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How to Mix Piano - Epic Guide to Making Piano Plugins Sound Lifelike and Realistic

Piano is one of the most beautiful sounding instruments around, but it can be one of the most challenging instruments to mix. Mixing piano is tough because it has a large frequency range and dynamic range. To help you make make your piano sound lifelike and huge, I've put together these guide on how to mix piano.  

Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.

Consider The Context

Choosing which piano plugin to use, and how intensively to mix it, depends on the context of your music. The mixing techniques and plugin you're going to use for a solo classical piano performance are much more straightforward than for a modern neo-classical or pop song. 

This guide to mixing piano will teach you the most "extreme" settings. Use your ears and taste to figure out how much you should dial things back. The more instruments there are in the mix, the simpler the piano processing should be.

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Logic Live Loops and Reason 11 - What You Need to Know to Use the Reason Rack in Logic 10.5

Logic Pro X 10.5 added a ton of incredible new features to Logic, including Live Loops, a non linear sequencing tool. And Reason 11 (affiliate link) added the ability to use Reason as a plugin inside of other DAWs. Using Reason in Logic is pretty straightforward, although there are a few quirks that address in this blog - especially regarding how to record midi data from players.

But Logic's Live Loops add a few new wrinkles and twists to using the Reason plugin. The video below will walk you through the main ways of triggering Reason with Logic's Live Loops.

Using Dr. OctoRex with Logic Live Loops

First, you can directly drag Dr. OctoRex loop patterns into live loops and trigger the patterns directly through Logic Live Loops. To copy the Rex pattern data to the Live Loops, simply drag the music note into your desired Live Loop cell.

Then be sure to turn off "Enable Loop Playback" on the Doctor OctoRex, otherwise it will keep playing the loop,...

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How to Record Reason Plugin Player Midi Output in Logic Pro X

Reason 11 and Logic Pro X are a match made in heaven. They offer a very complimentary sound set and tools that really work well together. While getting them to work together is pretty straightforward,  I did encounter one confusing problem: recording midi data from Reason Players.

Thankfully I found an easy solution for you.

Reason Players are powerful midi sequencing tools that let you do thinks like easily create chords and arpeggios. Unfortunately, there's not a native way to record the data into Logic. First, you'll need to download the free plugin MidiFX Freeze.

Then create an instance of the Reason Player in Logic's Midi FX area, followed by an instance of MidiFX Freeze. After you've created your part, you need to open MidiFX Freeze. Then follow these steps:

  1. Hit the record button in the middle of MidiFX Freeze and play your song. When done hit stop and the recording will stop.
  2. You'll now see that a new icon that says Midi and has some musical notes
  3. Drag...
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Best Rhodes VST Plugins for All Budgets

A Rhodes Piano has one of the most distinctive sounds in music. From silky to sultry, soulful to psychedelic, Rhodes have been heard on countless hits. While there are many Rhodes VST plugins available, they aren’t created equal. The purpose of this article is to dive into the best Rhodes VST of all price points so you can decide for yourself which one is best for you!

A Brief History of Rhodes Pianos

The Rhodes piano invented by Harold Rhodes is an iconic electric piano used by many big name artists such as The Beatles, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, The Bee Gees and The Doors. The Fender Rhodes gained popularity in the 1970’s when it was mass produced after its sale to CBS Entertainment Group. Rhodes keyboards were extremely popular particularly in soul, pop and jazz music. However, the keyboard was utilized by artists across all genres.

With the advent of synthesizers, electric pianos became increasingly popular. And soon enough, people began emulating Rhodes pianos. As...

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Amazing New Free Valhalla Reverb Plugin - Supermassive! Quick Supermassive Tutorial and Demos

This amazing new plugin from Valhalla - Supermassive - creates incredible lush sounds somewhere between reverb and delay. It can also be used for chorusing, flanging and more.

This video provides a quick tutorial to create your own patches in Supernova and shows some demos of the Supernova presets. Now go download it for yourself!

