Episode 79 my interview with metal/mixing/mastering/business expert Brian Hood

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Yep, that title has a lot packed into it. Brian Hood is one cool cat and he has a lot to share with us. First, he loves that metal music. I know, I know, who doesn’t love a little bit of metal in their day, right? I know I sure like a bit of metal with my coffee.

But Brian Hood, more importantly, is my guest today on account of his home studio business practices and mindsets. This guy knows how to turn your humble set up into a very lucrative and very successful studio, and he wants to let you have this information for free.

Please go right now (well, as you listen to our interview) and bookmark these pages…

456 Recordings

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The Six Figure Home Studio

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Please make sure to download the amazing “Keys to a six figure home recording studio” eBook today. You will be amazed at just how much you learn in such little time. Brian’s writing style is to the point. You can only fall in love his style.

Send in that email if you wish to be included in the “Original Song Production” email/video membership. I am closing it down very soon, so please do not hesitate another minute. Send me that email right now! Send an email with “Original Song Production” as the subject line to kern@homerecordingweekly.com . I will do the rest. It is that easy.

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DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube

Guys, I love multiband compression. True story. I love it more and more each time I mix and/or master a piece of music. Once you figure out what it is that multiband compression can do for you, the more uses you can find for it. On the same thought process, once I learned what to listen for when mixing and/or mastering, the more precisely I learned to apply multiband compression. Weather for effect or as a tool, I find new and exciting uses for multiband compression each time I work. I use multiband compression to reinforce vocals, back up guitar tracks, and to even out the unruly, over dynamic frequencies in a mastering session.

The DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube is my newest tool. It is a three band FET compressor that alters the dynamics of frequencies, the frequencies that you tell it to alter. This can unlock a world full of cool and creative uses for the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor. I will also tell you that I love, love, love the two filters built into the Softube DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor. I also love the fact that I can apply it more creatively using stereo or mid/side mode. Add in the ability to use as little or as much of the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor, using the “mix knob”, and this unit kicks butt!!

Just to be as transparent as I can possibly be, I have three multiband compressors that I usually reach for. The DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube is the one that is getting the most use. It took only one sitting to completely figure out what is happening with the knobs and features. It is well laid out, like the hardware unit is too, and it sounds amazing! I am most likely going to use the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor as my “go to” mastering multiband compressor (MBC) from here on out. The features of the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor are just perfect for mastering, well, at least if you were to ask me anyway. I will probably use the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor last in my chain, just before the limiter.

I really cant believe how quickly I can dial in great sounding music that is dynamically under control across the entire spectrum. I love having the ability of selecting the crossover points via a well labeled knob. I love the metering layout which makes for easy dynamics reduction settings. The “Big” and the “Air” filters seem to be perfectly set and they inject magic into the music that I am working on.

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To wrap up my thoughts about the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube

Weather you are just starting to learn about the powerful tool that is multiband compression, or if you have been using MBC like a ninja for decades, the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube is a serious addition to any professional tool set. The plugin is easy to wrap your head around, and it just sounds extremely musical. The fact that it is a serious and professional level MBC shouldn’t scare away those of you that are just learning about the many uses and possibilities of MBC. I would say that a professional can get instant gratification from the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube, and the novice can easily begin their MBC journey, learning how to apply MBC with the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor from Softube.

I love the DRAWMER 1973 multiband compressor and I will be placing it across each and every master I bounce out for the rest of my career. The good people over at Softube know how to make incredible sounding, easy to use plugins.

4 Reasons our songs fail in comparison…

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1) Your song is just not meant to be…

I have song parts the I just know are great. They will etch their names into the history of music at some time in the future, but not just yet. Why not? I cant make them work. I have had them for years and years, tried them in every genre and style, but they just aren’t coming out as I envisioned them. I tell myself that one day they will fall into place, perhaps when I only figure out how to make them work.

The truth might also be that they aren’t ever going to work. That’s ok because I have had complete albums worth of ideas that I at first thought sounded like hits. These parts never married up with other parts in order to produce songs. These versus just never found choruses that matched, or flowed together nicely.

Again, there are some pieces of music that I know are great, I just haven’t finish them yet. Other pieces of music get tossed aside regularly. I think knowing when to give up on an idea is the topic here. Some of my best ideas just become forced sounding and just never sound like nice flowing music. Don’t fall in love with every musical idea that you have ever had.

I suggest taking some time to learn simple song writing. Learn as many songs as you can. Study the greats. Why? Writing a simple song, and having the parts come together, is just so powerful. You will be amazed as the lead lines or the lead parts write themselves into your song. You will learn how choruses and versus work in unison, how things like bridges come into play, and what to place importance on when writing songs. Learning how to “write songs” has helped me grow as a producer. Looking back, that last statement only makes sense.

I suggest you join my favorite home studio membership, too, just to learn better practices and better song structure processes.

2) Lack of emotion…

Lack of emotion is something my music suffers from. Emotion is majorly important. But how can we inject emotion into our music?

Don’t strive for perfection. Take after take, we try to get things as right and as perfect as we possibly can. The problem with that is that with each new take we lay down, the emotion fades more and more. Things become more and more about “getting it closer to the grid” and less and less about feeling as we work. Our songs become more and more sterile as we aim for “perfect”.

Keep those early versions and early takes. Those first takes usually end up being the best, emotionally speaking. As I grew as a recording engineer, I have often times remade those song that sounded unprofessional, only to learn that I like the original version much better. Why? They had the raw emotion that my new polished version did not have. Keep those first takes, too, and use them as a guide or reference take.

