Every talented and aspiring musician can hope to advance to a level where there will need to be a professional touch added to your audio track. Becoming a mix engineer does not necessarily require a college degree!
You can set up your own studio at home with some basic and affordable equipment.
As a newbie, there isn’t too much you need to start enjoying working from your own home recording studio.
The most important of what you require is a room inside the house. This is the most important piece of gear you’ll need. The noise from doing laundry, playing kids in another room, a knock from the delivery man – all these can likely spoil a recording and playback. Look for some affordable ways you can improve the acoustics of your studio.
Preparing the room then requires a measure of effort, before you think of bringing in other instruments and accessories like the headset, drums, studio speakers, and microphones. Remember you will need a desk with a few seats, as music can be enjoyed as a collective process. You should also think about sound-absorbing panels, furniture, and some colourful lights to get the inspiration flowing.
One or two microphones are all that you need to start with for now. As your studio continues to grow, you can then increase your range. There are several different types of microphones, which depend on the instruments you have and what you want to record at home.
From the many options available, you can get low-end microphones as well as higher brands like AKG and Neumann, which have specialist microphones for each and every task. Other types of microphones that are suitable include Rode NT1A for recording vocals. For any high-frequency instrument like the cymbals and acoustic guitar, the AKG P170 in particular excels.
When investing in microphones, make sure you also stock up on its accessories such as mic stands, pop shields, and XLR cables. It always helps to have spares too.
Speakers and headphones come next. You’re gonna need more than even the best bookshelf speakers. You need industry standard speakers like the Yamaha NS10, that are renowned for producing as true a sound as ever. However some engineers do go for more costly choices. No matter what choice you go for, make sure to position your studio monitors correctly so you can mix vocals and your other instruments as best you can.
At this stage, it’s better to avoid high-cost headphones and settle for ones like Sony MDR-XD200. A good headphone set should be large and comfortable and demonstrate a true flat sound so that you can work on your music as accurately as possible.
It’s also very important to bear in mind how you are placing your setup. For example, if the guitar and the cymbal are operating at the same frequency, the cymbal crash will break-off the guitar solo.
Good engineering principles are therefore needed to ensure the sounds are separated and won’t spill into each other.
Working with your EQ settings will help aid the separation of your instrument’s frequency space in the mixing phase.
Music production software
Now, let’s focus on what digital software we need to get started. Your main program of choice will be important in dictating how you work. These are called DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) and here, there are a few options.
The most popular are Pro Tools (made by AVID), Logic Pro (made by Apple), Ableton Live and Cubase (made by Steinberg). Of course, there are options that are available for a range of prices such as; Reason (made by Propellerhead), Fruit Loops Studio and Reaper (made by Cockos).
Your plugin library should be thought of as your box of tricks and there are many expensive tricks out there from companies such as Waves, Soundtoys and Fabfilter. Luckily each DAW comes with its own basic box of free plugins, which have been found to perform their respective mixing tasks to more than an adequate standard.
Browse around our website for more detailed information on our online mixing and mastering service. We offer a variety of different mix options as well as customized selections so you can specify exactly what you need for your tracks.
Give life to your music with MixButton!