5 Tips For Quality Home Recordings

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Joey StrugisProducer, mixer, recording engineer, programmer, writer, performer – Sturgis is multi-talented, and for a full decade he has brought these powers to bear on nouveau strains of metalcore, post-hardcore, electronicore, and more, shaping a revolutionary new wave of hard music.]

1. Fix your listening space

Recording, mixing, and producing all comes down to one centralized focus, a great listening environment. If you don’t know what you’re hearing, you don’t know what you’re mixing or creating. I can’t stress this enough, make sure your room doesn’t have bad reflections, weird resonating frequencies, or distracting acoustical properties. If you encounter any of these problems, use the internet to help you solve them. A great resource for something like this is TapeOp’s Acoustics category.

2. Reference everything

Want to sound like the pros? Listen to the pros, and compare your work to theirs. Don’t be biased and be honest with yourself. Does your mix cut like theirs? If not, be willing to go back to the drawing board time and time again. Just be careful not to pigeon hole yourself into being a copycat. Use this tip as a technique for improvement rather than a guide for ripping off success.

3. Great sound isn’t by magic

You don’t need quirky plugins, cool trendy techniques, or even magic tricks sold by thousands on the web to get a great sound. Mixing is fundamentally just dynamics and tone, and you can accomplish all of that with just Volume, Pan, EQ, and compression. Master those four things, and you’ll be on your way to unlocking great sounding work in no time. Add on the extra layers of sauce later!

4. Don’t focus on the small stuff

Don’t forget that 99% of a great song is actually just the song itself. All that time you wasted on getting your snare to sound like x could have been spent worrying about better vocal melodies or even better vocal performances. Don’t get so caught up in the small stuff; nine times out of ten the small tweaks don’t resonate with people as much as the actual song itself does. Present it well, that’s the main point!

5. Take your time

Don’t rush to the finish line! Sure, the more time you spend on a song, the more it rots. Alternatively, the less time you spend on a song, the worse it gets. Be careful about the balance here, and try to find the sweet spot that matches your creative flow. Spend too long on a track, and you’ll massage it to the death. Spend too short of time on a track, and you’ll experience negative feedback. If you’re in a hurry, slow it down. Take your time to hear the song a few days after not hearing it to return with a fresh perspective.


Joey Sturgis 33Joey Sturgis has racked up a massive list of credits for a who’s who of modern cutting edge metal, channeling the raw power of bands like Asking Alexandria, Attack Attack!, Born of Osiris, Of Mice & Men, Attila, We Came As Romans, Blessthefall, I See Stars, and many more. Follow his podcast here.

How To Mix Bass Properly

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog by JP Remillard, and it originally appeared on the LANDR Blog. We’ll continue to share awesome content from LANDR in order to help educate TuneCore Artists who are producing, recording, and engineering their tracks!]

After seeing millions of tracks come through LANDR, I’ve found a trending problem — Mixes that lack low-end.

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Think of your mix like a human pyramid. The lows are the sturdy bottom. They keep everything from falling apart.

If there’s no bass, then your mix has no base.

How does a track sound when it lacks low end?

  • Aggressive – Lacking lows makes everything else stand out. If your mids get pushed to the front, your track can sound good at first, but quickly becomes tiresome to the ear.
  • Cold – When the bass isn’t there everything in your mix gets a bit chilly. Bass adds roundness and warmth that nurtures the rest of your sound.
  • Weak – Flat lows stops the rest of your track from doing its thing. A well balanced mix pushes everything equally for that A+ champion sound.

So are your mixes coming out aggressive, cold and weak? Don’t worry. I can help.

HOW TO MIX BASS PROPERLY

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The knee-jerk reaction is to go back to the mix, get fader crazy and push the lows. Don’t do it. The problem lies deeper.

Heres what you do in the DAW:

  1. Make your low-end mono – Pan your low-end to the center.
  2. Mix in the lows first – Turn down all channels except the lows (bass, kicks). You can now solo your lows at any time as a reference.
  3. Bring back the rest of the mix – Use your lows as a reference. You should hear the low-end just as loud as the other parts.
  4. Compress – Now it’s now time to use compression to glue your bottom end together and get it pumping in the mix. When it’s finally sitting right, compression will enhance all the essential parts.

Test some loops in LANDR before you make your final bounce. Adjust until perfected.


Snoop Dogg’s personal engineer, Frank Vasquez, uses LANDR to turn up the volume on his mixes. Check out LANDR’s “Behind The Board” interview with Frank below!