Also, I use mood lighting. Not to put me into a trance, but to remind me that it is ok to feel emotions. I pause from time to time and try to “place myself back in time”, back to the place in time that I am singing about. Digging up those raw emotions will help remind you what it is you are trying to say with song.

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3) You are being too technical…

I once had a (non musical) friend of mine listen to one of my freshly produced original rock songs. After listening he gave me an elegant critique. He said, “You need some Yeas! in there”. His comment was short, sweet, and right to the point. I understood what my friend was saying. I never forgot his words either.

I had focused on the timing of the parts and the musical side of things so intently that I forgot I was having fun. Were making art folks. Were also supposed to act like humans and not like robots or computers. Some of my all time favorite rock songs contain the occasional “Yea!” or “whoo-hoo” sprinkled in for good measure. As a matter of a fact, there is one part of John Cougar Melloncamps’ hit, “Jack and Diane” that I cant let pass by with out singing along with, and its a “oh yea”. Go figure.

I guess we need not take things so darn serious all the time. Perhaps a little bit of “K.I.S.S.” tossed in from time to time will go a long way. Back off the technical stuff once in a while and allow the fun to poke through. Maybe this is why some of our best material seems to write itself. We get out of its way and just allow it too.

I actually awarded a ton of prizes to Jon S., the winner of the 2014 songwriting contest (month number 3), with is great song, “As the world turns”. He simply hit “record” on his iPhone one day, and recorded his song in one take. Yep, there were pops and glitches in the songs recording, but it was such an emotional performance that I was “taken to another place”. He won all those prizes because the song was good, but his emotion, oh yes, his emotion was great. You can listen to it by clicking this link right here.

4) You are using the wrong production techniques…

This is something that happens all too often, but rarely gets sorted out. Your masterpiece just takes a turn for the worse and try as you might you just cant pull it back. People fall in love with their songs as they take shape, and they just hate to start over when things don’t sound right. So people continue to pile on track after track of instrument after instrument, hoping to steer it back on course.

I know this issue all too well. I can usually trace it back to an instrument or a track that I introduced. We tell ourselves that if we continue working it will sound great again, so just keep working. The truth is that we have passed the point of no return and we need to stop.

It can be as simple as allowing the introduction of room noise when what you really want an intimate (dry) take. It could be a strong (far from the mic) vocal take when you maybe should have been a lot more softer (close to the mic). With me it could even be the wrong effect on the guitars. Who knows.

But the point is that these things can and probably will happen. Get used to it. You must learn the craft of production, and making mistakes is how we learn. Kevin Ward calls it “Getting egg on our face”, and I have come to like the feeling of egg on my face. It means there is a chance for me to learn something new if I only look hard enough.

Again, learning proper, or perhaps better production techniques will only make your production increase in volume and in quality. With each new bit of advice we get, with each new tip we pick up, our music will improve. As time unfolds we notice great improvement, but only if we keep an open mind and allow learning to happen. I keep myself in constant learning by being an active member to this home studio production service. I highly recommend that you check it out.

The Mackie DL32r digital mixer and my honest review

I will start this review, a review of the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer (Mackie 32 channel Digital Mixer), with an assumption. I assume that you are just like me. I was on the fence about purchasing the Mackie DL32R for a whole host of reasons, and to be fair, I had a lot of questions too. I could not find the answers to my questions anywhere online. That struck me as odd, but the unit is still a new product, and so I brushed it off. However, I promised myself that I would one day type out a full and honest review. A review that explained exactly (warts and all) what I have come to find out about the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer and what the band that I work with as a sound person for has come to learn about gigging with the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer.

Let me begin with some back story. I am in love with audio. I write record original music as an absolute passion. I mix and master music as a passion and as a side income. I am a professional sound person, to some degree anyway, and I came to the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer on account of a handful of problems that I was having as a sound person. I also record local bands and I was trying to come up with an easy, affordable way to offer this as a service. I have been collecting expensive gear in hopes of one day being able to record more than 16 tracks in a live situation (mixing board, splitters, preamps, laptop, hard drive, cables, 100 foot snake, etc.). The Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer is very good at this very feature, too, as I was about to learn.

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The band I was working with was old school, but looking to come into the new age. What I mean is that the five band members had a lot of stage volume and that came with ample doses of feed back. The band only had enough gear to send two monitor runs, too, which was a never ending issue. I had to use two (of the four available) monitor sends for effects routing. That left only two “sends” for five monitors. On account of only two customizable monitor runs, the members could never hear themselves good enough. Toss in the loud amps scattered about the stage and, well, the members of the band could never hear the monitors well enough. They would ask me to turn up the monitors, more and more, until feedback was rampant. It was not their fault what so ever, it just was how it went due to the gear we had at the time.

I am a man that loves to turn knobs, dials, and push faders. I say this on account of the reason I was most afraid of purchasing the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. As the night begins, I quickly set levels and adjust the overall sound. As the night unfolds, I constantly tweak the sound, with panning moves, fader rides, tap in the delay time song after song, adjust effect level sends and returns, and so much more. I love the feel of knobs, dials, and faders so much. Could I ever get used to performing all of these functions on an iPad?  Is it even possible? I mean, could I get this level of a show by touching a screen and wiping my fingers across an inch of plastic? I am jumping ahead a little bit, by typing this “knob, dial, and fader bit”, so let me back up a little bit. I typed this paragraph just to show you that I had the same fears as you might have about switching over to the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer.

