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How do I begin learning how to mix/master?

Chris82Chris82 2.0 PRO Posts: 594
Until now I haven't put much effort into my recordings because they are all just for practice and not intended to get max listens. For the most part I still just record most of my songs with smule on my iphone mic (even though I bought a decent condenser mic and built a booth). I think mainly just because it's easier for me to record on my phone. That's all fine and dandy if you're not trying to produce a professional product.

I think however I want to start to get into producing more professional recordings and see how many listens I can get up to but I don't know the first thing about any of this recording/mixing/mastering stuff and don't even know where to begin. Is there a course or channel or something anyone can recommend for someone wanting to learn the science/art of recording/producing vocals for a pro product?


  • bonvie56bonvie56 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 55
    Hi Chris,
    I'm no expert at this stuff, its just a hobby for me. That in itself limits what I can justify spending for recording...so what I offer you is just what has been working for me.... on a hobby budget:
    There are courses out there on line and otherwise, but I purchased Bobby Owinski's books, there are three...The Recording Engineers Handbook, The Mixing Engineers Handbook and the Mastering Engineers Handbook. (These are used as texts in some of those courses) They were on a website named after a large South American Jungle. Those are handy and they've been all marked up with highlighters, pencil markings and paper tabs.
    There are also a bunch of recording/mixing channels and I've subscribed to several, but because I choose to use a free DAW (Cakewalk by Bandlab), I most often go back to the ones that have a lot of content related to that specific DAW. Not only is it free, but there a literally hundreds of free VST plugins available for it. Creative Sauce is the channel that I go back to over and over for help with the whole process. But there are other really good ones too!
    For a recording interface I went with a 12 channel board, the SoundCraft Signature 12, which I was able to pick up used for under $300. Microphones were also purchased used. Cables tend to be troublesome, so I bought new ones. So my total expenditure to be able to record, mix and master is right around $600 total, excluding the PC, which is used for many other purposes other than the music hobby...so I had it to begin with. It is just a Dell laptop running Windows 10 and it seems to handle everything just fine.
    I hope this helps you. It is like opening a whole new can of worms, because the more I learn about this stuff, the more apparent it becomes that I really know very little. But it is a lot of fun (and occasionally frustrating) to figure out, and passes many a long, cold winter night! BTW, the users manual for Cakewalk is over 1700 pages long!!!! But it is easy to navigate.
    Have a Happy New Year Chris!
  • Klaus_TKlaus_T Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 2,360
    edited January 2020
    check out Warren Huart on YT. he also has some sort of "academy" you could do, but his free vids are pretty good as well. I only know the free stuff myself
  • jonbouriaquejonbouriaque 2.0 PRO Posts: 23
    DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) vendors also have really good YT videos about how to use their products. While learning to use their products, you'll also learn the basics about mixing and mastering. So, even if you don't own/use their DAW, you can still learn a lot about the basics of mixing and mastering. For example: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7WUeriUrgp0QI9R61RWz0w. Subscribe to their channel, watch their videos. You'll learn tons and its all free (of course they advertise their products)...
  • Furious_PhilFurious_Phil Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,421
    The first step is to do your research and choose your DAW.
    Then start assembling you basic studio hardware.
    From there, you can research the fundamentals for it all on YouTube.
    Once you have the operational fundamentals down, you can start to expand on your sonic vocabulary.
    Learn how to mix, learn how to EQ, learn about onboard effects.
    Learn about re-amping for your guitars etc
    Once you can produce a decent shotgun mix of a song, then you can work towards higher level mixing, and then finally mastering.
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    Reaper makes a great free DAW. Good place to start so you don’t have to invest money in to software
  • DogMeatDogMeat 2.0 PRO Posts: 437

    Reaper makes a great free DAW. Good place to start so you don’t have to invest money in to software

    Reaper is not free, but almost free :smile:
    It's a really good option for PC, and if you prefer mac then consider Logic. Youtube is full of material on the topics. Good to learn by seeing the magic happening.
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,287
    Lol your right. I forgot. I’ve had it for a long time. I think it’s 35$ but it has an eval version that’s free and has a very long eval time period but your right I stand corrected
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