Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Mixing and mastering are crucial parts of every recording artist's journey. It is not simply "the icing on the cake". More like, it is a very important part of the cake itself! As a young recording artist yourself, you are probably wondering just how important it is to mix and master your tracks. Wouldn't it be simpler to just record, layer, and get them out there? On the one hand, you're right. It would certainly take less time, and it would be cheaper financially. However, in the long run, your musical career will suffer greatly if you avoid mixing and mastering at first. You will end up paying a huge price, and be left wondering why your music never really took off the ground. If you do get your recordings engineered, however, it will give your music a huge boost. Here are four reasons why mixing and mastering are so important.
1. You Are Not Just Trying to Keep up With the Joneses
The music world is a competitive place. There is no avoiding that. You are not just trying to keep up with the Joneses here. You are trying to keep up with hundreds of amazing musicians who have spent years honing their skills and developing their techniques. And that means you can say goodbye to any shortcuts or quick fixes. If you want to be on par with the world's most well-known and well-loved artists, you have to do what they do.
Also, they make sure their songs are mixed and mastered. Your ear is used to hearing music that has been manipulated by some of the best sound engineers out there. When you turn on the radio or find your favorite artist on Spotify, you are hearing music that has been engineered. And that is the experience of every other person on the planet. So if your music is not engineered, your listeners will find it very different from the other music they hear. And not in a good way. Mixing and mastering are the best ways to ensure that your music is up to snuff.
2. Good Balance Is the Key to Good Music
You may have some of the best tracks you have ever recorded lined up and ready to go. Great! But if you do not balance them correctly, all that hard work ends up going to waste. Great balance means great music. Poor balance means, well, your great music has lost its ability to reach its true potential. No one wants to listen to a track that is super heavy on the drums with barely any melody, or where you can really only hear the voice, and the supporting lines are lost in the background.
Mixing and mastering make sure that the tracks are balanced with each other. No track is too loud or too quiet, but all the tracks are working together with each other to create the sound that you want. Balance is also extremely important if you are creating more than one track. You want all the tracks to end up with roughly the same volume level, so that when adoring fans are listening to your album someday, they do not have to turn the volume way up on one track, only to be surprised by a blast of loud music on the next track. Mixing and mastering give your music the balance it needs.
3. Mixing and Mastering Brings a Whole New Dimension to the Table
Imagine you see a drawing of a beach ball. It is just a circular line on a flat piece of paper. And then imagine holding a beach ball in your hand. It isn't flat anymore - it has a shape, which you can see and feel. That is what mixing and mastering does to your music. As your sound engineer adds clarity, reverb, and other (good) distortions, your music will open up like it never has before. Also, before you think, "My recording has enough musicality. It has shape without any engineering!" just remember #1. If you are a live performer, who hangs out in bars and city squares, of course your music has enough shape. But that is an entirely different genre of music.
Being a recording artist isn't like playing live. It is a whole different animal. So trying to use the same techniques a live artist would is like trying to play football in a baseball stadium or play soccer on a hockey rink. Getting your music mixed and mastered doesn't mean your music isn't good. It means that you are committed to making your music the best it can be.
4. You Want Your Music to Sound Good Anywhere, Right?
Have you ever listened to something on your computer speakers and thought it sounded great...only to blast the same song through your car's sound system and realized it really wasn't as good as you thought? Or have you ever listened to something through earbuds and cringed because it really didn't sound like it does on the radio? If you are hoping to promote your music at all, it will end up being played on all kinds of different devices and sound systems.
Remember, your unmixed track may sound really good to you, as you listen with your high-quality headphones. But when you want to show it off, your friend's phone speaker may not do it any favors. Getting your music mixed and mastered prepares the tracks to sound good anywhere they go. It will give your music to flair it needs to be awesome, from a laptop or from a DJ's speaker system. This is absolutely crucial for any music that you want to sell. Who knows where it will end up going?
Learn More About Mixing and Mastering
Thankfully, you do not have to worry about mixing and mastering on your own. Once all the tracks are recorded, you've done your job. Take a break, grab a coffee and a snack, and put the rest of it into capable hands. If you are in need of an excellent sound engineer, consider Mike's Mix & Master LLC. If you have any further questions or would like to set up an appointment, please contact me.