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When I met the band they had amassed a good bit of gear. They had a Mackie 1604 mixer (my personal favorite for small gigs), a rack full of effects, some amps for the mains and not too much else. Those mains were cheap, and like I warned them, they blew up on the first gig. True story, they caught fire during the first set of their first gig. Due to my request they had purchased some quality used monitor floor wedge speakers, and they finished that gig using the monitors as mains. We pieced together a decent set up consisting of new mains, better monitors, and some other miscellaneous parts and pieces, all for the most part, housed in Gator Rolling racks.

But there was so much gear! There was the instruments, the instrument amps, the microphones and stands needed to route the loud amps into the mixer, the amps for the mains and monitors, the effects, the….well the gear list went on and on. We had to load, unload, and then set up so much freaking gear that we were exhausted before we played the first note of music. You can forget what you have heard about Metallica, we were the hardest working band in rock and roll.

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One thing rang true though, the band sounded and performed great by the time we replaced the mains. But I kept hearing the same complaint as the gigs came and went. If you are a sound person yourself you can say it with me if you like, the  members of the band would tell me, “I cant hear myself very well”. We hear it all the time. I still only had two monitor sends, thanks to the Mackie 1604 mixer, so getting a custom monitor mix was impossible. That meant I had to turn up the monitors until feedback ruined the show. It a common problem. I needed a way to send each member of the band their own custom monitor mix.

Heck, while we were putting out fires, why not consider getting rid of the loud monitors all together? The band had once shared a gig with another local band that had an “in ear set up”, and I never heard the end of it. They wanted in ear monitoring but like I would tell them, the problem would persist. We only had two monitor mixes to send out to five people. Wait, if we don’t need monitors then we don’t need loud amps either, right? I mean there will be no reason for the guitar and bass to crank up their amps since they have in ear monitoring, right? Right.

OK, looks like its time to do some homework.

I was so scared of using an iPad to mix that I first tried to figure out a way to “create” two more monitor sends. I routed the effects another way and over effected a gig. I tried to move the monitors closer to the band members only increasing the feedback. Something had to change. It was at a late night band practice that the drummer had enough. It was so loud in the room that we were practicing in that we all decided enough was enough. Turn up the monitors so they could hear themselves. Turn up the amps so they were louder than the monitors. Turn up the mains so I could hear over the amps and monitors. UUUGGGHHH!

It was now time to get a new mixing system. One that would solve all of the bands current issues, plus a long list of features that I wanted too. The mixing solution had to had more than enough monitor sends, eight or more would be nice. The new mixing solution had to support a host of in ear monitor set ups, since the volume wars had to end. I was tethered to the mixer all night at the shows (via a new and expensive 100 foot snake), so it might be nice to have wireless mixing capabilities. Lets face it, the band sounds different from each spot in the room.

But the “list of wants” for the new mixing system was a lot longer than just trying to solve the noise versus feedback issue. I also wanted a way to easily multi track record the band, gig after gig, if that was possible. I wanted to “dial the band and the mains” at each venue, as a preset, and then save that preset for the next time we play there. I wanted to get rid of the rolling racks full of effects and amps. Was I asking for too  much?

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We came across the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. I have come to trust Mackie mixers with my life. Night after night they work flawlessly. But the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer was a new sort of machine all together. It was a digital mixer and that worried me. To be completely honest, there were a lot of good points and only some bad points about choosing the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. Come to find out the bad points were all in my head, and not really there at all. But that hadn’t proved itself just yet.

All I knew at the time was that the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer has effects built in (two independent reverbs and a stereo/mono delay with tap tempo) so we could get rid of our rack effect units. I like analogue. Remember, perhaps just like you, I like touching real knobs, dials, and faders. Could I even run a show using an iPad and the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer?

The answer is YES!

Yes, I can run a show using an iPad and the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. Let me be the one to put all of your fears to rest. Not only can I run a show, a new show with much more accuracy and finite detail, but the show has never been easier to set up and the show has sounded better. The stage noise is gone. The feedback is history. The built in effects sound great. The routing of inputs and outputs is easy, flexible, and totally recallable. I can easily swipe to where I need to be on the iPad, and adjusting things like input levels and delay tap tempo is a breeze. Its funny how fast I got used to running a show with just my one index finger.

How the technology really works…

The Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer has a computer built into the unit itself. The iPad is needed to run the App which runs the shows settings. You need the computer in order to perform the duties of the digital mixer like recall the preamps, raise and lower gain stages, route the inputs and outputs, and take care of the effects and recording options to name a few. Each band member will need an iPhone or an iPad (the App is not yet on Android) in order to raise and lower the inputs headed into their monitor send. You will need to purchase a router for the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. I was unaware of this until I read the manual, but it does make sense. The Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer uses the router in order to connect all of the devices that I have mentioned. In order to multi track record (or stereo record) you will need to purchase a “spinning hard drive” too.

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Before I knew what had hit me, I had gotten really good with working on the iPad. I didn’t own an iPad until the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer arrived, so I was a little scared about getting used to working with one. Before I had a chance to think about it, I had the settings all customized for the band. The inputs were color coded with icons as the input types, the iPad was set up as to only show me the tracks I wanted to see, and I had the gig routed as I wanted it. I had drums, keyboards, and vocals going through three parallel compression tracks, and a stereo bus compressor all working before I knew it. Working with the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer is much as you think it is going to be, only easier. You only need to set it up and read through the manual one time to wrap your head around what is really going on. Then, your instincts take over.

