Many of my friends and family have wondered why it took me so long to produce the tracks that I have.  Well, there's a good reason for it.  It's not just about getting the right tune.  It's about getting the right mix and the perfect sound that will play well on any system.

We live in a day and age where anything is possible in terms of generating good quality sound.  But that has it's disadvantages too.  For example, even with a relatively inexpensive equipment setup and audio mixing and mastering software (DAWs and sequencers, etc.), you can have a million options to adjust things.  Even though this stuff is readily available to artists just starting out, there is just an endless array of things to learn and adjust in an audio recording for that perfect sound.  Unfortunately, with all the technical details, an artist can often get bogged down with too much sound engineering to learn rather than spend time on capturing their art.  Even just getting all your recording equipment and instruments to reliably fire-up is a feat in and of itself.  It has taken me months (during my evenings) to get good with this.

That said, I warn everyone who gets into this task of recording and producing your own audio masterpieces that getting the audio quality right is not going to be easy.  So in terms of mixing and mastering, how can you do this on your own without spending a fortune on hiring a studio or sound engineer?  Well,  I have discovered that for every version of the song you cut, you will need to hear it on (and adjust it for) almost every kind of playing device on which you will listen.  That means that your instruments will need to be volume adjusted and EQ'd for each track.  This is a super tedious process compounded by the fact that you will need to listen to different versions of each of your tracks on several kinds of monitors, speakers, headphones, and audio systems before you get it right.  I probably burned at least 100 CD-Rs just testing out different "equalizations" and mixes of my tracks on different equipment.

So how did I find the fastest way to get to a final mix?  It turns out that I was able to arrive at some well-adjusted mixes where all the levels were pretty good by acquiring several sets of headphones - some expensive ones and some cheap ones.  Once I came to a happy medium of good levels on these, I tried out the final adjusted tracks on various sound systems - especially in different cars.  That's where I do most of my daily listening anyway.  I even tried out the tracks on my smartphone monaural speaker to see if I captured the essence of each tune within a limited bandwidth.  Needless to say, the stuff sounded terrible but at least you could readily identify it even on a smartphone.  I found that if I could strike a good mix on the spread of headphones, the big sound systems were pretty good to follow suit.  The real key to it was coming to terms with the fact that many people will likely listen to this music on headphones or in cars rather than the beautiful hi-fi systems we grew up with.  The icing on the cake was the fact that I finally got to listen to my final tracks on my mom's home system (the beautiful one I was raised on) and everything sounded great.  Total sweetness.

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