3 Tips for Using a Sidechain Compressor

Using a sidechain compressor is one of the best ways to get punchy, clear mixes. Sidechain compression can substitute for EQ, control

reverb, and help glue your mix together. 

In this article, I'll first briefly describe what compression is, then talk about how sidechain compression is different. From there, I'll show you three great examples of when to use sidechain compression.

If you'd prefer to hear audio examples, check out this video I made on sidechain compression.

What is Compression?

Before we get into discussing sidechain compression, I think it's worth spending a minute discussing regular old compression. A lot of people know that compression can be used to automatically lower the volume of track.

But most people fail to recognize the compression doesn't lower the volume uniformly.

Instead, compression lowers the volume of a sound at a certain point in time. You can almost think of it as an ADSR curve. 

By increasing the attack time of the compressor, you...

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6 Mixing Tips For DIY Musicians

It can be quite overwhelming when you start out mixing your own music. You don’t know where to start and it all sounds like a big mess, you thought it would be easier.

It takes time to learn how to mix well and the main casualty of this is that you can’t seem to finish any mixes. They all need something but you don’t know what and you feel stuck.

The following tips will help you to re-focus and keep you on track as you mix, eliminate overwhelm as you realize that you don’t need to know everything yet and that great mixes can be achieved using only the basic stock plugins that came with your DAW.

Note: this is a guest post by the wonderful BBC-trained mix engineer Sara Carter.

Keep things simple

When you’re starting out, It’s really easy to keep adding more and more plugins, not to say that is a bad thing but it is if you don’t know what you’re adding them for.

Quickly listen to each track both in solo and in the mix and ask yourself:

...
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Reason 11 in Logic Pro X - First Reason 11/Logic Beat!

Reason 11 in Logic Pro X now works! I'm really pleased at how smooth the integration is between the two pieces of software. The smooth workflow of Logic, coupled with all my favorite Reason sounds is a match made in heaven.

So I put together a demo of my first Reason 11 Logic beat. I'm really looking forward to continuing to use this combination to continue to create music.

Looking to level up your Reason game? It's time to learn Reason in an afternoon

Here’s my first track using Reason 11 as a plugin inside of Logic Pro X. It was so much fun to use the best of both worlds in creating a song hosted in Logic Pro X, but using Reason 11 as a plugin.

In my first beat using Logic and Reason, I used Logic's Drummer, Clavinet, and Electric Piano, mixed with Reason's Klang, Quartet, Audiomatic, Echo, and more!

What do you think? Will you use Reason 11 in Logic Pro X?

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How Long Does it Take to Write a Song?

 

A lot of people wonder how long does it take to write a song, and the answer might surprise you. A lot of the best songs a written in well under an hour. For example, Paul McCartney wrote Let it Be in his sleep.

Of course, plenty of songs take longer.

In this article I’m going to dig into the three songwriting scenarios - the instant hit, the slow slog, and the dumpster fire.

But a couple of quick thoughts.

First, a song means music and lyrics (i.e. it’s meant to be sung), and the lyric writing process is the longest part. Second, I’m not talking about writing every single instrument, but rather the chords, vocal melody, hook, and lyrics.

Struggling with songwriting? Check out this free guide with 40 Tips to Beat Songwriter’s Block.

How long does it take to write a song that’s an Instant Hit?

Sometimes everything just comes together.

The muses strike!

You’re walking down the street and a catchy melody and lyric just pop into...

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How to create your Professional Brand as an Artist

Hello Composers and Artists, Mike here. And in this article I want to share some of the most important aspects of branding, for your professional career in music.

First, who am I? Well, my name is Mike, and I am a composer, sound designer and artist like you! I am also the founder of professionalcomposers.com, and I have even worked with branding as one of my main roles in another business I was in a couple of years ago. 

But more importantly, I have personally learned and experienced the practical benefits of having a professional brand, both in business and in your own personal brand. And now I want to share some of the most important aspects of branding, for your professional career in music.

Create your Professional Brand

Let me start out blunt: your music can be of amazing quality, but if you neglect the business aspect of your career, you miss the biggest potential for your success. And the foundation of every business is...your brand!

And this means both your...