Let me try to break down just some of the many other benefits were finding about switching over and using the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer.

The 32 preamps are great sounding, flexible, and 100 percent recallable night after night. I can set up the mixer for a gig (or a venue), save it, and recall it anytime in the future. I can do this for as many bands as I want. Imagine the time that would save you as a sound person for a local venue! The flexible routing for inputs, outputs, channels, effects, is just amazing. There are two reverb effect tracks with sliders, one stereo or mono delay with tap tempo, assignable bus tracks (parallel tracks), return tracks for MP3 players and the like, and customizable tracks for assigning things volumes from groups of channels to a single fader. I can save a practice session in a second and recall it week to week. I can do the same for each club the band plays in. This feature alone not only puts a smile on my face each time we sound check, but saves countless hours of warm up/sound check time.

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The band has never sounded as clear and as punchy.

Each band member has purchased an “wireless in ear monitor unit” which has allowed them to not only hear perfectly from anywhere in the venue, but play better then ever before too. They each have a totally customizable wireless mixer for just their monitor send. If they want “more me” they simply use their finger and turn themselves (or any instrument or vocal) up or down. They each also need an iPhone or iPad to do this. This eliminated the need to own and haul the stage monitors and the amps that drove the monitors, and miles of cables. This got rid of a lot of unnecessary stage noise entering all of the microphones. The band members leave their instrument amps (guitar and bass) at home, too, since we found that we just don’t need them. We use a Bass pre amp pedal that has a DI, and the guitar player is looking at rack mounted pre amp for a quiet stage. This has all added up to help them become the cleanest, most professional sounding band that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Each of the 32 inputs on the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer has two types of EQ’s (vintage and modern) a gate, two styles of compressor, effect sends, monitor sends, and customizable routing that will blow your mind. I have gotten rid of the racks full of compressors, gates, and EQ’s that we used to lug around and set up for each of the shows. The Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer even has a master EQ and compressor, so I sold the stereo EQ and Compressor I had serving for those duties. The gear required for a gig has dwindled down so that it all fits into an SUV.

I can save “screens” as views, as the sound person, so that I only “see” what I need to see, (like inputs and effects levels) and everything else disappears from my view. Saving these views is just amazing and makes life easier. Please, if you are worried about going on without knobs, dials, and faders, don’t be. Make the jump into todays technology and become as happy as we are.

With the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer I can easily multi track record up to 32 tracks at once (or do a stereo record) all night long with the addition of a cheap spinning disc hard drive. I have already tested this on a practice, and it was flawless. This means that you can record a gig, say a wedding, and then quickly burn CDs to sell to the wedding party as they leave for the night. I actually brought the multi tracks into my DAW and mixed a quick “before and after” mix to show the band what was possible.

 As a side note, there were some steps required before I could take the multi track file from the hard drive and open it up in a DAW for editing and mixing. I had to first download some free software in order to “pull off” the whole editing and mixing trick. The Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer records 32 tracks as a “special wav file” that contains all 32 tracks in a “special stereo file type”. The software that I downloaded pulls out the 32 separate tracks from the wav. file. It worked flawlessly, and the time needed to pull this off was not even worth discussing. It is all in the manual.

Promoting bands is a must in todays online world. Record labels are long gone and it is up to us to do all of the promotions. I plan on taking a multi track recording, mix it to as close to perfection as possible, and place it into a video capture of the same gig. I can then cut it up into songs and place those great sounding videos on YouTube and FaceBook for easy, great sounding promotion. Imagine offering this feature for the bands that play out in your local area. I am working on getting a side business going, offering live multi track recording and mixing.

But we did loose some stuff since we switched over to the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. I must be completely and totally honest with all of you. Please, let me explain.

 I have since gotten rid of racks and racks that were full of gear, lots and lots of problems, and lots and lots of headaches. Gone are the racks and racks of EQ’s and compressors that we once had for each input, for the monitors, and for the “stereo outs” that left the mixing board and headed to the mains. Gone is the new 100 foot snake that I had to purchase, haul to each gig, and then divided the dance floor into two halves. Gone are miles of cables that once crisscrossed the busy stage. Gone are countless equipment set up and tear down hours. Gone are the back aches that began in the first set and left me miserable and about useless by the last set. Gone are racks of EQ’s, reverbs, and delays, once used for each of the four vocal microphones. Gone are the old rack towers that once housed the mixer and several heavy, hot, and bulky power amps. Gone are the monitor speakers that once cluttered up the stage, and gone the power amps that made them so loud. Gone is the ridicules amount of stage noise that the monitors once force feed into each of the microphones. Gone is the feed back that always crept in between songs and ruined the mood of the crowd. Gone are the loud bass amp and guitar amp that were always way too loud in the first place. Gone are the venue managers that constantly asked (harassed) me to turn down the guitar amp, the bass amp, the feed back. Gone are the never ending requests from band members to “turn me up” in the monitors. Gone are the “professional sound people” that always come up to me, each time we play out, to tell me that the guitar or bass is way too loud. Well, that last one might still happen, but maybe less often.

