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8 essential mixing and mastering equipment for beginners

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Starting without direction can be tiring, especially when there’s no one in the background to guide or point you in the right direction.

Well, today I’m going to make your mix and mastering journey less stressful as opposed to when I started, when I could barely find materials, help, or blogs on mix and mastering in Nigeria.

So today’s blog post is all about “ESSENTIAL MIXING AND MASTERING EQUIPMENT.” It’s almost impossible for you to mix and master without this equipment; you must start out having them if you are serious about being a mixologist (you know what I mean).

Let’s go!

#1 Computer/Laptop:

If you want to start as a mix and master engineer, your computer or laptop should be at the top of your list. However, because of its portability, I recommend a laptop. If you already have a laptop, you may need to replace it if it does not meet the following requirements: a minimum of 8GB RAM (but preferably 16GB for a better experience), a minimum storage capacity of 500GB–1TB (the larger the better, SSD preferably), and a minimum clock speed of 2.5 GHz (the better for you if you can go as high as about 2.9 GHz). Also, it doesn’t have to be an Apple laptop; a high-end HP or Dell laptop can also perform well (though many engineers use Apple because it performs exceptionally well).

#2 DAW – Digital Audio Workstation:

DAW is an abbreviation for the digital audio workstation, which is a software application used for recording, editing, and producing audio files. It covers the entire music-making process, from creating beats and melodies with instruments to adding effects and perfecting your mix. Cockos Reaper or Logic Pro X are my recommendations. (Logic Pro is primarily for Apple users.) It’s also important to note that you may have to pay to use these and most other software available; while some have free versions, you’ll have to pay to get a better user experience. TIMI jay uses Reaper or I currently use reaper for all my mixes and NIPHKEYS uses logic to make his beats 

#3 Audio Interface

 

This equipment connects the microphone and other instruments to your computer. It is a vital piece of equipment that serves as a link between your music and your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). My recommendation for beginners is the Native Instrument Audio 2 because it has a port for easy connection to your speaker monitor.

#4 The Mic

A good microphone is an essential piece of equipment. The best option is to purchase an all-purpose mic that can be used for instrumentation as well as voice. A great option is the Lewitt LCT 240.  There are different types of mic from dynamic to ribbon to condenser, But condenser is the best to record vocals Bcuz of its high sensitivity to frequencies 

#5 Headphones & Monitors

 

What is mixing and mastering without headphones or monitors? It’s like music without sounds, and if it’s music, it has to sound good, which is where we (mix and mastering engineers) come in. To mix and master audio, we must listen intently with either headphones or monitors; this allows us to identify what needs to be improved. But a bad-sounding or enhanced headphone or monitor can mislead you, and you end up mixing rubbish. Choose sound accuracy over enhancement.

What you need is a balanced headphone or monitor (no enhancements, please). It’s also worth noting that, to achieve a great mix or master, you should alternate listening with your headphones

and monitor. That way, you’ll get a better feel from different angles, which will help you achieve a crisp sound in the end. My recommendation for headphones is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. It has a well-balanced sound, is good value for money, and is reasonably priced for what it provides. For monitors, my recommendation is the Yamaha HS-5.

#6 Midi Controller

An abbreviation for Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). A MIDI controller is a universal technical standard that allows physical hardware and digital audio workstations (DAWs) to communicate with one another. In simple terms, the MIDI controller helps create beats and sounds by mimicking your desired instrument and sending it straight to the digital audio workstation for editing. My recommendation for MIDI controllers is the Komplete Control M32.

#7 Acoustic Treatment 

An untreated room isn’t ideal for mixing and mastering because it colors the sound, and in this case, you almost can’t trust what you hear through your monitors because the result of a mix that sounds balanced on your monitor might not sound that way to other playback systems (by “colors the sound” I mean it alters the sound produced in an untreated room). The most common characteristics of a room without acoustic treatment are: too much reverb, room modes/standing waves, and echoes, all of which can be resolved by acoustic treatments such as acoustic padding to dampen echoes, adding bass traps to upper corners of the room, and also adding absorption panels to reflective points of your monitors or other sound sources.

 

#8 Cables & Adaptors

 

It is safe to say that your equipment is nothing without good cables, adaptors, and connectors (your equipment is only as good as those cables). Therefore, it is wise to invest in them as well, and high-quality ones are essential.

Other equipment includes a mic stand (for obvious reasons, to keep your mic in place) and a pop filter (used to prevent the airy blast that occurs when we sing or speak, which can be difficult to remove when editing).

 

Finally, having the appropriate mixing and mastering equipment is essential for improving the quality of your audio production. To achieve the best results as a mix and mastering engineer, you must invest in high-quality equipment. Each of the pieces of equipment mentioned above plays an important role in the music production process, and using them can make a significant difference in the final sound output, so having them will ensure that you create a clear and crisp sound that your audience will enjoy. But that depends on whether you know what to do and how to do it with this equipment; more on that in a later post.

Until then, it’s “TimiJay on the track.”

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