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Understanding The Difference Between Samplers and Synths

What's the difference between samplers and synthesizers? If you're looking to make incredible music, you need to pick the right tool for the job. If you grab a synth instead of a sampler, you could be in for a cacophony of ugly sounds. This guide will quickly walk you through the major differences between the two, but if you want to go in-depth, and hear examples of the difference, be sure to watch the video below.

What is a Synthesizer?

At its most basic, a synthesizer generates its own waveform from an oscillator, and manipulates that waveform through filtering, amplitude envelopes, noise, modulation, and a host of other processing.

Sometimes these can be emulations of real analog synths, like D-16's Lush-101. But some synthesizers emulate real instruments. For example some of the best piano VSTs and Rhodes Piano plugins are synthesizers.

Even more exciting, synths allow you to sculpt unique sounds from thin air. Because they’re sound is being generated...

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Best Distortion Plugins & Saturation VSTs of 2020

Let’s face it, every musician wants to turn heads and maximize their creative expression with their sound. How do you achieve this in a way that doesn’t break the bank? Simple.

Distortion and saturation plugins!

Long story short, these plugins add frequencies in a certain way to make a track sound like it was recorded in a multimillion-dollar recording studio. In this article, you will learn about the best distortion and saturation plugins plus a few alternatives so you can take your music to the next level.

Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase.

Best Distortion Plugin – FabFilter Saturn

From warm and clean saturation to chaotic and extreme distortion, FabFilter Saturn delivers on both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between to elevate your music. Saturn has a slew of modulation options. For example, you can choose from over 150 ready-to-go killer presets or...

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The Best Piano VST Plugins of 2020 for All Budgets

Are you frustrated with trying to get a realistic sounding piano on your computer? Or are you just looking for the best sounding pianos out there? In this article I've highlighted the best overall piano plugin package, the best grand piano VST, the best free piano VST, as well as some cool alternatives like felt pianos.

In my opinion, a great virtual piano can be nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. Especially with the help of a few studio tricks and a good reverb to make your piano really sparkle and shine. In my opinion, Native Instrument's Komplete represents the best combination of quality, variety, and value. But there are a lot of great choices available that have deep focus on a single piano, like the Garritan Abbey Road Studio CFX Concert Grand Piano. 

Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.

Introduction to Piano VST’s

Piano Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is a...

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The 4 Best Music Libraries Accepting Submissions: A List of Music Submission Opportunities

Here are the four best music libraries currently accepting submissions by composers and producers. I’ve been licensing my music for the past five years, and this information is directly based on my experience earning thousands of dollars through licensing on these sites.

To get the most out of your music library submissions and start earning money from your music by signing up for this free 5 day music licensing challenge! Then you can start submitting your music to these sites, which are the best production music libraries for new musicians. 

I’ve found music licensing to be one of the best ways to earn passive income as a musician. I was able to earn over $10,000 in less than four years through my music licensing side hustle. And most of that money came through submitting my music to these four libraries.

There are lots of lists of libraries with music submission opportunities, but most of these aren’t based on personal experience. They're just a list...

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Do These 5 Things Before Submitting to Music Libraries

Have you been interested in earning money from your music by licensing it? Well, before you start submitting your music to libraries, be sure to do these five things. If you don't, you're more likely to get reject by libraries and earn less from your songs!

  • Write Songs with Strong Intros
  • Make Sure Your Song is Constantly Evolving
  • Mix & Master Your Song Well
  • Only Focus on Uploading Your Songs to the Best Libraries
  • Be Sure to Register with a PRO for Backend Royalties

We'll get into each of these topics below. But in case you're not yet sure what you're doing, check out this complete beginner's guide on how to license your music.

And if you're looking for a little more structured guidance, I invite you to join hundreds of students who have taken part in this free five-day music licensing challenge.

Write a Strong Intro

Before you submit your song to a music library, be sure to really think about its structure. I want you to pay special attention to the intro.

Now, put...

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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!