If you are ready to loose all of the stuff that is actually holding you and your band back, then its time to upgrade and get yourselves a digital mixing system. We got the Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer and we have never been happier. We sound way better now, with a fraction of the gear and none of the headaches. Please, I beg you, take it from a “knob loving, fader riding, dial turning sound person from the rack owning analogue days”, its ok to make the leap into todays digital world. You will be better for it.  Get yourself the new Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer. We all are loving ours.

Episode 78, “10 mindsets that all home studio owners must posses”

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Welcome back to the Home Recording Weekly Podcast. Todays show is one of those shows I wish I heard back when I was starting out in recording and live sound.

Also, I just completed a brand new track right here in my humble little home recording studio, and I just completed a new “bonus course” that I am very proud of, titled “DIY Mastering”. The new track is featured, as well as mastered (step by step) in the 2.5 hours of mastering fun that is “DIY Mastering”. I just know you are going to love it. If you want to learn more about the art of mastering, or how folks master music from home studios, you owe it to yourself to check out “DIY Mastering”.

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First of all, I wanted to see if the music I am making now sounds any different to the music I made before I watched any training at all, you know, after all these years of learning from watching all of those training courses that I am constantly recommending to you, and after being an active member of those monthly mixing memberships that I belong to. I think the difference is night and day. Please check it out as it is in todays episode.

If you want to learn more about how I make my music sound like I do, and how you can too, then simply send that email to kern@homerecordingweekly.com today, with “original song production” as the email subject line. I will place you into a folder that will receive special behind the scenes footage of the entire process.

“DIY Mastering” is a free bonus gift that you can have, along with “The Pro Mixers Playbook”, when you use any of the links provided to make a purchase of any of the training products that I have reviewed.

Fun Bonus: Want to see what my absolute favorite piece of home recording gear is? CLICK HERE to learn more and to get a closer look at my favorite piece of home studio gear (of the last year).

Episode 77, “Bass like the pros”

Welcome to the Home Recording Weekly Podcast, Episode 77.

In todays episode I talk a lot about getting bass tracks to be in time, in tune, and sounding as killer as I know they can be. If you struggle with bass, like I do, then maybe you will appreciate todays episode. My work around is simple yet very effective. If having a solid low end is your goal, I might just have what you are looking for.

My bass tricks, tips, and techniques are all available in video form, all in one place, in a totally free video product. You can download your free eBundle here, on the Home Recording Weekly website.

Also mentioned in todays show:

From IK Multimedia, the amazing and powerful Amplitube 4, guitar and bass amp VI.

The cool and affordable, Audified GK Amplification 2 Pro

Also, here is the new BIAS FX, and my “BIAS FX with a bass” review/demo video

KAUSSA Cerberus Bass Amp. Here is a link over to my review video for the KAUSSA Cerberus Bass Amp.

The Human Solution UPLKIFT DESK (my rising and lowering workstation).

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Episode 76, “The mighty EQ”

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Today I detail the numerous ways in which we come in contact the mighty EQ, and how I use EQ in both every day life, and professional music.

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If you enjoyed hearing about how I use EQ’s, check out this over 40 minute video I recently made for “How to use Subtractive EQ“.

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Mentioned in todays episode are the amazing and talented Rob Williams, of “Pro Sound Formula”, and his “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, and “Ultimate mastering formula“, all worth your time in checking out. These are two of the best training courses that I have gone through. I learned more about the process of mixing and mastering from watching these two titles, than I have from all of the others. They are really good courses and if you only go through them once, you will learn a ton about the art of mixing and mastering. But I bet you will go through them a few times, just like I have.

Lastly, if you are trying to find an elegant way to break up the long hours of sitting down to work, or if you like to work sitting and standing up, or like me you suffer from an injury or an illness and you just cant do prolonged sitting or standing, then check outthe UPLIFT DESK from “The Human Solution“. I selected an all black model that is totally programmable to rise up to my custom set level at the touch of as button. When I am done standing, I push another button to lower my whole workstation (computer and all) back down to sitting level. The UPLIFT DESK from “The Human Solution” has made my life so much more enjoyable and pain free.

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“Ultimate Mixing Formula” from Rob Williams of Pro Sound Formula, reviewed

What I am about to do is detail what I find out, learn, and truthfully think about “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, as I actually view it myself, as a review. You should know a few things first.

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To share a little about myself, I have been making music, in some capacity or another, since the 90’s. I am currently recording, mixing, and mastering music for myself and for clients. I live for the passion that is music, and learning all I can about the actual processes has allowed me to pull an income from the music business. If you are looking to learn more about the process of making professional sounding music, or if you are trying to pull some sort of an income from the music business, make an income from music, then training videos are the perfect place to start. I have never felt as if I did not get my monies worth out of a training video, and I have just about seen them all.

I should also tell you that I have interviewed Rob Williams on Episode 75 of the Home Recording Weekly Podcast, so I know about his career in the music industry. I also know of his passion to teach what no other professional is teaching. Rob has the uncanny ability to not only give you the knowledge that you need in order to quickly and vastly improve your recordings, mixes, and masters, but also to improve your work flow, your methods and techniques.

You see, to give you a terrible metaphor, as well as teaching you to fish, Rob also teaches you why it is that you should be fishing in the first place. What I meant by that terrible metaphor is that Rob has a way of instilling confidence. If I may, I truly feel that confidence is the most important piece of the whole music production puzzle. In order to have confidence we must first have a grasp of what it is that we need in order to produce professional sounding music. Not because I love metaphors, but we must know how to make the foundation before we build our house, right? To be 100 percent honest and truthful, after watching another one of Robs’ amazing training videos, titled “Ultimate Mastering Formula“, I gained not only a new and fresh confidence, but I was also inspired to get back to work and my music has never sounded better. Rob Williams will set you straight, be totally and completely honest with you, and give you the answers that you are so desperately searching for. This is the knowledge that I have not found in any other training products.

