears. But for audio mastering, the equalizer is crucial to successfully allowing instruments to sit properly next to each other, and to sound properly when played through a consumer-grade speaker system.

1. Proper Tools
To learn how to use an equalizer effectively, it is highly important to have a good grade of monitoring speakers with a full range. As consumer-grade speakers tend to “flatten” the sound of most music, a natural response speaker will help you discern the proper amount of frequencies your instruments have.

2. Identifying the Hertz
Sound is visually recorded by monitoring systems through an oscillator that starts from the 0hz to the 2khz or even more. 2khz is the highest frequency the human ear can discern while 25khz is the lowest frequency the human ear can hear. Knowing where your instrument’s “sweet spot” or frequency characteristic sits is important. To start, increase the gain of a frequency and move its frequency from 30 hz to 2khz to familiarize yourself with the sound’s character.

3. Listening With Closed Eyes
Equalizers allow you to see how the waveforms respond to the sound, but the visual aids are menial aids. You will need to listen with your ears to hear if your equalization had improved or decreased the quality of the instrument or your mix. Your settings might look strange to your eyes, but if it sounds better in your ears, then it is the right mix.

How to Increase the Loudness of Your Entire Mix

Increasing the sound of your kick drum helps define the energy of your entire recording. However, if you want to increase the overall volume of your mix, pushing up the volume fader is never the right answer. Instead, you will need to do the following.

1. Master Compression
Compression with a low ratio helps “glue” together your audio. By reducing all dynamics, you increase their volume. A master compression with a low ratio makes the equalization and other special effects much more defined in the final mix.

2. Limiters
Limiters are designed to attenuate frequencies but at high compression levels. The fixed compression level completely allows the entire mix to hit the ceiling. As a “brickwall” the more audio is pushed against the limiter, the louder it sounds. However, dynamics are effectively reduced in exchange for loudness.

3. Equalization
A boxy audio mix might make your music sound more “warm” rather than modern and mastered. Using equalization before or after the application of gain reducers such as compressors and limiters will help make your mix sound louder to the ears.

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages in increasing your overall mix to higher volumes. The advantage is that your recordings are as competitively loud as mainstream recordings. However, like most recordings, the loudness quashes certain dynamics from the mix, which can destroy the organic sound of the instruments.

Making Your Kick Drum Sound Wider

Nowadays, modern music is anchored by a very good kick sound. The kick sound, which usually comes from the bass drum, maintains the rhythm and can actually be the soul of your entire audio mix. Here are a few techniques to help your kick drums sound wider.

1. Depends on the Genre
Knowing how to find good audio samples and construct new sounds is crucial to making a good kick sound. A kick’s sound is also dependent on the genre. For example, a kick drum in rock might not sound as wide as an electronic music kick. The kick will sound better depending on your genre.

2. Gates
The loudness of a sound depends on how the ears perceive it, not how the amplitude increases. Gating your reverb or kick drum sound and making it short enough can make it sound louder. A clap can be heard from far away rather than scream at the same amplitude because it is shorter.

3. Compression
Wise use of compression could bring out a sound’s loudness. Parallel compression actually helps your kick drums sound louder because you have one track have extreme settings in terms of compression while retaining the original sound using another file. You could also do sidechain to increase the loudness of your tracks.

PPI Refunds Improve the UK’s Economy According to the ONS

The Office of National Statistics said that PPI redress going directly to households contributes greatly to the UK’s economic growth. It recently confirmed that £10 billion paid out to consumers helped increase market activities due to increasing consumer spending. The ONS also said it was evidence that PPI redress actually hampered UK consumer spending.

The ONS also said that the PPI redresses have positive effects on car spending in the previous month. They said that the amount of compensation consumers receive might not be big for a mortgage, but they are effective downpayments for new vehicles. The ONS recorded a 13.4% increase in the number of car registrations in the first and second half of 2013.

PPI is an insurance product that repays your loan in case you get sick or have an accident. However, many consumers were ineligible for the insurance or did not need it. You can click here to know more about how banks mis sell PPI.

Aside from improving economies, the Financial Conduct Authority also confirmed that the number of PPI complaints was falling very smoothly with a 15% reduction falling to 2.9 million claims from 3.5 million in the last quarter of 2012.

Anybody with a mis sold PPI could call on a PPI calculator UK claims management companies provide to help them with free legal counsel or complete the PPI claim under a no win no fee term of service.