The music industry has changed tremendously over the years. Back in the day, an artist could only hope that someday he would be ‘noticed’. Today you don’t have to rely on big-name producers to have your chance to shine. Nowadays any regular person can produce music in the comfort of their own home, all you need is a laptop, a DAW, and a pair of headphones. But before you start you need to know how to record music. Professional audio engineers of our studio ekmixmaster.com know a lot about the recording process, so in this article, we will talk about four major steps of song recording.
Back in the day, the recording process was less complicated. The full performance was played once or twice and recorded on a single track. Today’s process is more sophisticated but also more flexible. In modern music, every element is recorded separately and then they are
blended. It enables you to modify each element individually which gives a lot more room for creativity. And it also means that you don’t need a team of artists to play for you, it all can be done by one person.
To record, first of all, create a guide track so that every player could follow the rhythm. It might be a simple metronome or a drum loop. You can also create a guide track with recorded instruments to play over them until the original track could be deleted. Rhythm is the heartbeat of every song, that’s why you should always start with it. Then you can create chord progressions, layer different instruments, create harmonies. When you set the foundation you can start writing the melody. Firstly record the lead melody using the main instrument, it might be a guitar, a piano, or a vocal. After that, you can start writing supporting and counter melodies using other instruments. To top it all off, you can add additional elements such as background vocals, risers, impacts e.t.c.
It is normal to make mistakes during recording, that is why we need editing. The DAW gives you opportunity to easily correct any imperfections of the track. The editing process has several stages. First comes arranging. Arranging makes it easy to move parts of the song, delete whole tracks or their parts. You can also listen to duplicates of each track and choose the ones you like the most. You can also choose the best phrase in each take and mix them all into one track. This process is also called comping. Noise reduction is an important part of the editing process. It implies cutting out breath, voices, and silence in between takes. Time editing can help you fix the notes if they are out of sync. Another step of the editing process is pitch editing. It is usually applied to vocals, to ensure that every note is on pitch. It can also be applied to instruments that have a tone such as snares and kicks, which sometimes make a big difference.
When your track has been arranged and edited , it should be mixed. Mixing is the process of blending all the tracks so they sound like one complete whole. There are more than one way to mix your track, but regardless of the method, you use there are several steps common to any mixing process. Balancing volume of each track, panning, EQ, automaton, and compression. Mastering is the final stage of the recording process.
A song is not ready to be released if it is not mastered. To master the song, it is recorded into one stereo file and then the mastering engineer uses EQ, compression, and panning and applies it to the whole rack. Mastering may sound easy but in reality, it is very hard to become good at it. That’s why it’s always recommended to seek professional help rather than do it yourself, as it’s easy to mess things up if you don’t know what you are doing.