I am excited to begin this course on mixing. To be completely honest, “Ultimate Mastering Formula” is a course. I use the term “training product” a lot, but this is much more. I know Rob will not only share his mixing techniques, but he will share that insider knowledge that makes the unknown clear, and instills confidence. I have witnessed this before, and I fully expect it again.

Opening up the “Ultimate Mastering Formula” package…

There are (at my quick count) no less then 42 training videos (over 47 hours of mixing content) somehow packed inside “Ultimate Mixing Formula“. That is a lot of video time, and that is freaking incredible. I know Rob is simply going to share everything he has with us, video after video, and drive home the important stuff that will make us better mixing engineers.

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The very first thing you will see after you purchase “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is this window. This is the course as posted on “Pro Sound Formula”. You can either stream the videos from here or you can opt to download the videos onto your personal hard drive. This makes for easy viewing from literally anywhere on Earth. I like that Rob has included the streaming section, as a lot of folks do not have this option.

 There are five sections listed, and each section has many video links underneath. The sections are as follows:

“Welcome and Orientation”

Part 1- “How to make great mixes”

Part 2- “The 4 phase mixing formula”

Part 3- “Advanced mix sections”

“Resources”

Like I said, each section of “Ultimate Mixing Formula” listed above has many videos underneath of it, and each one of these videos can be over an hour in length. Rob is very thorough to say the least. He makes sure to not only give you the skills that you need, but he also gives example after example. For example, underneath the section titled, Part 1- “How to make great mixes”, there are six more titles, but a total of 13 training videos within. Rob loves to over deliver, and that is value. Rob really does want to teach you how to mix like the pros.

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The 13 training videos found inside Part 1- “How to make great mixes” (just the first section) are titled:

“Introduction and overview”

“Getting set up” Gear, Software, Tools

“How to listen”

“The five key objectives of mixing”

“The ten essential mixing mindsets”

“The five drivers of mixing”

***Underneath “The five drivers of mixing” are 8 more training videos, titled:

“Intro and overview”

– “The basics”

“Mix driver #1 Balance”

“Mix driver #2 Fix”

“Mix driver #3 Enhance”

“Mix driver #4 Shape”

“Mix driver #5 Space”

“Using the five drivers in a mix”

Not to repeat myself, but like I said there are 42 training videos all packed inside “Ultimate Mixing Formula“. I don’t mean to say that the value is in the sheer amount of content because that wouldn’t be a true statement. The point is that Rob is not afraid to take the necessary amount of time and resources needed in order to give you (the viewer) what you really need in order to start mixing music like a professional. You wont become a professional mixing engineer just from watching “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, or any other mixing training video there there is out there. But, after watching “Ultimate Mixing Formula” you will notice a massive improvement in your over all mixing mindset, mixing skill level, mixing confidence, and the overall sound of your mixes should, then, improve.

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I should add that the section titled “Resources” is packed full with not only the actual song session files used in “Ultimate Mixing Formula” for you to practice on and follow along to, but also useful charts, PDF files, WAV. files, cheat sheets, and other related goodies that will aide in your mixing career. Some of these valuable and downloadable resources are titled, “Sonic consistency EQ chart”, “The vocal EQ Cheat Sheet”, “Mixing Reference Sheet”, and “The Five Drivers of Mixing” graphic overview. These are templates for getting tricky things like vocals or whole mixes sorted out, and they help drive home what you will learn inside “Ultimate Mixing Formula“.

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Rob begins “Ultimate Mixing Formula” explaining that although he supplies hours and hours of mixing tricks and techniques, we must first go through the boring stuff first. Video after video, Rob goes through the gear, the tools, the software that we need to make professional sounding mixes. You might be surprised to learn that you probably already own everything you will need. At any rate, along with some well made, well laid out video training, Rob also supplies the viewer with three downloadable check lists detailing how to properly set up your monitors, software, and plugins needed to get a proper mix (please see the image above). This is the “mixing foundation” that I was mentioning a moment ago, not to mention value stacked on top of value. Rob supplies a solid foundation for us to build our mixing career upon.

Rob continues to shed light on those topics that most often confuse us. Rob explains things like how to listen properly, what to listen for, and how to “judge” what we are hearing. As new mixing engineers we all want to hear those minute details that professionals claim to hear. Truth be told, not being able to hear those little things drove me absolutely crazy! Rob actually teaches the viewer how to not only hear, but to describe what he is hearing, in terms that other mixing engineers can understand. The video moves into such areas of discussion as how to monitor music properly, and how to use reference tracks for precision. This information is critical for your success, to listen close.

Rob assures us that it does take time, but he helps us out by talking at length about the subject. At times, inside “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, Rob gets technical, but he is thorough and detailed enough to ensure that we all understand what he is explaining.

It wasn’t until just recently that I noticed how well I can actually hear. True story. I was eating dinner with my wife at a local blues club and a blues band began to play. I was struck by how awful the singer sounded. Not to be a jerk, but I could actually hear the low frequencies causing the lead vocals to get buried by the bass. I asked her if she could hear the mud, the low end frequencies contained in the vocals. She could not, which is normal since she doesn’t mix music. The point is I could hear it, and I could have fixed it with a simple EQ move, but only after spending a lot of time mixing both recorded and live sound.

