It is always interesting to me to hear the many different ways that musicians write, record, mix and master their projects. I thought I would share a recent conversation I had with a fellow New Age Musican about a brief summary on how I put my music works together.
I was just listening to some of your music. You have some great pieces. They are very well recorded. Do you do your own recording and mastering? Just wondering.
Thank you for the kind words on my music. I'm glad to hear you enjoy it. Yes; I do all my own recording, mixing and mastering. I do not have a studio. Everything is right off the computer. Even using the little computer speakers. I kind of dreaded the mixing/mastering part at first because it's my weakest skill out of the whole process. While writing Family Values, the further I got on completing songs, I could hear an impovment in the mix. I felt I was starting to get the hang of the software I use. I went back and remixed/remastered the first songs I did on this album to make them sound better. I usually burn a cd after finishing a song and put it in my truck; then listen to it for days, sometimes weeks, to nit-pick some of the finer details I am looking to hear. If I feel a change needs to made, I start this process over. Once I finally "think" I'm happy with the mix/mastering, I bring the cd to my brother's house and listen to it on his stereo (he has really nice speakers).
I use software by Magix. Cost is about $50. So, the most expensive tool I use is my keyboards. I have a Korg Triton; have had it for over 13yrs now. My computer is an HP Pavilion. I've had it for almost 2yrs. I like it alot; it keeps up with what I want it to do, both with my music and my videos.
Many Blessings, Ron.......Craig K.
I am amazed at what your telling me. You have a great ear for mixing. Considering what you have in your arsenal, you are getting very professional results. The story about listening in your truck, etc., thats the way to do it. Most people today don't have the audiofile setups of the past. They are listening on $18.00 iPod docking stations. If your mix sounds decent on something like that, you are probably good.
It is GREAT to hear your comments on mixing/mastering. It helps me understand and appreciate that others can hear the details I go after when mixing/mastering. Speaking of hearing, mine isn't the greatest. My full time job - I've been in the printing industry for over 17yrs now, so I'm around loud printing presses. Prior to that, the military for 8yrs (infantry); again, loud noises.
Played in a rock band for about 10yrs helped me get the basics of mixing; though I did not do much mixing myself. I only made suggestions to our soundman on what I wanted to hear.
When I recorded my debut CD, Standing On Top, I was much more limited on resources I had available, ie software, computer, etc. I did the best I could with what I had. When I had that album complete, I thought to myself, I don't want to be a sound engineer. I wanted to focus on writing and recording; the way it should be. But when you add budget into the factor; this is another limitation for me (as I'm sure it is with a lot of muscians). I ended up forcing myself to work at learning the upgraded Magix software I purchased to attempt to get the sound I wanted to hear. Strings are my favorite instrument, I tend to use them a lot. I like a crisp sound, low end placed properly helps. I try not to have too much low end that tends to cover up detail. At the same time, I try to prevent too much high end as this gives me a headache after listening for awhile. After completing Family Values, I hear a nice improvement on the crisp sound I am after. One thing I hear in my music that I could improve on is achieving the right volume. I don't have that down yet. I know there are ways to give volume a boost when mastering; something I'll continue to work on. I try to get as much as I can without distortion. I know when I listen to a purchased/manufactured CD, the volume tends to be louder.
Ok, I'll stop for now. Thank you again, Ron, for listening to my music. I greatly appreciate that.