The Complete Process of Recording

Even though it seems like we only learn about the actual recording of instruments, then see the result through the song, there is an entire process that is hidden behind the curtains in order to get the sound of the song exactly right.  This includes a variety of steps that are linked to engineering a song and producing the right sounds after the instrumentation is complete. 

The first step of the process after the recording is the pre-mixing.  This is the point in which the instruments will become neutral and even.  The main part of this particular step is to determine the sound waves and what their peak points of loud and soft is.  This can be automatically set up through a normalization tool, which will average out the sound frequencies for the individual instruments.  You can also find mathematical formulas if you want to customize the normalization tool to build the top and bottom peaks of the recording. 

Within this part is also the ability to make the instrumentation sound just a little bit better.  You can add in the extra sounds as well as the effects that you want with additional instruments.  This will take the deadened sound that was created from the recording and move it into a live sounding performance as well as a space which is more effective in defining what is being played. 

After this point, you will move into the mixing stage.  This will focus on the individual instruments and what they need in order to be completely enhanced.  The first part of this is to move through each of the individual instruments and create envelopes for them.  These are areas in which they will have lows or highs as an individual instrument.  You can add in dynamic effects during this point in time as well as things such as compression, which will help to normalize the peak points of the piece even more.  During this time, you want to make sure that everything is even and sounds right when picked out individually. 

This will then move you into the pre-mastering stage.  During this point, you will move from working with individual instruments and into the arrangement of all of the instruments.  You will want to make sure that the low and high frequencies of all of the instruments are balanced at the same level.  This should move not only into the peak points of the sound waves, but also into the volume control. 

The pre-mastering stage will include industry standards as well as individual preferences for balancing out.  Many software packages will come with analysis components so that you can look at the amount of low frequencies to high frequencies and adjust it to balance out.  This will depend on the software that you use, as well as the preferences that you have for the blending of the instruments.  As long as you keep in mind that the most important part of this is blending together all of the instruments with high and low sounds, you will easily be able to maneuver with the pre-mastering stage. 

The last step in putting together the mix for recording is the mastering.  This will take the songs that have been made over all of the tracks and make sure that they balance out evenly.  Like pre-mastering, this can be done by checking all of the levels and making sure that all of the songs balance out and are even in their volume levels as well as high and low frequencies.  You can check your volume levels not only by the mathematical formulas, but also by comparing your volume levels on audio players.  The sounds should reach the industry standard volumes, unless you have an alternative preference for your blend of songs and instruments. 

Once you know the major concepts for each step of placing a song together, you can find the best way to blend and change everything that is needed within the CD and songs that you are producing.  If you are looking beyond recording, you want to look into the engineering of a song and how you can effectively put together the instruments, every step of the way.