For the independent musician, do-it-yourself solutions for recording, mixing, and mastering audio may seem like the only options. But, if the goal is to save money, they may not be…
We came across this video the other day for a popular piece of audio mastering software called T-RackS. This video explains how “easy” T-RackS3 is to use. For fun, and to help us make a point, you should watch this tutorial. There have been major advancements in digital mastering software in the last 10 years, and mastering programs like this can be very useful…
Some of you may be thinking, “hey, this is exactly what I need!” But more of you are probably wondering what language this guy is speaking! At SoundOps, we actually use T-RackS3 for some things, but we have an advantage the average DIY recording artist doesn’t have – audio mastering experience.
You see, even if one program like T-RackS could accurately re-produce the processing power of thousands and thousands of dollars in physical mastering gear, it doesn’t automatically give you the other thing you’ll need to make your recording sound its best – years of experience working with that equipment.
As you can see from this video, there are quite a few vocabulary terms that are specific to mastering and post-production, and a ton of “knobs” and settings related to them. Just having the controls at your fingertips doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do with them.
So, what are we saying; do you need a $10,000 DAW to master your new demo, or prepare your band’s first CD for distribution? No. T-RackS3, for example costs less than 500 bucks. But, if you also consider THE TIME it will take you to become familiar with the software, THE TRIAL & ERROR involved to ruin your recording at least a few dozen times, and THE FACT that you can’t get your money back if, in the end, you still can’t make it sound right…for most of you, audio mastering is just not one of those things you should do yourself. It just doesn’t save enough money in the long run.
There are very powerful programs out there for mastering audio, and T-RackS is one of them, but for those of you who are trying to make a living as independent recording artists, the question is not, “how can I save money by next year?” Instead, you should be asking, “how can I make money by next year?”
The faster you can get your recording finished, mastered, and distributed, the sooner you’ll be able to make money as an artist. Of course, there are things you can do yourself that put money in your pocket, especially when it comes to your marketing your band. We are all big supporters of the Label 2.0 concept. Just remember, music is your main profession, and you need to spend more time making it, sharing it, and hopefully getting paid for it, than anything else.