Mixing/Mastering Question

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by kb7, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    So I'm gonna be recording rap vocals within these next few months, and because it's not cheap to get beats and get myself some recording equipment, I decided I might as well put out a 5-7 song EP on CDBaby to make some return on it and get my music out there.

    My question the mixing/mastering, would I just record my vocals, double them, do some adlib/emphasis tracks, and then just send the raw recordings to someone to have them mixed/mastered?

    I'm not new to music, but I'm definitely new to THIS side of music, and I wasn't even sure if mixing/mastering go together. All I really know how to do myself is compress the vocals lol and do a few other things, but nothing special. So it would be amazing if when I send it over to someone to have them master it and what not, if they did all the compression, EQ, etc. like that, or is that a completely different service?

    Also, about how much do you guys charge (if you don't want to post here, then PM me) if I was going to do 5-7 songs of rap vocals.

    Thank you for any feedback that you guys can give!
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Mixing and mastering are customarily done as separate jobs. Mixing is the combining of the various separate tracks into a single stereo file (or stereo recording on a tape). The mastering engineer does any final audio tweaking that may be necessary, puts the songs in the order you specify and does some boring technical stuff like insert the CD track markers.

    What you're planning on doing yourself is the tracking phase of the process. It's a lot harder than you think to do it well, and done poorly makes the later phases difficult or impossible. And about making your money back through CDBaby, maybe this old joke will bring you back to reality: How do you end up with a million dollars after a year in the recording studio? Start with two million.
  3. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Hello KB

    My advice would be to get together with somebody who has, at least, some experience in recording and mixing and can bring in some acceptable pieces of gear. Otherwise, unless you are unbelieveably talented and very lucky, all you get is a mediocre demo of what you wanted to achieve. I know that, because all of us started at one time or another and faught our ways through, till the first light was visible at the end of the tunnel, only to recognize it was the 10 PM Express comming towards us.
    You spend time, effort and heartblood for something that you don't want to put on a cd or in the internet. Remember, there is only one chance to make a good first impression.
    Alternatively, get in touch with a semi pro recording guy with a little home studio, to keep things within budget. The next production might already be in your hands.

    Mastering is heavily depending on the delivered material. We can compensate for a lot of things, but we cannot ( at least not yet ) fix sloppy intonation and timing problems of single tracks within a stereo mix, for example. Any over ambitious processing during the mixing session has cost me a lot of hairs and often leaves one desperate with no way to fix or better the sound to an acceptable result. A re-mix is in order...more time, more money....
    So, to put this together: get experienced help, go into a studio, give the mixes to a mastering house and be prepaired that it costs money. A little hint: if your stuff is good and they like it, some engineers do it for less....But don't forget to give them credit and come back for the Grammy-Album!
  4. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    Okay thank you guys for the answers. I can record my vocals at my place, I'm not worried how they sound as they are, but in terms of them being mixed (which is compression and what not correct?) that is a separate person, and mastering is as well. That makes sense. I already know that I'll be spending a lot more money than I'll be making from this. I know I'll be lucky to sell 100 units lol which would only make me roughly 400-600 dollars depending on how much I post my EP for.

    I thank you guys for the responses though. So mastering is definitely an important step correct? I just want to touch people with my music (I'm doing Christian Rap) and I'm not too worried about getting known out there, but the better the music sounds the more likely of people enjoying/wanting to listen to the music.
  5. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Mastering is not absolutely necessary, but if you want to sell your music it would be worth doing it.
    If it sound great, too, more people might be comming back for more...
  6. kb7

    kb7 Active Member

    That is very true. I'm just thinking that the budget I'm working with I'm not sure if mastering 5-7 songs would work very well. I could always just have it mixed, put it out there, and the reception music wise should for the most part be the same, even if it's not mastered quite yet.

    And I could always see how it sells, then go back when I have the money and get it mastered and re-release it.
  7. leopoldolopes

    leopoldolopes Active Member

    Sorry to say but I can't even imagine some music, tracks or whatever being selling without a mastering work in it... it's just not possible in my head and it's a tremendous error for a starting artist who wants to show off his goods!

    Mastering is an essential process for finalizing a work... without it's just an unfinished one! Period!
  8. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Period, if you like... but we are not the Inquisition, here.
    With all the junk and sheit you can hear these days, unmastered AND mastered, I cannot claim it is essential at the entry level that kb is in.
    If he thinks his Mucke is going to sell without mastering, he might not even be entirely wrong in the age of 128 kBit/s stereo MP3 plague.
    Once he is stepping up a level he will see that Mastering is more than the icing on the cake and that it will pay off.
    Here, at my place, we get even lots of Demo CDs to master. The competition is strong and a good impression is essential, if you want to stick out
    and be noticed from amongst the crowd. Mastering is often the difference between "can listen to it" and a big smile when hearing the song.

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