Doing it all yourself

Doing it all yourself
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This reminds me of an experience I had back in 2011.

A few years ago, I met a guy who had a really nice and very expensive studio, with a huge mixing console and all the high end goodies that impresses clients. He invited me to check out his studio and talked at length about his “credentials”. He told me he could do remixes and remasters of my stuff and that he would take it to a whole new level…Well he indeed did that…He took my music to a whole new level of SHIT! He compressed the hell out of everything. The music sounded like mush. I was shocked that he would think that I would find his mix and remaster even somewhat acceptable. Fortunately I didn’t pay him a penny because I asked him to give me a sample before I would decide if I wanted to use his services. I’ve had enough experience in this industry to never believe all the big talking flakes in this business. Always request a free sample of your remix and remaster, even if they just remix and/or remaster a small snippet of your song.



The song is much more important and valuable. As long as the mix, production is half decent, you’re 95% of the way to your destination.


I see it more from being a Dad and my kids band, my own decades of DIY was from the dark ages…but for his choice we hit that crossroad of having “someone else do it” or “buy the DIY” and went with the “pay someone else.” It worked out better and after trying a few mix engineers, studios and samples of one song, the vibe of who to work with, what music genre and all that was done in a few months and then one Mix/studio and Tracking studio was chosen the band could do their music and the Dude did all the work.
It was imo, the best decision ever…especially after seeing myself and others struggle as you describe in pumping out low level stuff and not being able to have fun with just doing the music and songs.

I think my sons done 3 CDs now, probably spent $1200, $3000 (28 songs) and the $800 (8songs)…and its all worked really well. Even with all that it took about a year to get it all done. Then he makes his money back pretty quickly selling it and merch at gigs…plus its what he does while others go hunting and fishing and painting etc…

Mixing to me is the need for someone else. Tracking can be done easier in DIY land but mixing requires other ears and other skills and the room and monitors and someone who can just get it done.

Mastering is less…imo…Sgt Pepper didnt even have mastering done, mastering could add some nice polish but imo…Mixing is well worth some $$$$ and especially for someone like yourself who ":works on a pc all day and doesnt like mixing. "

I would recommend you take one song…spend some money having a few Mix Eng do it…find one that fits your workflow etc…and learn from all that…and have more fun.



Thank you for sharing! Here’s my personal take:

Nine years ago, I was writing my own songs in high school but had no idea what to do with my songs & didn’t know anyone who could help me. In my heart, I felt the need to BECOME the person I knew I needed by studying recording and mixing. As of today, I am now a recording & mixing engineer, and that just so happens to be what I want to do in life.

In your situation, I would like to offer this advice:

1.) Engineers are supposed to help you take your vision and bring it to life. Perhaps the relationship you had with that engineer, despite the engineer’s skillset, was not quite the best.

2.) Perhaps it would be easier to help your music become just as you envision if you learned the fundamentals of recording and mixing. You don’t necessarily need to learn everything that the engineers you know have learned, I’m just saying that if you learn a little bit of the language, it might be easier to communicate between you and the next engineer you meet. For example, the lead singer of the band that I’m recording makes it SO much easier to record when he asks if he can hop on the DAW & adjust the presets on the plugins I have for the lead vocals. He understood what some knobs did, and I agreed to let him drive because I wanted to hear what he has in mind.

Long story short, if you learn enough of the language, it’ll be easier to communicate with the folks who have the expertise to help your music come alive.

Best of luck!


@StylesBitchley sums it up pretty well. Production is important but is not as critical as many think (and I say that as a producer myself). It is always song and artist before technology. Plenty of successful songs out there with boomy guitar, terrible micing, hazardous EQ work or literally 0 production work but are loved and have millions and millions of hits.
It really comes down to what your focus is. Take any production advice with a grain of salt, its not always cool to lather your sound with some high tech production with crystal clear perfectly mastered vocals just because everyone else is doing it. Find the sound that moves you and find the sound that moves your fans


There will always be someone hundred times or more talented, when you find that person, there will be person even more talented than them. That is a dangerous game to go down that road. I have been there myself, till I bounced back and found my micro niche and it does well for me.

lots of hearts to you! I love your work


This micro niche thing has become a big deal. It seems to work from what I can tell. In a world where there are so many indie artists now looking for fans and attention, the micro niche things seems to work well to cement a fan base. It might apply to mixing and mastering too, specific styles with a unique goal.

