You’ve composed and recorded a song all on your own, now why not just mix and master it as well? There are some advantages to doing this, of course. In my experience, however, the disadvantages outweigh them for most musicians. Getting outside help in mixing and mastering your music just makes sense.
Here are my top 5 reasons why you should not mix and master your own music.
1. Audio Engineering Has A Steep Learning Curve
Your core skill set might be composing, performing, and recording music. Being able to professionally mix and master music requires years of education, practice and experience. Most engineers have had a diverse career; they may have began as musicians or producers, worked on a variety of projects, gone to school, and learned from the best in order to hone the skills they now have. Great mixing and mastering are skills that are perfected over a long period of time.
2. Listening Fatigue
As a music producer, you are likely well aware of listening fatigue. Your ears need time away from making music so you can come back to your music fresh. Producing already puts a huge strain on your ears which can make it very hard to properly mix and master your own music. Without taking the right breaks, it will be very difficult for you to hear if the changes you are applying are truly making your music sound better. A fresh set of ears means that a mix and master engineer will be able to hear what needs to be done to your song when you may not.
3. Room Acoustics
Lets be honest. Most of us “in-home” producers are working in rooms that are not acoustically ideal. Unless you are lucky enough to own a properly treated studio, you’ll likely be trying some acoustic treatments for your room like bass traps and diffusers. These treatments can help but will not be perfect by any means, which is reason number 3 that a professional mix and master engineer can make a huge difference in the final sound of your music. They have the training and technical understanding which enables them to get a great final product in a variety of settings.
4. Unprofessional Masters Ruin Reputations
You know the music industry is incredibly competitive. Your music needs to meet certain quality standards in order to compete with all the other music out there. Having your songs professionally mixed and mastered will help you maintain your reputation as a quality musician and ensure that your tracks meet the standards of audio industry companies.
5. Spend Your Time Creating More Music
Finally, if for no other reason, you should have your music mixed and mastered by someone else so that you can focus on creating more music. If you are not an audio engineer, have never been to school for audio mastering, and haven’t studied under a master engineer, then it will take you a lot of time to get anything near a professionally mastered track. When you take into consideration all the other hats you need to wear as a modern day musician – composer, arranger, recorder, marketer, designer, blogger and so on – why add two more huge ones to the stack?
I realize this a controversial post, and I didn’t set out to try to convince you all to stop learning how to mix and master your music. If you want to become an audio engineer, more power to you! Keep gaining experience and working towards that goal.
My point is this: If you are a musician first and foremost, then your time is best spent creating music. There are so many demands on your time, leave the mixing and mastering to someone else. I am speaking from experience when I say this. Before I became a mixing engineer, I was a musician trying to mix and master my own music. I spent ages on my tracks without enough knowledge or experience to really get it right. In hindsight this was a mistake. I think it’s important to share this with those who are just starting out. So, do you agree with me? Disagree? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
If you are set and determined to mix and master your own music despite me, at least let me help! Check out these instructional posts, and follow me on Instagram @soundcomet for daily tips and tricks!