Sunday, May 29, 2011

Unsigned? Need to Save Money on Your Project? Here's How!

Everyone wants their music to sound like a major label recording but those records have six figure budgets behind them and your working as a server, so now what? You can still make your project sound amazing for an affordable price. So how do I as an unsigned artist put together a great product?
"The writing phase"
We all know how expensive studio costs can get and how fast time fly's when you're in them. This is why I recommend not going into the studio until you are completely clear as to what you are doing. Most people can't afford to pay a producer, studio time, mixing and mastering costs. You can easily rack up a thousand dollars before you even get to the mixing and mastering. So what do I do? Understand that these days you only need one great song. Remember quality over quantity! You need to find a great instrumental/beat site. You can usually purchase a killer instrumental for $10-$40 so where you save big is on the production fee and studio time it would cost you to produce or have it produced by a band/musicians. Once you receive your music track you write your song/melody to it and practice, practice, practice and when you have finished practicing, practice some more. When you know your song inside and out and have all your vocal harmony parts worked out perfectly then you're ready to go into the studio.
"The Recording Process"
Now that you're ready to get into the studio it's time to find the right one for your needs. Research the studio that you would like to record at online. Look through their equipment list. Since you are looking to just drop vocals onto your track you need a great pre-amp. You can never go wrong if you see Avalon, Universal Audio and API. If you want to sound like a pro you have to use pro gear. Next you want to find a great mic for your vocals. If you use a Neumann U87 mic or similar and go through one of the above pre-amps mentioned you will sound incredible (providing that the engineer knows what he/she is doing).
Now that you have found your pre-amp and your mic it's time to find the engineer. Make sure that the engineer on staff has several recordings under his/her belt. If possible ask to record with the head engineer. Never book studio A as long as their studio B or C has the same gear mentioned above or comparable to it. The reason why is you're paying for the big room and the big board. You might be thinking to yourself I want the big board. Well, the pre-amps we talked about earlier are the same thing as a big board except it's just one channel strip of a big recording console in a rack mount form. When you're actually in the booth recording don't waste time talking or listening to the engineer's stories about how his/her band almost had a deal back in the day. The clock is ticking and you're paying for it. You can politely tell them that you have to focus and get this done. Remember you are paying them so they work for you until you are done. Also nice goes a long way. Make sure the engineer tracks your vocals dry without effects on them. You can add that when you have it mixed. At the end of the session get your Data Files on DVD not just the audio CD of what you did.
"Mixing & Mastering"
Once your done with all the tracking your ready to mix. It's not in your best interest to cut corners on the mix. You can think of it like this, you don't put Target rims on a Lamborghini. After you've finished your masterpiece find the right person to mix your song. If you're a Hip Hop artist find someone who's forte is Hip Hop. If you're a Rock artist find someone who's proficient mixing Rock music etc... It's imperative that you hear the mix engineer's material before you pay them to mix yours. Make sure that they know what is currently happening in the industry with regards to mixing. Make sure that they still have the current gear they used or access to it. Ask questions and let them know that you want to be there when they mix. When you sit in on the mix session tell them want you want it to sound like up front and then BE QUIET! Nobody wants to work with someone hovering over their shoulder. At the end of the session then address all of the issues. If you want that ad-lib level higher or lower then speak up. You have to be assertive but nice. If you don't have a vision for want you want that's when problems can occur. These days don't be afraid to trade services with people. If you're a killer writer then tell the engineer that you'll write them a song in exchange for their mixing services. Maybe you're a singer and can demo songs in exchange for mixing and or studio time. There is no exact formula here you just have to keep your head down and keep grinding until you find the right match.
All I can say about mastering is less is more. I'd find someone who has at least been mastering professionally for 5 years plus. Just because they can mix doesn't mean that they can master. I hope that this has been somewhat helpful. I'm just offering knowledge that I've picked up throughout my years in this business. Take what you can use and what you can't use let it go in one ear and out the other. Keep chasing the dream that most people let go or never had the courage to even try!

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HipHopCSS Fitness Model Spolight: Absolutely Amber

Amber was born in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan.
This notorious northern night bird has appeared in several hip hop videos.
She was in Tony Yayo's "I Know You Don't Love Me".
She made a remarkable appearance in Twista's "Girl Tonite".
Furthermore, she was the astonishing silhouette you see in the Eminem & Trick Trick video "Welcome to Detroit".
Amber was a model in several issues of Smooth Magazine and King Magazine.
Her measurements are 34-28-44.
Amber is now focusing on becoming an actress.