How many people mix/master their own music?

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DJDesja
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How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by DJDesja » Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm a new member and I've been doing some new instrumental cues for Taxi listings. I was attempting to do my own mixing on these cues after researching a lot on YouTube and other sites. After some time, I got so frustrated with my lack of knowledge that I went onto Fiverr and found some people who could mix/master my track for very cheap, in 1-2 days. Problem is, I don't want to have to do this every time I create a song.

I'm wondering how many Taxi members mix/master their own songs versus hiring it out?

I'm also wondering if I continue trying to mix/master my own songs, will this hurt me because the songs could be rejected for poor mixing quality? How high is the bar for Taxi's screeners for mixing quality?

Thanks.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by Picardster » Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:37 am

The bar is high - but at different levels for different screeners imho. The bad news is that you don't know in advance at which pair of ears you're going to land.

Most likely most of the passengers here develop their skills so far that they can submit what is called "Broadcast Quality" Insofar it might be worth considering taking that step to the mastering level.

If you compare the mix with a nice main course at dinner, the master will then be the decoration. But if the meal is not cooked properly, the decoration won't save it. It won't taste good. So, without a good mix, there won't be a good master. Just my 3 cents.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by cosmicdolphin » Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:00 am

DJDesja wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm
I'm wondering how many Taxi members mix/master their own songs versus hiring it out?
For instrumental cues you need to be able to do it yourself, it makes no economic sense to pay someone else as they typically earn low amounts even if they get placed. Production is at least 50% of the skillset if not more, plus if you do get into some libraries you will more than likely at some point receive a bunch of edit requests and changes that need making and re-submitting so it's just not practical to outsource it.

This may help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBmc-sS6ZV0

There are some people who pay to have their songs produced and performed by others from demos - not sure if they ever make their money back but maybe one or two will chime in with their experience.
DJDesja wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm
I'm also wondering if I continue trying to mix/master my own songs, will this hurt me because the songs could be rejected for poor mixing quality? How high is the bar for Taxi's screeners for mixing quality?
Yes they will 100% be rejected if the production is below ' broadcast quality ' , the bar can vary a little from listing to listing but a good mix & master is a minimum requirement..sometimes they need to be better than just ' good ' ...this is all somewhat subjective as well.

Best advice is it find a course in mixing and mastering that suits you and work through it as you make new tracks. Nobody is born good this stuff it takes practice, we've all been there.

Mark

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by NMN » Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:59 pm

DJDesja wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm a new member and I've been doing some new instrumental cues for Taxi listings. I was attempting to do my own mixing on these cues after researching a lot on YouTube and other sites. After some time, I got so frustrated with my lack of knowledge that I went onto Fiverr and found some people who could mix/master my track for very cheap, in 1-2 days. Problem is, I don't want to have to do this every time I create a song.

I'm wondering how many Taxi members mix/master their own songs versus hiring it out?

I'm also wondering if I continue trying to mix/master my own songs, will this hurt me because the songs could be rejected for poor mixing quality? How high is the bar for Taxi's screeners for mixing quality?

Thanks.
Hi DJDesja, I'm also a newbie but I can tell you that I have chosen to mix and master my own songs and make sure that I continue to learn how to do this properly. For me this is still a work in progress but I can already realize its importance. Balancing loudness, compression, and clarity is my personal current focus.

One big reason I produce my own masters is because I am able to keep a level of control over and insight into loudness, peaks, dynamics, etc. I have tried out cloud mastering services to compare with my own masters. With the Soundcloud mastering service in particular, I often get back a master that exceeds True Peak thresholds. The way I understand True Peak is that it is a measurement of the peak audio levels after the digital to analog conversion of audio signals on the device the song is playing on. So, it looks like it isn't clipping, but depending on the device that the track is playing on, the track can still clip and distort. Also, most blogs that I have read on the subject of cloud mastering will tell you that these services are good for standalone tracks, but if you are mastering an entire album, there's more to making the entire album sound more cohesive.

I think that there's enough budget software and equipment out there that it's worth learning the basics of mixing and mastering if you are serious about it. Then, if you decide that a cloud service will still be a better option for you, you will still have the knowledge to know that the resulting track that you get will be at the quality level that you are expecting.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by Kolstad » Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:27 pm

I do, but it has taken me 10+ years to see results. There are so many components in music production, and it is a highly specialized area that is a lifetime of learning in itself, so it helps to approach it with patience and humility and work on it a little bit every day. In the end, it will become a house. I think you are wise to have some done by others, while you keep working on your skills. Production can take focus away from your writing, so that way, you can get quicker results.

Even though I feel I can produce well enough to be happy with the results, I still outsource especially mixing of projects with a lot of tracks. Its easy to lose perspective when you are just yourself, and it can be very helpful to see what others do with your work. Sometimes you might partner up and exchange mixing projects, and gain some experience that way.

Everything you put out should be on par with what you hear on streaming platforms. Find some tracks you think are produced well, and use them as references to see how your own mixes measure up. Where they dont is your work area.

