Tracking, Mixing, and Mastering: The Breakup

The process of recording music has three steps these days.

  1. Tracking (or more simply put, recording the individual parts of the song),
  2. Mixing (making all of the adjustments, tweeks, and special effects after recording), and
  3. Mastering (Polishing up the final product).

As a producer of my own music, I often run into the temptation to get ahead of myself in these processes. I’ll hear a song I’m writing, and want to start mixing before I’m finished writing it. The next thing I know, I’ll have mastered the thing too. Big mistake! Maybe you’ve done it too.

Blending the Process is a Waste of Time

Blending these three steps slows down the entire process. Because once you start, you have to continuously keep tweeking all three steps to make adjustments for each edit you make. By the time you’re done, you will have mixed and mastered the song several times over. I find it a much bigger temptation to make this mistake when working on my own music, as opposed to someone else’s.

When I work on someone else’s music, it’s more straight forward. They can’t come into the studio every night and add a new part. Unfortunately, I can. And that’s where I get in trouble. Don’t get me wrong. It’s incredible to be able to work on your own music at your own pace. But when you sabotage your own music, less music is actually created and what does get finished comes out incredibly slow.

Exceptions to the Rule

Of course, there are times, when you are mixing down a track and you realize that you need to add a part. Go ahead and add it. Then take the rubber band on your wrist, pull it back, and release. This is a reminder that you didn’t do the first job correctly. Composing is the most important part of recording music. Without a great composition, you can’t proceed any further. We (I), need to get better at it. More time needs to be spent on composing, and less time on production!

Published by

Tim Bunch

Tim Bunch is a Web Developer from Boise, Idaho. As a web standards fanatic, he passionately pursues best practices. He also actively engages people on a wide range of topics in a variety of social media networks. Tim is also an avid Wordpress developer, music maker, coffee drinker, and child raiser. @timbunch

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