Music Production

FINALISING MIX

EXPORTING/BOUNCING:

To export or bounce a track, this can usually be done from the file tab on the menu bar and the export followed by audio selection. When exporting audio information is important to appropriately set the right bit depth and sample rate at which to export. CD Quality is: 16bits (bit depth) at 44,100Hz (sample rate). If exporting at this setting most if not all music playing devices will recognise the track. However if the track is exported at 24bit and a possibly higher sample rate. It would not be recognised by most CD players and audio devices. In this case you would probably just hear nothing for the duration of the track. It is however a good idea when exporting with the intention of mastering, to do so at a higher bit depth and/or sample rate. This resloves the issue of reducing the quality through resampling. Once the track has been mastered it can then be exported as a final step to the loewst appropriate bit depth and sample rate. It is also important to leave a bit of headroom on the inital export to allow for the mastering engineer to have greater control in the mastering of a track when processing. This will usually result in a better final sound. A good headroom to allow is about -3dB.

16 bits @ 44.1kHz would be the standard export factors and would ensure your music could be heard on most systems. The track would also need to be exported as a stereo interleaved format (as appose to left and right separately). This is to ensure that the left and right audio signals are exported as a connected (interleaved) pair.

When dealing with MP3s; tracks can be written to CD and converted to the right format or can be recognised by most hand held music devices such as iPods. Some CD players will not recognise MP3 CDs, therefore it is another important thing to be aware of when writing CDs and particularly MP3 CDs. Tracks can usually be exported as various different file types including mp3.

In most cases it is best to stick with the uncompressed WAV format as it can be recognised across platforms and devices worldwide and is an uncompressed audio format. WAVs can then be converted if necessary to a different format such as MP3, at the desired buffer size using an audio converter program. 320kbps is the highest quality MP3 and biggest MP3 file size. Any less the 120kbps and you can hear a distinct reduction in the audio quality.

MASTERING:

In a mastering session the main idea is to make only finalisation tweaks to help round off the overall sound of the track and to improve the overall quality as best possible (in terms of frequency particularly). When mastering you should pay particular attention to Overall levels, frequency proportions and the overall stereo image.

EQ

When mastering any little change on an EQ or processing unit can change the sound exponentially, that is why it is important to try to get as close to the desired result as possible in the mix down stage. the mastering session can just be integrated to finalize the desired sound and implement the last methods of controlling the overall frequency content and dynamic range.

Multiband Compression

Multiband compressors are often good tools for mastering an overall sound by dividing the input source into varying amounts of bands (depending on the compressor). you can then adjust various parameters that typically include: Gain, Threshold, ratio, Attack, Release and often have a Paragraphic style adjustable bands, meaning you can shift to a certain degree the position over-which each band cover or spreads across. So it has most of, if not all the attributes of a typical compressor with the added bonus of having separate compression control across multiple bands of frequencies.

Parrallel Compression

Parallel Compression can be a good teqhnique to fatten a mix and bring out sounds or ambience within a track. The easiest way to achieve this is to creat a bus track and apply a compressor. Then send the track to the bus via auxilary, blend with the main output and adjust the compressor accordingly.

Stereo Imaging/ Widening

In the same way as using parallel compression, stereo widining can easily be applied by sending the desired track to a new auxilary bus and apply a sereo widing plug in. Then blend with the overall output to achieve a wider sound. This can often bring out the effects on the track as well as generally making it sound more stereo. This can be particularly noticed when listening on headphones.

Limiting

Using a limiter helps to restrict the overall level of the track. Be careful when using limiters as the more one is used, the more linear a mix becomes and it can make a track sound too squashed, overprocessed and/or unnatural if the sound is coming in too hot.

CONVERTING:

including WAV and AIFF can be converted to MP3 at a buffer size of 120kbps-320kbps (kilobytes per second). The higher the amount the greater quality and file size of the MP3. By adjusting this accordingly you can find the right file size for the intended application For example you might export a lower quality mp3 for MySpace but a higher quality MP3 for you iPod when recording your own music. The demand for smaller file sizes is gradually decreasing overtime, therefore it is becoming progressively more common to deal with files and formats of bigger size included WAV and AIFF on occasion.

WRITING TO CD/POSTING ONLINE:

Wavs can be written as can mp3s, will need to be converted to mp3 if intended for iPod or to post online and minimize file size. When writing WAV files to CD it will automatically convert it to the right format during the write process (likewise with mp3s).

Posting Online

Quite simply done by locating the file and uploading through the configured ways to sites such as MySpace or Reverbnation etc. Usually browse for the file, select it and click upload.

Distrokid

When looking to release your music it and make it available to the internet world, check out Ditrokid. It is a good value and easy way to get your stuff on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Microft Groove and much more. It is a subscription based service, but one that is very affordable and good value for money.