“I can’t achieve the sound in my head. What am I doing wrong?”
“My mixes sound like bedroom demos. How do I make them sound professional?”
“I have spent thousands on gear, but my mixes are still demo quality. Is there something I’m missing?”
In this video, you’re going to learn exactly why your mixes still sound like demos.
If you want to make music that sounds radio-ready, but you’re frustrated, because you don’t know where you’e going wrong, keep watching.
I get a lot of questions like this. I can’t achieve the sound in my head. What am I doing wrong? My mixes sound like bedroom demos. How do I make them sound professional? I’ve spent thousands on gears but mixes are still bedroom demo quality. Is there something I’m missing?
Can you relate?
I’m Rob Mayzes from musicianonamission.com and in this video you’re going to learn exactly why your mixes might still sound like bedroom demos. If you want to make music that sounds radio ready, but you’re frustrated because you don’t know where you’re going wrong.
What I’m about to share in this video is what enabled me to go from mixes like this to mixes like this.
Let’s do this.
Now most people who’re stuck in demo land blame their mixes. They think they need better plug-ins and more mixing tricks. No, that’s where you’re going wrong. Here’s the honest truth. The fate of your mix is decided before you even start mixing. Now, what do I mean by that? Is there some kind of mixing God who predetermines the quality of your mix?
No, of course not, I’m talking about recording. If your mixes still sound like demos you don’t have a mixing problem, you have a recording problem.
So, here are 5 ways to make your mixes sound more professional by focusing on the recording phase and the quality of your source material.
But before we start, if you want to make your mixes sound professional in far less time than it takes most people, grab the free home recording cheat sheet that I put together just for this video. Inside that you’re going to learn some guidelines that you can start applying right away. It only takes seconds to apply these, so that you can start improving the quality of your recordings and therefore your mixes. There’s a link in the description below or just head to the link you see on the video now to download that free PDF.
Way number-1 is using drum samples and software, because drums are probably the hardest things to record in a home studio environment. You’re probably in a room that’s not treated or doesn’t sound great. You’ve then got a loud drum kit with lots of parts, lots of microphones going on, you have to think about phase, you have to buy all those mics, and then mixing several mics drum kit is probably one of the hardest things you could do.
So, just make it easier for yourself. If you’ve recorded an acoustic drum kit replace the kick and snare with samples. That’s really easy to do with modern software like Slate Trigger or just skip recording altogether and use drum software like EZdrummer, Superior Drummer to programming the drums because doing this alone is going to make your mixes sound way better, 10 times more professional. As soon as the drum sounds great the rest of the mix will too.
In fact, let me give you a quick example. We’re going to come back to this track several times in this video, but listen to the drums on this. They sound pretty realistic, right? Well, they were made in EZdrummer, which is a highly affordable piece of software.
Way number-2 is using amp simulators and guitar amp sims, because again we’re removing the room from the environment. The thing that sets your home studio apart from the professional studios is that your room isn’t great. So, by using an amp simulator you’re getting rid of the reverb, you don’t need a microphone to record your guitar amp, and you don’t need 10 different amps to get a range of tones. Instead you just plug-in, forget all of that. Focus on making great music and great sounding guitars.
Again, let’s go back to that track. Listen to the guitars, because these were all recorded with BIAS FX, another very affordable piece of software.
Way number-3 is to remember everything else that comes before the microphone, because when you start to think about recording and getting it right at the source a natural tendency is get straight to the microphone choice, and microphone placement, and moving the mic around but remember everything else that came before the sound even hits the microphone; environment, location, source, and emotion – E-L-S-E.
Environment; what’s the room that you’re recording in? Have you picked the best sounding room in your home? Have you treated the room or at least thought about the sound and if doesn’t sound great, how you’re going to use that creatively to your advantage?
Location; what’s the location of the source within the room? Does the violin sound nice and warm in the corner? Does it build of a base [00:04:39] or does it sound muddy and instead we need to move it more towards the center of the room.
Source; what is the tone of the source? The voice, the instrument, the snare drum do we need to tune it and improve the sound of the source itself.
And finally emotion, probably the most important because a good recording is worthless if it’s not a good song, it’s not a good performance, and there’s no emotion. More important than anything else make sure you get a good performance, a good take and do anything you can to enhance the emotion of the performance.
Way number-4 is more time recording, because most people spend more time on mixing than they do on recording which is the wrong way around, you should spend 2 days recording a track. Spending loads of time experimenting with different microphones, mic positions, different rooms just trying stuff out and then you should only spend probably half-a-day or a day mixing it, tops. No one spends more than a day mixing track, even mixes that take ages we still just spend a day. For me it’s more like 3 or 4 hours. So, you need to shift that and make sure you’re spending way more time on the recording phase than you are on the mixing phase.
And finally way number-5 is more mics. Of course, you can record a great track and you can run a successful home studio and make great music at home with just one budget mic. It’s possible. Let’s go back to that track again. This track was recorded with one mic an sE2200a.
So of course you can make great music with one microphone, but the more mics you have the more flexibility. You have to try different mics on a vocalist; to use different mics for different situations where they’re more suited. You need to have at least a condenser and a dynamic, because they’re two very different types of microphones and if you don’t have one of each you’re really limiting your options there. So, the more mics you have the more flexibility you have. You don’t have to spend a fortune. I’m not saying buy loads of expensive mics, but having 4 or 5 affordable microphones would be way better than having one really expensive mic.
So, there you go 5 ways to make your mixes sound professional rather than like bedroom demos by focusing on the quality of the source material. Of course, that doesn’t mean recording is easy. It’s one of the most difficult phases of the production process.
So, I’ve put together a recording cheat sheet specifically for recording at home that’ll recap a lot what you’ve learned here, and there’s more advice, big picture recording stuff for making music at home that sounds professional and you can use this when you’re recording, refer back to it to guide you through the process. Download this cheat sheet study it, apply it, reference it and I promise you will see huge improvements in the quality of your work and mixing will just get easier and easier.
So, head to the link in the description or click the link that you see in the video now.
Now, I want to hear from you too so leave a comment below and tell me where do you spend more time now, recording or mixing, just one word, recording or mixing, because I’d love to know where people are focusing their time and energy.
That’s all from me. I’m Rob Mayzes from musicianonamission.com and remember, create regardless.