Ultimate offer

OK, hold on. Since you are reading through this review that tells me that you are looking to improve your mixing skills, so let me “sweeten the pot” a tad. Let me toss in one great big special bonus offer, just for you.

 As my way of saying thank you for using any of these links to make your purchase, I will give you some very special, very detailed gifts, aimed right at you, the person that is willing to learn more about recording, mixing, and mastering.

Let me tell you about the new Home Recording WeeklyUltimate Offer” that is all set to go and just waiting for you. Inside the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Offer” you will find not one, but two amazingly helpful video training products that will transform how you approach recording, mixing, and mastering in your home studio. They are titled, “The Pro Mixers Playbook”, “DIY Mastering”.

Each one of these two video training products contains lots and lots of “How to” style videos that are made up of “screen capture” style videos, shot right inside my very own home studio, like you are sitting down with me. Each training product inside the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Offer” has been recorded, edited, and mixed down with a few main things in mind…

First, I know that “Content is king”. Each video contains quality, unique content that I, personally, just could not find anywhere else.

Next, the quality of the audio and the quality of the picture is the best I have ever produced. I worked very hard to create video training that is helpful in nature, unique in content, and killer in features like audio and subject. These are the best mixing and mastering tips and techniques that I have learned, that have taken my music over the top, and rocketed my skill sets to the best they have ever been.

Let me break down, quickly, what is covered in each training series:

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The Pro Mixers Playbook

Learning how to mix like the pros can be the most rewarding thing we ever do. It can also be the most frustrating thing we ever do. Why does learning how to mix have to be so difficult?

The truth is there is a lot of information out there, broken up into quick little video chunks, some over here, and some over there, and, well, in a lot of different places. Learning just one brand new mixing technique can take you to many different places that all seem to have somewhat competing information.

For this very reason, I have been hard at work, putting something rather special together that I call “The Pro Mixers Playbook”. I have made over 4.5 hours of training videos together, in one easy to download PDF file. I have listed, and then made corresponding videos for the most powerful, the most “mix-shaping” 15 Pro mixing plays that have had the most impact (hands down) with my own mixes. This is a mixing foundation just waiting to happen. There is something new and rewarding, for new mixers and pros alike, inside in “The Pro Mixers Playbook”.

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DIY Mastering

Learning how to master can be confusing too. Figuring out how to get our stereo tracks to sound clean, wide, big, phat, and massive is a struggle. There are a lot of conflicting videos online that all help to confuse the viewer and help wreck your music. There is nothing else online quite like “DIY Mastering”, I guarantee it.

Included in “DIY Mastering” are training style videos that explain some of the most helpful, most impactful mastering techniques that have all come together to make my masters sound clear, clean, and huge. Video after video we go deeper and deeper into the strategies that really matter when it comes to getting great sounding masters.

If you are interested in learning the best of the best of the best techniques, the best techniques that have taken me years and years to learn and master, the best techniques for creating the best mixes and masters, all in “over the shoulder” training video form, then get your own copy of Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Offer” today.

Here is how:

When you use any of the links that I have provided for you in this review post to purchase, I will allow you a download code for the Home Recording Weekly “Ultimate Offer“.

As a matter of fact, before you purchase any studio training videos or memberships, come to Home Recording Weekly and use any of the links that I have provided in any of my reviews. That way I can view the sale and send you your free “Ultimate Offer“.

All you need to do is send me an email (kern@homerecordingweekly.com) with the words “Ultimate Offer” in the subject line. Tell me the product that you have purchased, using my link, and I will send you your free copy.

Ultimate-Mixing

OK, back to my review of “Ultimate Mixing Formula“…

Five key objectives of mixing

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The next series of videos inside “Ultimate Mixing Formula” tackle the “Five key objectives of mixing”. Rob begins this section of videos by explaining what mixing really is. Most people fail at mixing because they don’t understand the objectives of mixing, or as Rob says, the purpose of mixing. Rob explains where mixing fits in the grand scheme of things, inside of music production, and why it is so important as an art form. Rob details the tasks that a mix engineer performs, the things a mix engineer should be responsible for, as the five objectives. I will not share these objectives with you, but you should know they are easy to digest, easy to understand, and explained in a way that is easy to follow along with.

I actually wish I had learned the “Five key objectives of mixing” back when I was learning about mixing. Rob is right on the mark here, when he says he wants to share the stuff about mixing that no one else is teaching, that has taken a career to learn. I have never before heard anyone teaching this stuff, anywhere else online, but they should be. It makes so much sense! Rob is basically giving you the items, in a list, that all mix engineers aim for, are responsible for, and strive to perform in every mix they hand in. Why has no one ever talked about mixing like this before? Rob and I discussed this sort of thing in our interview (here is a link to that interview), about how “no one else except for Rob Williams is painting the big picture when it comes to mixing and mastering”. Robs method is amazing, and “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is already paying for itself. It is in the way that Rob teaches the art of mixing that he is able to instil the know how that gives us the confidence that I mention from time to time. Rob explains mixing from the big picture first, then he paints in all of the smaller details like techniques, if that makes sense to you.

The ten essential mixing mindsets

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Next Rob dives in to the “The ten essential mixing mindsets”, which just re-enforces what I have been saying about Robs teaching skills. As Rob says in the video, “These are the core principals, mindsets, and beliefs that lead to GREAT MIXES”! He is spot on. Now that Rob has spoke about the key objectives of mixing, and helped us to understand and better define our goals with mixing, Rob now shows us how to think like the pros.

