Anyone could say that in a home studio, you can’t get a professional-quality sound. This is a huge lie. However, there are certain key pieces that one must follow if one really wants to achieve an outstanding sound. That’s why in this article I will give you six tips for better productions that I want you to apply from today … And here they go.
- Start by having good songs
Uff… How pleasant it is to listen to a good song. And even better, when production complements it 100% to make it even better.
But what if it is NOT a good song?
So even if you pay a million-dollar production at Abbey Road Studios, it won’t be a pleasant song to listen to. Why? Because, simply, the composition is NOT good.
One of the producer’s jobs is, to be honest, and really evaluate when a song has potential or not. It is better, to be honest with the artist and, if your song is not so good, look for an alternative.
- Pre-production is a key part
Well, they say … If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. Planning within production is simply EVERYTHING.
It is very important that, before starting the recording, you have a clear idea about what is going to be done in the song. Some of these things are:
- What style will be given to the song?
- What instrumentation is going to be used?
- What musicians will participate?
- What arrangements or direction will be given to the song?
- Everything starts from the source
This is something I repeat, and I never tire of repeating, since it is most important in a production. From the beginning, we have a quality recording, the entire production, mixing, and mastering process will be much better.
NEVER, but NEVER leave something recorded that you did not like and much less think, “I’ll fix it later in the mix” because these kinds of things are the ones that are dirtying the song little by little.
- Think about your future arrangements
Part of pre-production is thinking about the arrangements, but I want to go a little deeper. One of the most common mistakes is that people finish recording all the essential parts, and THEN they start thinking about what arrangements the song will have.
This is a tremendous mistake because it greatly limits our creative potential.
Why? Because many times the arrangements have to go hand in hand with the recording of the instruments themselves, through pauses, the way of playing the instrument, natural intensities, etc. The arrangements are thought from BEFORE recording, not until the end of the recording. That you stay well recorded, and I assure you that your creativity will flow.
That the instruments and sections ADAPT to your arrangements and not vice versa, this will make your production much more creative.
- Use references
Sometimes, when we start, we have the false idea that we must be 100% original in everything we do in production, and especially in the mix. However, if I have learned something, it is that to be original, you have to have references.
Yes, this is how you read it.
Before you start producing or mixing a song, it is very important that you have a couple of references on how you want your song to sound at the end. As for the production, they can be referenced on the types of arrangements, types of structures, forms of interpretation, etc.
As for the mixture, it can be the balance, the effects used, the types of compression, etc. If you use references, your project will be much more creative and original.
- The mastering: a double-edged sword
GOOD mastering can make a mixture explode and sound amazing. But…A mastering EVIL can ruin even a very good mix.
How to be careful with this? Easy: Being HONEST with ourselves. I am not against the same mixing engineer doing the mastering of the song … (In fact in this article I talk about this ).
However, if you do not have the ability to do a quality mastering, then I strongly recommend mastering with someone else. (Obviously, someone who does it well, not just for doing it)
Keep in mind that you can’t spoil your job just for the selfishness of wanting to do it all yourself.