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Wave is an uncompressed or lossless format, whereas MP3 is compressed or lossy. Technically .wav is just a container format and can hold various types of compressed or uncompressed audio, but typically you'll see it containing LPCM uncompressed audio (the same as on audio CDs). With .wav files, you are essentially getting a raw bitstream representation of ...


31

'Gain' just means 'amount of amplification'. It can be applied at various stages in the signal chain between musical source and final playback. The topic we're talking about is called 'Gain staging'. It basically means that at EVERY point where amplification takes place we should strive to keep the signal above the noise floor but below the overload level....


28

One of the most common pieces of advice I hear about this is to take breaks. You're right that in some situations (extremely tight deadlines, for example) this may not be practical, but in reality, it's the best way to achieve the results you hope for. Listening fatigue is a real thing, and the phenomenon you describe, coming back to a song you liked only ...


27

when I'm picking a "bass" can I choose any instrument..? Yes, you can. However, you might find that not all instruments work well to your ears as 'bass' instruments. When you see 'bass' in a synth patch name, it usually doesn't only refer to the instrument being low - because, as you say, you can usually play low notes with any sound in a synth. ...


16

What you are trying to achieve is not a trivial task. If you want a good master it'll take more than some tips. I'll try to do some quick observations on some possibilities. There's nothing specific to Ableton Live, because there's nothing exclusive to Ableton Live in this subject. You want more loudness in your track. As you might know we can't just turn ...


16

Quick answer - try running your output through a compressor. Long answer - work on your composing, arranging and recording skills. Get years of experience. Then try running your output through a compressor.


16

Taking breaks has been mentioned, and is obviously a good idea! Other ideas: A change is as good as a rest: work an a different project for a while, and come back to the first one listen to other music in a similar style - or even a different style - to get your bearings again, and tune yourself back in to what's normal listen on different systems, and ...


15

In amplification jargon, all volume changes are described by the term "gain", where gain is the ratio of the input and output signals. In a lot of modern amplifier design, there are effectively 2 separate "gain stages" where signal amplification is performed: the input, or "preamp" stage, and the output or "power" stage. The input stage amplifies the ...


14

Well this is a big question, so let me start with a big answer: http://www.amazon.com/Mixing-Secrets-Small-Studio-Senior/dp/0240815807/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426508544&sr=1-1&keywords=mixing+secrets Now for the smaller answer more approriate to this format. A good mix starts with the arrangement before you even record. If the ...


14

The only thing that matters is if the sample sounds good. You have to listen to it and decide whether you want to use it. No numbers or waveforms or analysis programs are going to tell you whether the sound is good. But be aware a sample that sounds good by itself might not sound good in a mix, and other sounds that work well in context might sound bad when ...


13

The executive summary of Charles' very detailed answer is: Use WAV for recording and editing. Use your audio editor's native file format with references to the WAV files to keep disk space under control use MP3 for distribution. 44.1 and 160kbps is lots, unless your audience has a home stereo that is worth more than their car and ears to match.


13

Making everything audible in the mix is not always possible. Elements that share frequencies will mask each other. The most crucial part of the mix is not actually in the mixing phase itself, but in the composition, instrumentation, and arrangement phase. Experienced composers will give each element its space in the frequency spectrum, so there is little to ...


13

What you're asking is similar to "I want to write great software, but I'm not a programmer and have no knowledge of computer science or programming or anything like that. Will I be able to write great software if I just get the right IDE?" I'm a programmer too; take it from me: YES theory is extremely important for what you want. Given that you are a ...


12

This has been a raging debate for the past 30 years or so. There has been a healthy competition between the two platforms in an effort to corner a large segment of the market share. In the beginning, Macs targeted the creative artsy types and the platform had features and benefits specifically geared to favor musicians and photographers and graphic ...


11

It depends on what kind of environment you want to reproduce, but there are two main factors that lead the brain to think a sound is coming from farther away: As sound travels through the air, it loses energy, but not evenly across all frequencies. High frequencies are attenuated (become quieter) more quickly than low frequencies. So when we hear a sound ...