Good luck, man!
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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by AudiniAudio » Sun Jul 11, 2021 6:05 am

If mastering an album there is more to consider than just peaks. I asked one producer how she decides the order of music on an album. She mentioned the tracks could go through the cycle of 4ths or chromatically ascending as the most obvious places to start but of course not all the songs on many if not most albums will necessarily do those. One of Seal's albums is all in E. Sting didn't write everything for radio airplay, so he could deviate from the 3.5 minute pop song format on the rest not intended for that. But should the pop song be first on the album, 2nd, last? Could be a hard decision.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Jul 11, 2021 6:48 am

AudiniAudio wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 6:05 am
If mastering an album there is more to consider than just peaks. I asked one producer how she decides the order of music on an album. She mentioned the tracks could go through the cycle of 4ths or chromatically ascending as the most obvious places to start but of course not all the songs on many if not most albums will necessarily do those. One of Seal's albums is all in E. Sting didn't write everything for radio airplay, so he could deviate from the 3.5 minute pop song format on the rest not intended for that. But should the pop song be first on the album, 2nd, last? Could be a hard decision.
Album sequencing doesn't really matter for production music like it does for artist releases. Put the best few tracks at the start as statistically they are the ones that get used the most.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by AudiniAudio » Sun Jul 11, 2021 6:51 am

Good to know.

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by MBantle » Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:58 am

cosmicdolphin wrote:
Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:00 am
DJDesja wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm
I'm wondering how many Taxi members mix/master their own songs versus hiring it out?
For instrumental cues you need to be able to do it yourself, it makes no economic sense to pay someone else as they typically earn low amounts even if they get placed. Production is at least 50% of the skillset if not more, plus if you do get into some libraries you will more than likely at some point receive a bunch of edit requests and changes that need making and re-submitting so it's just not practical to outsource it.

This may help https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBmc-sS6ZV0

There are some people who pay to have their songs produced and performed by others from demos - not sure if they ever make their money back but maybe one or two will chime in with their experience.
DJDesja wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:08 pm
I'm also wondering if I continue trying to mix/master my own songs, will this hurt me because the songs could be rejected for poor mixing quality? How high is the bar for Taxi's screeners for mixing quality?
Yes they will 100% be rejected if the production is below ' broadcast quality ' , the bar can vary a little from listing to listing but a good mix & master is a minimum requirement..sometimes they need to be better than just ' good ' ...this is all somewhat subjective as well.

Best advice is it find a course in mixing and mastering that suits you and work through it as you make new tracks. Nobody is born good this stuff it takes practice, we've all been there.

Mark
Totally agree with Mark. I do instrumental stuff myself (using Izotope Tonal Balance and Ozone) and for vocal stuff I usually go to both a mixing and mastering engineer (I can recommend someone for mastering on Fiverr - I also work with him from time to time on instrumentals when the bar is very high) to also have the benefit of a new/different perspective.
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: How many people mix/master their own music?

Post by RPaul » Sun Jul 11, 2021 3:05 pm

AudiniAudio wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 6:05 am
If mastering an album there is more to consider than just peaks. I asked one producer how she decides the order of music on an album. She mentioned the tracks could go through the cycle of 4ths or chromatically ascending as the most obvious places to start but of course not all the songs on many if not most albums will necessarily do those. One of Seal's albums is all in E. Sting didn't write everything for radio airplay, so he could deviate from the 3.5 minute pop song format on the rest not intended for that. But should the pop song be first on the album, 2nd, last? Could be a hard decision.
When I'm sequencing my own albums (not production music, BTW), I tend to think of them as true albums, wanting some kind of sequencing sense that "flows" (in multiple ways), similar in many respects to creating a set list for a live show. Since the tracks on the album will mostly be listened to on streaming services, and probably not all in one sitting in most cases, it could be argued that the sequencing doesn't matter much, and, if anything, it might be best to have the "hit(s)" first to try and entice someone who just happens upon the album on a streaming service to maybe want to listen to more of it. (But, realistically, if they just happen on something from the album, it is probably from a context, such as search or a playlist, that doesn't directly put them at the main entry point into the album.) So perhaps the thought I put into album sequencing is kind of like the tree falling in the forest that doesn't actually make a sound since no one is there to hear it. :D

That said, my main criteria for sequencing tend to include consideration such as changing up tempos (similar to how one might sequence a live show), avoiding having the songs in the same key back to back, logical flow of the lyrics into any overall concept for the album (this can include breaking the album down into "sides" in the sense of LPs or cassettes, even though CDs and playlists have no real concept of sides), and possibly grouping tracks into "mini-sets" (e.g. on my most recent album, which had mixed genres, I started with a 3-song pop/AC set, then a similar country-flavored set, then a 60s-oriented set, a sort of miscellaneous set that was kind of a mixture but seemed to hang together well enough). It really isn't that different from sequencing a live set for me, except that I don't have the luxury of picking any songs from my catalog (and possibly cover songs, too).

I do also pay attention to the timing between tracks to try and make the flow smooth.

Rick

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