This is a frequently asked question but hey don’t worry these music production lessons are here to help you improve your production skills. And don’t forget to check out the recommended sites on the left,OK enough talking lets cut straight to the chase.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you got the right knowledge that needs to be applied or you going to need a mixing engineer or a mastering engineer or maybe both. Your song might not compete with your favorite ones maybe because your mixing is not up to scratch.
A trick to have a good sounding mix is to master the track and play it in different stereo sound systems, like your Hi-Fi, your car system and a jam-blaster. And go back to the drawing board to fix the problems, but I wouldn’t advise you to master your own tracks, and this might be one of the crucial reasons as to why your tracks aren’t competing with the music you listen to.
When mastering a song, you listen to the processing of the mix to hear if it will sound good on different stereo sounds, which needs a lot of practice and experience. Your purpose of mixing is to get all the tracks at the correct volume in the mix and have a good stereo track when all your instruments are playing, and have a good depth ratio.
When you have a good mix the mastering engineer will finish your precious song with ease and it will stand-out like your favorite song. Make sure that You don’t dither your mix, save the dithering for the final stages of your project.
And you might have great knowledge but lack good hearing skills or you might be using the same technique for each and every production, you need to treat each and every project in a different way, and If something is not broken don’t fix it.
During mixing always switch to mono and if it sounds good on mono and stereo you have yourself a winner. If your track is peaking but not loud use a limiter but applying too much can damage the dynamic range.
Start you mix with your kick drum at -15db and your whole drum kit at somewhere around -10db to create space for other instruments on the overall level, and it will help you to avoid clipping. If your mix lacks definition use a stereo enhancer or an exciter, but this might make it worse if you have a poor mix or overly used.
If your mix is dry use a subtle ambiance reverb with a low frequency cut. When applying reverb, more especially an enhancer, on a track always by-pass it to refer to the original.
You cannot get the right volume during the mixing stage, so you will have to export the whole stereo mixdown into a 24-bit wave file. Open your favorite mastering software and import the audio. Insert a parametric Eq, a stereo imager, a multi-band compressor and a loudness maximiser but you can do this only if you are happy with the mixing.
Music production lessons especially online might tell you something different but it all depends on the type of material you are currently working on, this is a basic mastering chain. It’s always a good idea to make 2 or 3 different mixes for one song, and choose your favorite out of the three.
Your sound system might be the problem, so get a good pair of monitors with a good low frequency response but, if you can, it’s always a good idea to get a sub.
You might say “I don’t need a sub for home recording”, but that could be the reason you are not getting the right sound. And always keep your ears fresh by leaving the track for a couple of days and come back to it but if you on a deadline take regular long breaks to freshen up your ears, and ears are always fresh in the morning.
There are a lot of more factors that can make Your music not to sound like Your favorite songs. These are just a few things, there are other things such as the Sound-Card or even the particular Microphones you are using to record audio.
Remember-----> this is a guideline. All The Best :)