10 Good Things to Know When Recording
Your Independent CD
1. Include some
variety in your
production. If every track is bursting with
instruments, solos and vocals, try a simple accompaniment
of only one instrument. If the CD consists mostly of
simple tracks, try adding a live drummer, horn or percussionist
for extra color and pop.
2.Try to include a
live instrument or two if your production
consists mostly of synthesized and sampled sounds. Keyboards
don’t have the variance of pitch, timing and sound
complexity that acoustic sounds have, so the result
can be a smaller, closed-in type of aural space. Just
a few real-time performances can breathe a lot of life
into a track.
3. When recording your
make sure your microphone is of the
very highest quality. It is the most crucial part of
the recording chain, and no fx or equalizing can make
up for a poorly recorded vocal. If you find that popping
your t’s and p’s is a problem (even with
a pop filter), raise or lower the mic just a little
bit to avoid singing directly into the capsule.
4. If you are working with
of the voices and instruments during mixing, it’s
always a good idea to “subtract first.”
Find the frequency band that sounds
indistinct or “muddy” and lower the gain.
Remember that an instrument that sounds great when heard
on solo might not sound as good when all the other tracks
5. Always create a instrumental-only
After the mix is completed, turn off the lead vocal
and record the instrumental track only. You never know
when this track will come in handy. Perhaps it could
be used for lip-syncing, or maybe some (or part) of
the track could find another life in a different context,
like background music, a jingle, or source music for
film or TV.
6.Make sure your
is working to maximize the impact you
want your music to have. Arranging the order of your
songs is a minor art
form of it’s own! Because most people listen to
CDs from the beginning, make sure your first three songs
among the strongest you have. Avoid successive songs
in the same key or tempo. Songs in keys that are only
a step or half step apart can sound discordant. You
can change the order even after mixing and mastering
is complete. Try getting a dub with different sequences
and “live with it” for awhile.
7.Don’t skip the mastering
step. By adjusting songs levels and tweaking
EQ, mastering could improve your project 10 to 15%.
It’s a good idea to find outside people who specialize
in mastering, as they will have fresh ears on the project
and are used to thinking about a CD as a whole.
8. Make sure your CD’s
look professional. This is the main clue that
consumers get about the time, care and passion you put
into your project.
And, if you are going to charge as much money as the
big kids, make sure it looks like money. Also, be sure
to include the bar code, as many retail stores will
insist on this.
9. When arranging your
know the difference between reproduction
and replication. Reproduction is duplicating
your master CD onto a pre-existing disc in the same
general way as you do on your home PC. It is the quick
and affordable choice for small runs (under 1000 copies),
but sometimes has a higher failure rate than replication.
Replication involvesa glass master and produces
the same type of CD you’ll find at your record
10. Don’t forget to
There is nothing like the stimulation and
inspiration of expanding your audience and getting your
music heard. Give
your audience a chance to buy your music and learn more
about you online.
Offer your CD at your website and with web music stores
like CD Baby. For promotion, it’s the best deal
us at (805) 506-9252 for more information