When you're just starting out as an artist and your putting together a project for the first time, choosing the right licensing option is vital. Knowing which option is best for your project can have an impact on it's overall success. You'll want to avoid choosing the wrong licensing option so that your not throwing away your hard earned cash. Few tips to keep in mind that will help you make the best decisions when buying beats online.
1-Project Goal- The type of project your putting out will determine your licensing choice. For example an artist putting out a mixtape will choose to lease beats instead of then buying exclusive rights. As exclusive rights can be pricey opting out for a lease would be the appropriate solution for an artist putting out a mixtape. Albums and EP's would require exclusive rights do to the nature of the project being put together. The expectation that comes with an artist buying beats for their album or Ep would be to have zero limitations, as far as sales and commercial use. As for mixtapes the expectation is some what lower and temporary in terms of how long an artist will be allowed to use the beats for their project.
2-Mp3 or wav- This is determined by an artist's experience level. Early on quality isn't usually a concern with artist who are putting out a first time project. In fact if you're just starting out a mixtape is usually a starting point for beginners. Choosing an mp3 lease is fine if your just starting out. And if you're looking to save money as well, since Wav leases usually cost more. Other producers may even offer stem files as well, leaving you with more control over your recording sessions. But again this is due to preference that comes from the artist's experience with recording their work. By the third or fourth project most artist will begin to come into their own and will pursue better quality hence Wav or tracked out licensing options.
3- Pricing- You'll notice a huge difference in pricing between the licensing options available to you when it comes to mixtapes and albums. As mentioned before your experience level and project will determine how much you'll need to spend on licensing. You won't have to search to hard to find a mixtape deal on line do to the nature of these types of projects.
4-Expectations – Knowing what you expect from your project will help you determine the direction you'll need to go when it comes to choosing the right license. If you're expecting to just do shows to help create a buzz while handing out your mixtape or demo then leasing is best they way to go. But if you're looking to have your songs placed on Tv & Film than obtaining exclusive rights is the best option for you. Establishing a clear plan earlier on with the points discussed in this post will help you choose the right licensing option for your project.
When I first got into beat making there were a long list of DAWS to choose from. What played a factor in my choice of software in the beginning was my budget and lack of knowledge. But in the end it worked its self out. Which ever program you choose to use remember that there is no such thing as the best DAW. And every digital audio workstation has its pros and cons, some may arguably out way others but that is subjective to preference. Here are a few pointers that can help beginners with your decision
1- Budget- This is the most important factor because everything in your studio will revolve around the DAW you'll be using. This is a big commitment because you'll be using the program for about 5 years plus and beyond. I've been using the same DAW for over 10 years now and haven't had the need to make a complete switch. Which ever route you may choose, make sure you're getting the best option available to you even if it means saving up a few extra hundreds to get the full version of the DAW you desire. Trust me holding out will be well worth it in the long run. There are many DAWs to choose form that offer trial periods.
2- Experience level- When your just starting out you'll want to choose a DAW with the lowest learning curve. For example a program like pro-tools would be too complex for a beginner to start out with, because of its learning curve being on a Pro level. This is an industry standard program that you'll find most if not all recording / mix engineers using int the studio. This program has training courses where a certification is received. Aside from that most DAWs will have more to offer beginners with video tutorials that can be found on you tube.
3 – Future proof- Keep in mind if your buying the entry level version of your DAW at some point you will out grow its limitations. As mentioned before saving up a little bit more for the full version will create more possibilities for you as your skill and knowledge of the program grows. Even if your using the entry level version of the DAW you'll always have to option to up grade to the full version of the program leaving you with no limitations and more features to work with.
4- Patients For some beginners there are a few DAWs that may have its challenges when it comes to the over all learning curve. The layout sequencer can be some what over whelming at first but with video tutorials and some patients the learning process can be rewarding if you stick with it in the end. With all the consistent DAW upgrades from various software developers makes it an exciting time for today's musician / electronic music producer in 2017.
We all record vocals and want know that we’re doing our best in the process. It's the one element of a song that stands out the most to listeners hearing our music. In order to improve your recordings it will take skill and of course good recording equipment. It can seem daunting for beginners early on. But with a few tips on where to start will help give beginners a better understanding on how to improve their vocal recordings.
1.Having the right microphone
Finding the right microphone for the job can be done at an affordable price in Today's market. Depending on your budget you'll be able to find prices just under $700 dollars. You'll have several options to choose from in this price range. I highly recommend going out and trying out the equipment to see which microphone you sound the best using. Here are a few microphones to consider looking into:
2.Issues to avoid that ruin vocals- There are a few things to worry about when recording vocals. The first issue of concern is popping, The way we pronounce certain words we use have heavy plosives that are picked up by the microphone. The use of a popper stopper helps prevent these harsh sounding artifacts from carrying through.
3.Sibilance- This occurs when pronouncing “S” and “F” sounding words. Giving off a sharp “hiss” like piercing sound that offends our ears. This can be fixed with the use of software plug-ins using a De-esser or a multiband compressor to cancel out those unwanted frequency.