Mindset after mindset, in Rob sheds light on the things that help remove the mystery behind getting professional sounding mixes. Thinking like a pro mixing engineer will actually help us to mix like the pros. The professionals are using each and every one of these mindsets each time they go through a session. This isn’t some silly “think it and it will happen” load of crap, but instead it is real world mixing mindsets that really matter. Rob explains these mindsets with real examples and how they will help transform your mixes. Again, this is professional level information that only a professional could discuss and put into examples that help get the point across.

 “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is a lot of things all coming together at once. Rob has created a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional road map that will help you in many ways. Ways like understanding how to set yourself up for pro level mixing, how to listen like the pros do, what mixing really is, how to think about mixing like the pros do, and of course, how to mix a song, all in one course. You just cant find an equalvent anywhere. “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is amazing.

The five drivers of mixing

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The next section of “Ultimate Mixing Formula” deals with the five drivers of mixing. Rob lets us know that he is going to explain the five drivers of mixing and then we are going to dive in and apply them as we mix a song. Rob goes old school here, and uses a white board background so that he can better explain what he is teaching. This ends up making perfect sense and helping to drive home the information that will help transform my next mix. Rob just makes too many great points to mention, and each with great audio examples just to better drive them home.

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Now that I understand what the five drivers of mixing actually are, Rob takes us through a series of training videos that detail each one. Each one of these five videos come with a “Summary Checklist”, not just because Rob loves to over deliver, but because Rob wants you to make sure your mixes are the best they can  be. It is at this point in “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, that Rob is covering topics like gain staging, clipping, headroom, balance, fader interval calibration, automation, and this is only the first video of the five.

Each of the five drivers has a long, detailed, informative video that really explains things in rich detail. Rob gives the viewer the information that will will need in order to immediately begin getting much better mixes. Driver after driver things become much more clear. The art of mixing does not need to be surrounded by mystery. Rob removes the confusion and explains exactly what it takes to get a way better, much cleaner, clearer, well balanced mix. After watching these five videos you will have a much better understanding of what is important and what is not. You will be wanting to forget all of those “tips, tricks, and hacks” that you learned on YouTube videos, and get to mixing your next session with what really matters. Again, this is the recipe that Rob follows in order to deliver confidence. This is what separates “Ultimate Mixing Formula” from the rest of the pack guys.

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Let me tell you that the next four videos in the course are just as packed with great information as the first one was. In these videos Rob tackles the mixing topics that you must understand. I am learning about not only fixing issues in a mix using tools in our arsenal, but what issues there might be, and what tools we might have in order to fix these issues. Video after video, “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is proving to be a massive investment. I am learning multiple ways to iron out the issues that can help to ruin a mix.

Using the five drivers of a mix

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This is the part of the “Ultimate Mixing Formula” series where I’d say the rubber meets the road. Rob has given us the insider scoop on such wide ideals as what mixing really is, what is expected of todays mix engineers, what is really important when mixing, and what to keep in mind as you are performing an actual mix, so its no surprise that its time to actually mix a song together. Rob opens up a session and begins the mixing process. Rob details the mindsets, the issues, and which tools he can use in order to resolve the issues. Rob creates a great sounding mix using the five drivers of a mix.

What I want to point out is that at the end, Robs mix has all of the things that we strive for, like a clean feel and sound, depth, clarity, punch, and space. Rob transforms the multi track session from a sterile sounding one dimension track, to a polished sounding, three dimensional mix, using the things that he has explained in great detail. But we can now do this ourselves!

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You see, the point I am trying to make is that once Rob has explained the things that we must think about as mixing engineers, and once we understand what mixing really is, and what tools we can use to get our mix to where we want it, its easy to replicate. Yes, it will take practice, but the knowledge, understanding, and therefore the confidence is now there.

What is that worth to you?

If learning to mix is important to you, then “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is one of the absolute best courses I have gone through, period. Why? Well, Rob focuses on teaching the insider type of information that no one else is taking the time to teach to you. Rob starts with the big picture stuff, like what each of the important mindsets that you need to know before you mix are, how to set yourself up for actually being able to create a proper mix, what a mixing engineer actually uses to transform a mix, and then he mixes a session explaining each step of the process as he does so, the same exact mix session that you have as a WAV. file download. Add to this all of the helpful PDF files, the cheat sheets, the checklists, the helpful documents that will certainly help transform your next mix, and you have a grand slam home run.

What you wont find inside the videos that make up “Ultimate Mixing Formula” is a bunch of pointless, aimless, “tips, tricks, and hacks” that leave the viewer more confused then when they began their mixing journey. Each video not only builds upon the learning found in the first video, but each video flows well into the topics and lessons found in the next. There is a building going on here, starting with a solid foundation, right up to a completed mix.

Don’t forget to send me that email when you purchase “Ultimate Mixing Formula“, using “Ultimate Bonus Offer” in the subject line, to receive your free bonus training products from Home Recording Weekly.

Ultimate offer

Rob Williams is always helping people get better sounding music by releasing new courses. Please check out these music production training courses by Rob  Williams of Pro Sound Formula….

EQ Made Simple

EQproboxes

Compression Made Simple

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Ultimate Vocal Formula

Ultimate-Vocal

Ultimate Mastering Formula

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