10

Always remember one thing: the sound that you hear depends on the device you are getting the output through. As you say, you like the sound through your amp but not from the software, this is because you probably use the same settings on your pedalboard when you plug it into the interface as you do when you plug it into the amp. You need to check the output ...


10

MilkyTracker is just a tool, and like any tool, the quality of the tool is less important than the skill and knowledge of the person using it. You could give a carpenter terrible, rusty old tools and they would make something far better than I could even with the very best tools available. These things take a lot of practice to get good at, but everyone ...


10

Simple as that. Bass refers to the range of the instrument, so electronically, turn a piccolo into a bass if you want. It's much harder with fish, though. Turning a salmon into a bass doesn't seem to work as well...


10

[are there] any guidelines as far as recording a mechanical instrument versus using a midi controller or synth? No, only pros and cons. It all depends on what you want the finished product to sound like, and what instruments and equipment you have available to you. Are there any benefits to recording a real instrument [eg piano]? Assuming you have an ...


9

I'm happy to hear you're brave enough to start producing music with no musical background but being a passionate listener. You don't need a lot of money to do great sounds but in the beginning having a sample pack, great VST plugins and full version of a DAW does speed up the process of learning. ~300€ for the software and samples will do fine for more than ...


9

Electrical engineer here. Gain is the ratio of the output signal magnitude to the input signal magnitude of an amplifier. In idealized circuits, as you turn the gain up, you increase this ratio and the signal's gain increases and it gets louder. Or you reduce the ratio and it gets softer. No distortion occurs. However, in the real world, even well-designed ...


9

Assuming your question is dealing with pre-recorded tracks that aren't already into your clipping range and you are having problems with the main output being too loud when you mix: No, when dealing with high signal levels a clipper is going to create distortion. A clipper can be used pre limiter/compressor. Here's a good explanation: clipping vs limiting ...


9

You like your mix because your DAW and soundcard have headroom. You can go past the nominal 0dBFS and still have it work, because of headroom in the software and electronics. A CD or MP3 has no headroom, so it will clip if you go past 0dB. Clipping sounds "broken" and is absolutely unacceptable on your master mix. The result is that however much you like ...


8

Other than plagiarism, if you're creating your own music, "cheating" really doesn't matter. Sure.. I think effects, like pitch & rhythm correction, are all bad substitutes for being a great musician. But there aren't any "music cops" making sure you don't use those tools. One exception is if you're recording for an audition. Then any post-...


8

The real instrument will sound more real, but as you note, there are many challenges to recording acoustic instruments or anything with a microphone that are completely bypassed when using a virtual instrument plugin. With a plugin, you don't have to have an audio interface, microphone or cables. You don't have to have an actual acoustic instrument, which ...


7

Are there general rules or tips on how to organize VSTs? (...) I would like to know if there's a way to arrange VSTs properly, so that every plugin uses its full potential. There's no correct order. It's all about preference, what you want to achieve, and the context. You'll find a lot of suggestions, like putting time-based effects (like delay or reverb) ...


7

One simple "technique" can improve your solo recording drastically: whenever you start recording a song, begin with recording a guide track. This is a track where you sing the song, accompanied by a rhythm instrument such as an acoustic guitar or a piano. You don't need to play or sing everything right in this track, but it's important to get the rhythm ...


7

One thing that no one has mentioned yet (I think) is the audio driver. On Windows, to get multiple audio drivers you either need to use the windows driver, which in general doesn't work very well with DAWs, has more latency and limited multi-device options, or use ASIO4ALL which allows you to combine the inputs into one device and work with low-latency, at ...


7

Matthew has provided a great answer. I want to expand a bit and look at different aspects of your question to help with some misconceptions that might be causing trouble. I would take a professionally produced song with a similar set of instruments that my song uses (or genre) and compare the frequencies through the voxengo span vst... ...Even though the ...


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