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  • Philip Marsden

10 Quick Production Tips | #3


1. Avoid the Solo Button

There are very few things you can do to make an instant improvement to your mixing, but one tip that I found did just that was avoiding the solo button. Try to do everything, from EQ to compression to adding reverb, in context with the rest of the mix.



2. EQ Your Reverb

Once you’ve set up a reverb channel, you can get it to sit even better in your mix by applying some EQ after the reverb plugin. For example, on vocals I like to sculpt the reverb around the dry signal in the high mids, so it doesn’t clash. The result is a nice reverby sound that doesn’t smother the performance.



3. Creativity Comes First

Try to forget about gear or perfecting a sound until you’ve all of the writing done for your track. Get all of the creative elements in place, and then think about the technicalities.



4. Don’t Be Afraid of Honest Feedback

If you want to perfect your craft, honest feedback is important. Show your productions to family, friends, other musicians and strangers and get feedback regularly. You’d be surprised what people can pick up that you wouldn’t hear yourself. Just make sure that the people you choose are honest and constructive! If you'd like some feedback from me, just email on info@philipmarsdenmusic.com.



5. Quality Needs Time

As tempting as it is to put your new creation straight out into the world when you’re fresh off the back of a 12 hour production session, it’s probably not a good idea. Avoid the instant gratification and remember that good things take time. Be a perfectionist and make sure your art is perfect before you move on. 



6. Hard Hitting Snare

Want you snare to hit harder? The solution could be as simple as pitching it down a few semitones.



7. Don’t Record Guitar Without Fresh Strings

If you’re recording a guitar with strings that are a few months (or even years) old, you’re fighting a losing battle. You want the best tone every step of the way, so make sure those strings are fresh! 



8. Layer Your Drums

So many people pick one sample for their snare or kick and use it, by itself, for the entire song. It’s 2020, you can layer as many sounds as you like! Try combining different samples or acoustic drum sounds to fatten up your drum parts and make them truly unique. 



9. Use Effects on Your Headphone Mix

When you’re recording any instrument, try to make it sound as close to the finished result as possible in your headphones. For example, a vocalist may want to hear some reverb or delay while they sing. This can make performing the part a much more inspiring! Don’t dwell on it too much though, these effects don’t have to stay for your final mix.



10. Free Plugin - iZotope Vocal Doubler

Ever wanted a doubling effect on your vocals, but you're not able to record them again? Check out iZotope’s Vocal Doubler. It’s completely free, dead simple to use and sounds great! I like to switch it on for the chorus to add a super subtle depth to the lead vocal. Download it here.



Read the previous instalment here.

Want to get better at producing vocals? Download my free guide - Vocal Production Start to Finish


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