Welcome to EvO:R Entertainment
The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used successfully so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip.
This section was painstackingly put here by musicians, for musicians
so that artists that followed can take this knowledge and use it's full power.
It's not always who you know, sometimes you just have to read the road signs.
Founder of EvO:R
Get a Record Deal - Mix and Master to Manufacture
By Josh Coe
You do not have to have read the preceding five articles in this series, what is a Working Band to Do? In order to benefit from read this. It may be that you had your demo recorded already and did not need the other independent artist; it may simply be that you are interested in the process.
Josh Coe - We provide marketing and promotional services to clients seeking exposure
in the music business. We provide Independent Artist and labels with the means to
service their records to industry insiders and potential new fans.
Somehow or another - in a process that combines love, luck, and a lot of hard work - you got some independent artist songs recorded for your band demo. Now, it will matter somewhat in the marketing of it, but not at all in these production steps, whether it was a recording of a live show or a set of tracks recorded in a studio.
At this point, the question to be answered, the decision to be made, is: Is the mix tape ready to master? Mastering is the last step before production, and it needs to be done professionally, at a cost (for three songs) of somewhere between $100-500. It is not a good idea for the recording/mixing engineer to master the CD, nor is it wise for any other amateur to do it. Since it may cost as much as all your studio time did, it is an important decision that you cannot afford to make incorrectly - or, for that matter, make correctly more than once.
The mixing phase, where the producer and the engineer balance all the recorded tracks in each song played, adjust EQ, apply reverb and other effects, choose the best guitar solo overdub or cut-and-paste one together from several different takes - in other words, get all the parts working together to make one, organic whole. Whole books are written about this one subject, mixing, so it is far, far beyond the scope of this kind of article. If the Muses are smiling on your project, you will have hooked up with a competent pro or a gifted amateur who excels at mixing.
Okay, so you have your finished mix. Actually, there is a great two-dollar word meaning next to the last that should be used in this situation, since no one else but the producer and engineer have heard the mix tape at this point and someone may point out something that needs to be fixed or tweaked. So, call it the penultimate mix. Really: Call it that when you get the group and a neutral observer or two together for a listen. Okay, guys, this is the penultimate mix here...
This is where the producer, whoever he or she is, really does need to get some feedback about the demo. If it is you, be prepared to hear my solos too short or your solos too long, or I can not hear my drum fills, lots of that sort of thing. You may even hear a compliment or two for all the blood, sweat, and tears that you and the engineer poured into the work - but mostly you will hear whining and complaints. You need to keep this feedback session short and focused, with everyone thinking of the greater, common good, the overall sound, the clarity and punch of the tunes, the integrity of the sound, and how well it represents what you do musically.
Another series of books, of course, could be written on all the things that could possibly be wrong with the tunes or the recording of them, but just aim for the sound quality and presence that you get from your favorite CDs, and if you attain 85-90% of those levels, you have done well. Do not let this mix review session drag on; get it done in one evening. You can tweak and micromanage and fiddle forever, especially with software and hardware tools that let you tweak and micromanage and fiddle in a million ways with you get a record deal. Resist the temptation to finesse the demo into a state of perfection. Yes, there is such a thing as perfection; no, it is not on Earth.
Mastering is the final signal processing step before an audio CD is manufactured. This process is applied to the whole demo, all the tunes, and is not the time for fixing things that are performance-, recording-, or mix-related. Mastering will generally affect the gain level, apply limiting and compression, and perhaps add a bit of other signal seasoning to make the product radio ready - or, in the case of dance music, club ready.
There has been a tendency in the last couple of decades to compress the life and dynamics out of rock and pop music, so that your CD is as loud as the other guys or gals. This is not as prevalent in jazz and classical music as it is in, say, hip-hop and heavy metal, and should not be done just because. If your music has dynamic range - in other words, if it has some softer passages, some less orchestrated ones, some space, and some subtlety - ask the mastering engineer to take it easy on the slamming.
What you should have after handing the mastering engineer his check is a high-end CD-R with your tracks written to the 16-bit, 44.1 kHz Redbook audio standard. This disc is sometimes called a PMCD (Pre-Master CD), and it is what a CD manufacturer will use to make the glass master used in replication. If you want to back it up, or keep the original safe and deliver a copy for manufacturing, remember that you must copy the disc, not the tracks; the whole disc needs to be cloned because the all-important Redbook table of contents file needs to be at a specific location on the disc for it to work.
Okay, then. You have your PMCD. You have a little money left. It is time to shop for a CD replicator.
Back to the Musicians Tips main page
A Message from the founder of EvO:R
The Independent Music world has become so fragmented that anyone entering into this arena will be lost without
having a chance of survival. What every independent musicians needs is information, understanding and a
path that leads to success. Sure, you can buy a few books from authors that never played a note or loaded
a single amp into a moving van. Pipe dreams are all over the Internet.
At EvO:R we pride ourselves with sections dedicated to Independent Music News
called (The EvO:R Street Journal),
Musicians Success Stories and Tips called (EvO:R-pedia) and a
Musicians Testimonial Section called (The Goods) dedicated to Internet based companies that deliver on
All this news and information and we don't charge a single penny. We also respect your online privacy by refusing to
track your browsing habits while on our website. We simply want to deliver the BEST news, information and success
stories for the Independent Musician.
Thank-you for visiting EvO:R and tell the world that we are out here..
Founder of EvO:R