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The Music Production Guide E-Zine, Issue #001 -- Premiere Issue
July 20, 2012

The Music Production Guide

Issue# 001
Date: 7/20/12


In This Issue...

1. What's New at
2. Music Production Tip: How To Avoid Overproducing An Artist
3. Engineering Tip: Phase
4. Career Building Tip: Finding A Mentor

1. What's New !!!

---This is the Premiere Issue of the music-production-guide E-Zine!!!

The mission of The Music Production Guide E-Zine is a monthly (sometime more often…) newsletter to discuss music production and engineering tips and techniques as well as career building advice to help you establish or enhance your music production career!

If you like what you see, forward it to a friend. If this e-zine was forwarded to you, sign up by clicking HERE and adding your name to the mailing list located in the top right column…

---Summer Specials!

Beat the summer heat with some amazing deals on music production services up to 50% off normal prices:

  • Private Instruction
  • Mastering
  • Mixing

    Click HERE for details…

    ---Online Classes Coming Soon!!!

    In the coming weeks I will be announcing online classes on music production, engineering and career development. Sign up for the RSS feed on the lower left below the navigation blocks on any page of the website to get the latest details as soon as they are announced…

    2. Music Production Tip: How To Avoid Overproducing An Artist

    One of the most common mistakes I had to overcome as a music producer was to avoid overproducing an artist. Because my production work stems from a career in engineering, I found it very easy to focus on the technical details of a performance thus ignoring some of the feeling and performance aspects.

    The end result of such an approach typically leaves the music production sounding tame, too controlled or lifeless. One of the most helpful ways to avoid this problem is to focus on the technical details outside of the studio in a rehearsal session. Make sure that you record the rehearsal session so that the artist has a reference to prepare for the studio recording.

    Once in the recording studio, go over any technical aspects as a reminder only if necessary. It is important to make the artist as comfortable as possible in the studio so that the focus remains on performing and not on the recording environment.

    Make sure that you keep the artist focussed on the feeling and performance aspects of the song. If they have been working on the technical aspects and listening to the rehearsal recordings, they should come out naturally. If there are still some technical issues with pitch but the performances are great, pitch correction can be applied in a transparent way to preserve the quality of the performance.

    3. Engineering Tip: Phase

    I always stress focus on the basic principles of recording to achieve the best results. Most poor recordings are a result of ignoring these basic principles and attempting to make up for them with complicated miking techniques and overloaded processing.

    One of the most basic principles of audio is Phase. The phase of an audio signal has 2 aspects. Phase and phase relationship. Here is a brief description of Phase and its importance in recording and mixing audio.

    Phase: Every audio signal has a phase that is directly related to the movement of the transient peak or attack. When a beater hits the head of a kick drum, a compressed mass or air particles is projected out from the drum followed by a wake of less densely packed particles. The signal will cycle back and forth until the drum stops resonating.

    A microphone will pick up that acoustic signal and convert it to an electrical signal. The signal is then amplified, converted to digital and recorded onto a hard drive. Over the course of the many connections in between, any mis-wired cable or connector can invert the phase of the signal.

    The result is that the audio signal when fed to the speakers will draw the speaker inward instead of projecting the signal outward at the transient attack. This is not obvious at first but can lead to many other issues. If the speaker draws inward the sound will remain stuck in the speakers instead of projecting outward.

    Try this exercise out for yourself:

    1. Solo a kick drum sound and apply a plugin with a phase reverse button.
    2. Turn the speakers up moderately loud so that you can feel the low end.
    3. Switch the phase back and forth and feel the energy of the low end.
    4. You will notice that one sucks you into the speakers (out of phase) while the other seems to project the signal out towards you (in phase).

    If you find the opposite to be true, check the phase of the recorded signal by looking at the waveform display. If the initial transient attack goes upward on the waveform display then the phase is correct. If this is the case, you should check the wiring to your speakers to verify that nothing is phase reversed.

    Because the transient peak has the most energy, if it is pulling inward instead of projecting outward it will be phasing out other audio signals in the mix. Basically, you want all of your audio signals rowing in the same direction. If any of them are rowing in the opposite direction you will have problems that can accumulate over the course of the recording or mix.

    4. Career Building Tip: Finding A Mentor

    The best way to catapult your engineering and music production skills is to find a mentor that will help keep you pointed in the right direction. You want to find someone who is making a career doing what you want to do and is willing to share their knowledge and experience with you.

    Of course, this typically comes with a price. Nobody is going to give up all of their knowledge without expecting something in return. If you extend yourself to that person to be helpful in every way possible, they should return the favor by teaching you what they know. Be patient, but don't be a sucker either. Use your judgement and gut instinct to determine if it is a good situation or if you are being taken advantage of.

    The best way to find such a situation is to become an intern at a recording studio, private or commercial. Although you will have to overcome an enormous amount of BS along the way, if you stick with it and work hard, you will eventually find someone that will teach you how records are made professionally.

    Only follow the advice of people who are making a living doing what you want to do. Take everything else with a grain of salt. If you are getting advice from someone who has been struggling for 10 years and still not making a living at it, you are most likely picking up their bad habits.

    Remember, everybody has valuable information to offer. Listen to what everybody has to say with an open mind and then look at the results. You can learn just as much by watching people make disastrous mistakes as you can from people who make all the right ones. The end results will always tell you whether they know what they are talking about.

    Thanks for reading the very first publication of the music-production-guide E-Zine! I look forward to hearing any comments or questions you may have regarding the content of this E-Zine and what you would like to see more of in future publications.

    All The Best,

    Michael White

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