Nowadays it doesn’t cost the earth to build a decent enough home-recording setup. This can only be good news. It means that more and more musicians and producers are able to get their name out. However, if bedroom producers want their recordings to stand up in the big bad world, they need to sound awesome - and that can be a lot harder to achieve than we anticipate.
Over the past couple of decades we’ve seen a big rise in the amount of intermediate home-recording setups. But there’s a catch. With the internet and social media, more music is being listened to than ever before. Really, really good music.
Whereas before listeners might have made an exception for quality of recordings/mixes for rising stars, that’s not the case anymore. “Pro” is the norm now. If something doesn’t sound pro, they won’t even give it the time of day. So if you can’t get a pro sounding finished product out of your bedroom studio then all that time and money you’ve invested in your setup is effectively wasted.
Tonnes of bedroom producers end up racking their brains trying to figure out why their recordings just don’t sound pro. Here are some of the main reasons, and what you can do to counteract them.
You take too little care over the recordings
What’s the old adage - you can’t polish a turd? So why exactly would you be able to polish an average recording? One of the main reasons that bedroom producers can’t get a good sound is because they don’t pay attention to the recordings themselves. Bear in mind that while recording in a home studio is convenient, it can also be difficult to get the right sound to record in regards to positioning, instruments, mic placement etc. Purchasing a reflection filter or the careful positioning of blankets and duvets can help tame a lively room, the key here is to use your ears - move the microphone around the source until you find the "sweet spot" and then hit record!
You invest in the wrong things
Hobbyists and inexperienced bedroom producers spend too much time looking at what they are working with when really they should be looking at what they are working on. For example, you might have spent money on a deluge of plugins and tools, when really that money should be invested in educating yourself on how to best use what you already have - and then actually using it. We will soon be starting a series of tutorial videos to help you get the best out of some of the most basic production tools.
You lack experience and expertise
If this article were called “one singular reason why recordings from your bedroom studio don’t sound pro”, this would be it. In order to sound good you need to learn. And with music production, there is A LOT to learn. It is a steep curve, and only the best and most dedicated make it to the top. In order to build your expertise and make your recordings sound better, you need to first acknowledge your weaknesses and continually be learning.
If after your research you decide that you’re happy with your recording but you want an expert with access to cutting edge and vintage hardware to take on mixing and/or mastering for you, contact us through our website. We can offer package deals and tailor our services to fit budgets of all sizes.
You spend too much time on tracks
One of the things that happens with a lack of expertise is spending too much time on a track and deafening yourself to it. Bear in mind that the best engineers hardly ever spend more than a day mixing a track - the average is two per day. Obviously you might not be world-class engineer, and that’s fine, but spend too long on one track and you’ll probably end up ruining it.
Your monitoring isn’t accurate
You can’t make anything sound good if you don’t actually know what it sounds like. Inacurate monitoring accounts for a great deal of sound issues. The last thing you want is to play your track outside the studio and be filled with dread as it falls apart. The level of quality in monitoring at all price levels is very high these days, but the most important thing is to make sure your monitors are placed correctly in your room. A classic mistake people make is buying monitors that are too big for there room. Yes, you may want to feel the bass like you are in a club, but monitors aren't supposed to deliver the same experience as hi-fi speakers. A smaller room will accentuate the lower frequencies and a smaller woofer will give you a flatter frequency response, it is important to remember that if your monitoring set up is bass heavy then your mixes will be bass light when you take them out of the studio!