Are You Telling Yourself These 10 Audio Production Lies?

audio production lies

There are so many things we engineers say to ourselves about our audio production that simply aren’t true.

We’re trying to justify some shortcoming we have, and we usually end up lying to ourselves instead of fixing the situation.

Lie #1 – I Don’t Need Acoustic Treatment

Yes, you do. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you really do.

Do you tell yourself, “I don’t need acoustic treatment because I mix at such low levels?”

Well, lower levels help keep the reflections away to a certain extent, but what about the times you want to crank up your mix to see how it really sounds?

Yeah, that’s right. Your walls will come crashing down with all that flutter echo, your mix won’t sound even and your bass response will suck.

That’s why bass trapping and absorption is so important. You need to tame the lower frequencies and reduce the reflections.

Lie #2 – I’ll Fix it in the Mix

No you won’t. Especially if your source sounds terrible to begin with. You can only mix a bad recording up to a certain level. It will always sort of sound mediocre. Great source sounds and recordings will only result in better mixes. Fix it at the source and get it great from the start.

Lie #3 – Compression Can Fix This

If you look at compression like some miracle cure for a wimpy kick drum sound or an un-even bass guitar, you’re mistaken. Compression can’t really fix anything. It can make things sound better, punchier and more tame. It won’t fix an already broken recording. Compression can’t fix it, but it can make something cool even cooler.

Lie #4 – Nobody will notice this Edit

Yeah, they will. Especially if it’s a misplaced drum hit, or an off-tempo chord strum. Music loving people will notice when something is wrong with the music. They’ll notice your bad edits.

Lie #5 – It’s Probably in Tune

Probably is not enough. You have to be absolutely sure it’s in tune. Just try recording a guitar part over a slightly out-of-tune bass guitar. It’ll sound terrible, trust me. Make sure your instruments are in tune.

Lie #6 – We Won’t Go Over the Budget

You probably will. That’s why budgets are estimates. They usually don’t hold in the long run. Also, if you underestimate the amount of time needed on a specific instrument, you will most certainly run out of time, and over budget.

Lie #7 – Reverb Will Make Everything Sound Bigger

Big reverbs can certainly make things sound big, but they can also clutter everything up. Interestingly enough, shorter reverbs or delays make things sound bigger, not the other way around. Big reverbs have their place, but don’t think it’s the only way to make your mix bigger.

Lie #8 – Louder is Better

No. Just no. If everybody is screaming at you at the same time, you won’t listen to anybody. Don’t try to make the loudest record of all time. Have faith in your audience. They will turn up your music if they want it loud.

Lie #9 – An Hour is Enough to Edit Drums

Tedious tasks like editing can take forever. Don’t allocate an unrealistic timeframe to a task you know is going to take longer. Drum editing ALWAYS takes longer than you think.

Lie #10 – Better Gear Will Make My Recordings Better

Finally, better gear will NOT make your recordings better. Your skills make your recordings better. Don’t think a better EQ will make your EQ’ing skills better.

And also, The Ultimate EQ Guide makes your EQ’ing better.

Image by: teotwawki

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  • Vlad

    So basically, “you suck! Stop making excuses and stop sucking!”

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Haha, that’s one way to put it. Not the way I would but to each his own 😉