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5 Lessons to License Your Music Online

I’ve been seriously trying to license music online for about a year now. In the process of learning how to license stock music online this year, I’ve come up with five helpful tips I’d like to share.

This free video shows how to license your music online!

1. Don't Wait to Start Licensing Your Music - Start now!

I first heard about licensing stock music a couple of years ago. But like most things in life, I heard about it, I thought “huh, that’d be cool,” and promptly went on with my life.

Then, a year later I heard about it again. This time I actually signed up for a site (Audiojungle), and uploaded some songs. One of these royalty free songs was accepted, and even sold, netting me a cool $7.50.

I was ready for retirement.

Of course, Audiojungle also rejected a metric CRAP-TON of my songs. So I got frustrated and stopped trying to make royalty free music for a while.

About 6 months after that, April 2015, I finally...

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What is Royalty Free Music?

What is Royalty Free music? What’s Stock Music? What’s Production Music? What’s the difference?????

Aggggggggggggghhhh!

These terms can all be so confusing. It took me months to figure out what they each mean.

In fact, the terms royalty free music, stock music, and production music, mean the same thing (most of the time)!

But that’s not even the frustrating part!

Nope.

Because they’re often used incorrectly. Awesomesauce.

The difference between Royalty Free Music, Stock Music, and Production Music?

Ok, by now you’re probably thinking “WTF. This is absurd.”

And you’re right.

These, the terms are pretty much used interchangeably, and that’s how I use them on this site.

If you want more info, you can check out this video I made.

What is Royalty Free Music?

Typically, if someone writes a song, there are several different ways to make money.

The first type of right is called a mechanical royalty. It just means that whenever a...

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Should You License Your Music?

It took me a long time to convince myself that I should license my music. I struggled with a lot of issues.

  • Are my songs good enough?
  • Can I record a professional sounding track?
  • Am I a sell out?

Do these sound familiar?

So how did I finally convince myself that I should license my music?

Some people call this “imposter syndrome.” And the truth is that everyone suffers from it – even genuine pros. Just remember that everyone had to start somewhere!

How to Feel Confident in Your Songwriting

Well, first, I just kept writing songs. I wrote my first song more than 20 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that I’m an expert, or that I only write good songs, or that every (or most) songs I write are good.

What experience has given me is perspective. At least now I’ve written enough songs to know which ones are genuinely BAD. But because I’ve written enough songs, I’m not emotionally attached to these turds. I can let them rot on my hard drive...

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How to Mix Your Own Music - A Simple Hack to Improve Mixing

Everyone wants better mixes, but struggles with mixing music. Learning how to mix your own music is really challenging.

Better mixes take a lot of it skill, and learning how to mix music is a lifelong undertaking.

Some plugins and gear can help.

And more knowledge about how to mix music always help.

But the secret sauce to good mixing is process!

That’s right – you can have all the tips, tricks, gear, and plugins, but if your workflow sucks, your music mixes probably will too.

Sure, everyone is going to mix differently, with a different process. Some people like to use effects on the master bus. Some prefer to start mixing in mono (which you should definitely do at some point in your mix)!

Sometimes the choice of workflow is determined by the type of some you’re working on. For example, if a singer is really the star of the show, you may need to get her voice right first, before moving on. If it’s an EDM or Hip Hop song, you may need to start with the...

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How to License Your Music - Beginner’s Guide to Licensing Songs Online

Figuring out how to license your music is much easier than you think. It’s not a “get rich quick” or a road to instant fame, but if you keep at it, you will find success.

Up until a few years ago, I didn’t have a clue where to start or what to do. I had some vague notion along the lines of

  1. Record songs
  2. ?????
  3. Profit!

But once I figured out how to license my music, I've earned over $10,000, had placements on TV and Netflix, and just feel damn good about myself.

Don’t worry though, I’m here to show you what I’ve learned about selling royalty free music.

So let’s break out the steps of the process and build you a quick road map to get you started with stock music licensing.

These are the steps. We’ll dig into them in a moment.

  • Write your song
  • Record your song
  • Mix & Master your song
  • Upload and tag the song with keywords
  • Promote the song through social media and start selling songs!

That’s it! If you'd rather...

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How To Make Money as Musician by Pursuing Your Passion

This 5-day mini course will show you exactly how to launch a music licensing side hustle so that you can finally get paid for your music!