Really, I think those have been around a long time, as the great artists have pursued their own individuality with nobody else to compare to. Paul Simon, Sting, Jethro Tull (!), each had their own special thing that nobody else could really emulate during their heyday. Jethro Tull had the distinction of the Pied Piper of Rock ‘n’ Roll simply because no other Rock band used a flute! That’s a micro niche if I ever saw one!

The urge to compare ourselves to someone else seems to happen naturally, even if it’s to our heroes and not our peers, but it’s a manifestation of “The Inner Critic” and the “Perfectionist”. I do think it is very important to liberate ourselves from those archetypes.


Thanks Cristina for taking this to the next level. I had so many doubts about little ole me trying to compete. So many great thoughts you have generated here.



I am super late to this thread, but thought I’d chime in (since I quite like the song thats up in the mixing competition :slight_smile: ).

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned - shop around for producers/mix engineers.
Try and get in touch with the guys who engineered music you like. Or browse forums such as this for mixes you like, or just people you like! I think 50% of it is being able to communicate what kind of sound/feel you are after and the engineer being like-minded enough to interpret it well.
You’ll probably get better results from a ‘so-so’ engineer who you can talk freely with than an ace engineer who you hate or don’t know.

Now you’ve got that song for the competition you have a free evaluation of mix engineers :smiley:

In my little duo, we do it all ourselves, I love it! Although I love just playing and writing more. My tips for doing it yourself in that situation are:

  • Always have you microphone setup and ready to go, so you can just pull it out, stick it in front of yourself and play. Soon you’ll get into the swing of just recording everything you do
  • Don’t worry about ‘producing’ or ‘engineering’. A good song is a good song is a good song. One of my favourite artists is Sufjan Stevens and he does it all himself. His latest record Carrie & Lowell is easily one of the best of the past 2 years. Technically however, it is turd. There is noise all over it! Yet it sounds absolutely incredible. A good arrangement is 100x more important than good mic position and a good song is 100x more important again.
  • Try limiting yourself so there is no temptation to attempt to do lots of stuff ‘in the box’. Try recording to a portastudio or something :D. Do stuff that forces you to actually write and perform the song well so you have less to do after the fact.


Ok, lot of interesting thoughts here.
Many thanks for all your comments everyone!

Here is my two cents:

  • when I read the intro from Cristina, I was thinking of George Martin’s documentary Soundbreaking that talks about production, history of recording, of music industry and gives many examples in many genres.
    I think it would worse the watch since it could give ideas (why not?) and what is the real think behind the music.
  • as one of your song was given to some people here to play with, you may have other ideas about what people could do with It. Mixing, producing, different ambiances and behaviours, it gives you a nice example of what some of us call “mix a song” (regarding the contest’s constraints).
    Maybe you really don’t like what you listened to, maybe you would fine some works just fine, maybe some of them are stunning… Maybe someone here is that person you’re looking for, or maybe not and they all do their thing without respecting the initial tought…
    But I think it gives you extra experience on the topic of that thread.

I hope it could help.
By the way, it would be interesting to get a feedback on that topic and how you progress on that thing.

Good luck with your music and have fun!


My Dad actually recommended this series to me a while back. After hearing a second recommendation from you I just checked it out today and watched the first episode. I loved it! Really interesting stuff.


Fun stuff about Soundbreaking is there are two versions of it:

Actually, I watched the last one and just discover the other one. And it seems that there aren’t that close.
So I gonna watch the UK/US release to know it says :slight_smile:


Your story sounds familiar.
I am aboard that boat myself but I am the only one here paddling.
Everything from creation to mix and master onto cover art, promotion, social media etc. as the list seems to never end, lol.
It is exhausting. It is why I have streamlined from multiple platforms and medias down to a few to concentrate on quality instead of quantity.
If only I could find my twin who had a passion and a knack for production as well as know inherently what I would want as well as could live with, oh what a joyous day that would be, lol


“Send in the Clones…” :musical_score: