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3 Underestimated Tools That Will Ramp Up Your Home Productions


The music industry has a plethora of home production tools. And most people know the big ones, like Pro Tools, acoustic panels, and the Shure SM58.

But there are three tools that, I think, are highly underestimated. Three tools that will make your home productions surprisingly better.

Modern Tools Have Changed The Game

Modern technology has come so far over the past 50, even 20 years. You can now record a professional-sounding song on your smartphone.

Even the higher-tech tools are more affordable and easier to use. Laptops, audio interfaces, microphones — they’re all simpler and more accessible.

There are plenty of tools out there to help you be a better home producer, but there are three specific tools I’ve used that I want to share.

3 Underestimated Home Production Tools

Now let’s talk about three underestimated tools that any home producer can benefit from. I’ve used a version of all three and can attest to their awesomeness.

Regroover

Regroover is a revolutionary piece of software. It splits drum loops into its separate stems with each stem being a different part of the beat.

So, for example, you can separate the kick from the snare from the high-hat. Then you have those parts in different files that you can manipulate, sample, and move around.

Technically, you could do this with any audio file and the program will split it up somehow. I’ve only tested it on drum loops, but theoretically, you could input an entire song and see how it gets divided.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities.

If you hear a drum beat you like, you can have it. Just drop that song into Regroover and extract the beat.

If you hear a snare rhythm you want in your own song, just use Regroover.

Even if you hear a cool synth sound or guitar part, put the song through Regroover and see if you can isolate that sound.

Ozone 9

Mastering is the final stage of the production process. It takes your fully produced, edited, and mixed track and polishes it up, making it sound radio-ready.

And iZotope’s Ozone 9 is software that guides you through mastering your tracks.

It comes with mastering presets, but you can also adjust the settings to your own liking. You have access to settings and tools like rebalance, low-end focus, imagers, stereoizer, EQ, and so much more.

Whether you want something that basically masters your song for you or if you want to learn the ropes of mastering, Ozone 9 is a great option.

The reason it’s a good alternative to professional mastering is the cost. The cost of hiring a mastering engineer can be too expensive for some indie musicians. Yes, a good engineer could probably do it better than a rookie with a nice piece of software.

But it’s a solid option for musicians who can’t afford to pay $100 every time they want a song mastered.

Thrift store recording equipment

This one is the most underestimated tool available to home producers. If you know what to look for, you can find some recording equipment treasures at thrift stores.

I bought an Electro-Voice ND257, which some engineers compare to the industry-standard Shure SM58, at a Goodwill. I saw it on a karaoke machine, unplugged it, and took it to the register. I also found a Realistic Radio Shack 33-1070c omnidirectional microphone at a Goodwill, which is not a bad mic.

Over the years, I’ve seen audio interfaces, mic preamps, acoustic and electric guitars, and not-half-bad monitors at thrift stores.

Just because it’s a low-cost, used piece of equipment doesn’t mean it’s unusable. And you can test the equipment before you buy it — if there aren’t any outlets readily available, just tell an employee you’d like to try before you buy.

Which Tool To Start With

I would suggest starting with the last tool on this list: thrift store equipment. It’s the cheapest of the three — Regroover and Ozone 9 are both at least $100. Plus, I find it fun to look through other people’s disregarded toys, especially when I find something exciting.

It’s like digging for gold, but really affordable gold.

Regardless of the tool you choose to start with, you’ll probably find your home productions are more fun to create.

– – –

Caleb J. Murphy is a singer-songwriter and music producer based in Austin, Tx., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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