20 quick and easy tips that will improve your productions (part 2)

You can read the first 20 quick and easy tips that will improve your productions here!

Quick tip 21

Try automating the master fader 1 or 2 decibels in the chorus to add excitement.

Quick tip 21.

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Quick tip 22

Decide what takes you like and makes comps right away. Don’t leave important decisions for later!

Quick tip 22.

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Quick tip 23

Treat music like a job, even if it’s not your job!

Quick tip 23.

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Quick tip 24

Make a template and constantly keep refining it.

Quick tip 24.

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Quick tip 25

If you want your chorus to sound big, don’t make it bigger make what comes before it smaller.

Quick tip 26

Separate the times you focus on sound design and sample organization from your actual production sessions.

Quick tip 26.

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Quick tip 27

Practice shortcuts and hotkeys! Your DAW is an instrument, treat it like one. Learning all of the hotkeys will drastically speed up your workflow.

Quick tip 28

Put each vocal section on its own track (lead verse, lead chorus, lead bridge) and send to a vocal bus. This makes it easy to change processing for the vocal between sections.

Quick tip 28.

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Quick tip 29

Don’t bounce and repeatedly listen to songs you are still working on. If you repeatably listen to a work in progress your brain will start to get used to it and it will become more difficult to make changes or add new tracks later.

Quick tip 29.

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Quick tip 30

Try adding chorus before a reverb to help widen and give movement to your return.

Quick tip 30.

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Quick tip 31

Avoid loopitis by following the structure of a reference track.

Quick tip 31.

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Quick tip 32

CONTRAST! CONTRAST! CONTRAST! Stereo sounds the best when there’s contrast. For the widest sound, make sure what is playing in the left speaker is different than what’s playing in the right.

Quick tip 33

ADD SOME AIR! For bright and shiny pop vocals make sure to add some “air” or frequencies over 14kHz.

Quick tip 33.

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Quick tip 34

Submix similar sounds and parts prior to mixing so things stay organized and you can easily process multiple tracks at once.

Quick tip 34.

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Quick tip 35

De-essing vocals allows you to get rid of harsh sibilance while maintaining clarity. I like to use one in the beginning of my vocal chain to make sure I get rid of anything before it’s compressed or equalized.

Quick tip 35.

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Quick tip 36

Small amounts of compression on multiple channels can really add up and help glue things together.

Quick tip 36. A little goes a long way!

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Quick tip 37

Don’t set it and forget it! Those faders need to move! Performing volume automation will give your mixes life and make you a lot cooler.

Quick tip 37.

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Quick tip 38

If a reverb isn’t working on a vocal, try a short delay. It can give you the sense of space you need without cluttering things up.

Quick tip 38.

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Quick tip 39

Modern digital recordings pick up transients very cleanly. Add saturation before compression to help tame some of those sharp transient peaks so your compressor will not have to work as hard.

Quick tip 39.

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Quick tip 40

Clean up that low end! Use plenty of hi pass filters on instruments that don’t have fundamental bass frequencies to get a tight and punchy low end.

Quick tip 40.

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Related articles:
20 quick and easy tips that will improve your productions
5 mixing mistakes that I used to make… and how to avoid them
Things I wish I learned sooner about audio engineering
The “your mixes sound bad in the car” phenomenon

David Silverstein began engineering at the age of 14 when he purchased a Fostex four track cassette recorder. After high school he enrolled at Five Towns College where he graduated with a Bachelors of Professional Studies in Business with a concentration in Audio Recording Technology. He has worked under renowned engineers and producers Jim Sabella (Marcy Playground, Nine Days, and Public Enemy) and Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Spacehog, The Ramones and The Lemonheads). David currently works out of Sabella Studios in Roslyn, NY.