Best Sound, Mixing & Mastering Tools For Independent Artists

Best Sound, Mixing & Mastering Tools For Independent Artists

Jack Carter, Sound Editor & Composer at WANTED! Sound + Music Toronto shares his tips.

When it comes to mixing and mastering your tracks, there are a ton of sound tools at your disposal to ensure your final music master sounds great across any DSP. Jack Carter, Sound Editor, Composer at WANTED! Sound + Music Toronto shares his favourite tools, tips and tricks for getting your sound right. 

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Start with EQing all tracks first

Kick off by addressing any frequency issues you may have, while also identifying frequency placements. Space out your EQ across all tracks so nothing is competing within the mix.

Compression

...but only if you need it. Decide what needs to cut through the mix, and what type of record you are working towards, ie. rap or pop. Are you building around the vocals or drums? Learning how a compressor works before using one, will make any mix stand out. 

Effects 

This could be reverb or limiters etc. “I try to only use limiters on the sub-base or master track after the mix-down,” says Jack. “Less is more.” Start with drums, then mix in your melody and percussion, always creating room for each instrument to breathe. 

Exporting your master

When exporting your master, remove limiters on your master track, allow plenty of head room on your master i.e -3 to -5 db, and have it as 'mix ready’ as possible for the master engineer. You want to deliver a 48kHz 24bit @ 320kp/s WAV file. 

Best Sound Tools: 

UAD Studer A800 Tape Machine: Apply this to drums and melodies, it acts like a compressor, adding a rich analog warmth sound.

Neve Pre Amp 1073 Module with EQ: Use this for analog signals such as mics, piano tracking, drums or bass. 

Izotope Ozone 8 EQ: 8 bands of detailed EQ'ing, very refined tool and can be used to master the track too.

UAD Apollo MKII: The most important piece of sound gear beside your laptop. 

Best Sound Design Plug-Ins:

iZotope Music Production Suite: Ozone 8 and Insight 2 plug-ins. These give you all the tools you need to make studio-quality masters from your laptop. 

Waves WLM Plus: This large-format metering plug-in serves up your peak limiting and long-and-short-term averages at a glance, has an onboard limiter to catch unwanted overages, and it’s LUFS meter readout helps you stay within streaming standards. 

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