4.Room Acoustics- You could be doing everything else right but if you're room's acoustics are bad so will your vocal recordings. As well as not having proper acoustic treatment will contribute to this greatly.
5.Using effects during recordings- Certain problems can be dealt with earlier on during the recording process. Now this all depends on your work flow as some recording engineers may prefer to use effects early on so they don't have to apply them later on during the mixing stage. As I’ve mentioned before about sibilance. Using a multiband compressor or a De-esser during the recording process can help rid your recordings of those harsh sounding plosives.
Here's a video on how to remove sibilance using a de-esser.
Preparing your songs for a mix engineer can vary. As it pertains to the preference of the mix engineer working on your song(s). Some engineers may prefer you to send them your songs in the program session they were created in. While some may want you to send them individual stem files. But before doing anything there is much preparation on your end that needs to be done.
1. Labeling- Whether you're sending your project sessions or audio stem files you need to be organized. I have yet to see an artist record vocals without having any multiple takes and edits. With that being said make sure your labeling everything from intro chorus, verse one, bridge etc. Just because you might know where and what everything is doesn't mean the person who will be working on your tracks will. This saves you time and money as the mix engineer may feel like it's not part of their job to organize your work.
2. Clean up your tracks-The dead space that often appears after your vocal recordings should be trimmed down. This includes unwanted noises that may have been caused by improper edits such as clicks and pops and any other unwanted artifacts. The use of cross-fading at edit points will help fix most of these issues. Another good technique that can be used as a counter measure. Would be to solo your tracks to hear if you can identify edits while looking away from your computer monitor. These are preventive measures against unwanted artifacts that could affect the quality of your mixes later on during the mastering phase. Where the use of heavy compression will be applied to your song, amplifying any and everything that you may not have been able to hear before the mixing stage.
3. Bypass All effects Before you go and hit the export button make sure you have bypassed any EQ, reverb, delay and compression plug-ins that you have processing on any of the tracks. As this will cause issues for the person working on your tracks. Once you've exported your tracks. There will be no way for the mix engineer to bypass your effects, once you've exported your tracks. Resulting in a delay of your song being mixed. Because he or she needed to contact you about having your songs resent with unprocessed audio.
4. Folder And Content info-Besides labeling your files you also need to label the export folder you've created. You'll want to label your folder with the song title and tempo. Also including a notepad file within the content folder stating any useful information such as sample rate and bit depth of the exported track. Once you've got everything done. You'll need to send your files to your engineer using a file sharing system. To consolidate your file size a free to use program called “winrar” or “zip file” can be used for this. Now you can opt out and send just your folder as most file sharing sites will allow you to upload just your folder. Whether its dropbox or mediafire you'll be able to upload with ease.
These are good practices for any project you're sending to your mix engineer or even collaborating with a producer/artist. Most professionals will be happy and willing to guide you throughout the entire process. But having some knowledge of how to send your sessions helps increase the turnaround time for your project. There are a ton of tutorials that can help familiarize yourself with the process, using the DAW of your choice.
For artist who are unable to opt out for Wav leases as they can be pricey. When you're putting together a project and you're a few beats away from going over your budget. Here's a method that can help you save some money and preserve audio quality with your songs at the same time. For This method you will need to create a Wav file by recording from a mp3 file. While using a DAW of your choice but for this illustration I’ll be using Presonus studio one 3. This is a similar technique producers use to create beats from old and new recordings called sampling. But in this case the beat is already made, mixed, mastered and you'll just need to create a wav file from its recording.
Load up your DAW: While methods may vary upon program the principle remains the same and can be applied to any DAW.
Import the mp3 file: Set the project tempo to file you're going to use.Locate the mp3 in your file browser then drag and drop into the sequencer.
Create a “bus”: After you have imported the mp3 file, right click on the audio channel and select create bus.
Route audio to a send: Click send so that the audio can sent to another channel and make sure the “bus” is selected.
Create a new track. This new track is where you''ll be recording the audio to.
Choose “bus”: Now to receive the audio signal on the new track make sure bus is selected as the input source.
Adjust the input levels: At this point you should hear audio coming from the mp3 channel as well as the bus track. You'll also notice the sound being too loud.Adjusting the levels from mp3 channel so that it reaches a level you're comfortable with on the VU meter. you'll also want to give yourself some headroom for your vocals. You will need to adjust the volume levels to your liking. Adjusting the bus volume as well if you're unable to reach a desirable level.
Arm the audio track: Once you've adjusted the levels make sure the monitor tab is and deselected and arm the track.
Press record: Now that you have your levels and have armed your track click on record.
Review audio: Mute the mp3 and “bus” tracks to review what you've just recorded. Once you've finished recording your song you'll now have to Bounce it out to either a Wav 44.1khz 16bit wav or mp3 file. Depending on how your songs will be distributed online most companies will prefer you to upload in wav format only.