Here’s a collection of the most useful audio production resources from around the web. See also the PWYM video collection.
Vocabulary and reference
iZotope’s mixing guide is super useful for anyone who mixes, not just iZotope users.
A Quora thread discusses the best ways to prepare your band to go into a professional studio.
Recording and mixing
This is full of great beginner-level audio production advice, despite the mildly offensive title.
Pensado’s Place hosts a ton of interesting videos on mixing, effects and all other aspects of production.
Our own Bradford Swanson maintains a wonderfully thorough microphone comparison site.
Alex Case explains how to set up for a mix.
If you mix on headphones, here are some considerations.
MediaCollege.com has resources and tutorials on a wide range of audio effects.
Electronic music production
Two useful Quora threads:
Wayne Marshall has created a great set of digital music production tutorials, oriented toward dance and hip-hop. He shows his examples in an ancient version of Fruity Loops, but the content applies to any software environment:
Production tips in Ableton Live from Quadrophone:
Jamcast on how to how to remix music.
Take the skills you’ve developed here in PWYM and participate in other online remixing contests over at Indaba Music.
Chris Lund’s Art of the Remix video series is a scholarly take on both the creative process and its deeper aesthetic meaning.
Ethan Hein talks through the process of remixing the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun” in 5.1 surround sound.
WhoSampled.com is the internet’s leading resource for samples, remixes, quotes and covers. It’s like reading the phylogenetic family tree of popular music. They have a great iOS app too. Of particular interest on their blog: the ten most sampled breakbeats of all time.
Sampling and remixing history, appreciation, creative and legal issues:
- Kirby Ferguson believes that everything is a remix.
- The story of James Brown’s famous Funky Drummer break.
- The drum intro to Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks” is another widely used sample – find out how it got its distinctive, sludgy sound.
- Hip-hop pioneers Eric B and Rakim are both creative sample users and have themselves been the source of some famous samples.
- Nas’ classic hip-hop track “Nas Is Like” has a chorus comprised entirely of samples from his other songs.
An introduction to MIDI written by the people who invented it.
The internet is full of public-domain MIDI files that you can download and experiment with to your heart’s content. For example, here are the complete works of Bach in MIDI format. And here are the complete works of Mozart.
Food for thought
The first chapter of Alex Case’s book Sound FX asks the question: What is sound?
Spectral ear training resources:
Practitioners at work
The Sound On Sound “Classic Tracks” series talks about the production of famous songs in great depth, including insights into the songwriting, arranging and mixing.
These ARP Journal interviews with producers include a lot of tips on mixing, both technical and philosophical.
Joe Shambro talks you through mixing “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.
Diving deeper into effects
Filters and EQ:
- An in-browser graphical filter editor.
- Using filters to simulate distance.
- A more general video on EQ.
- A full 90 minute tutorial by Alex Case on EQ from an Audio Engineering Society conference in London, and a chapter on EQ from his book Mix Smart.
- The ARP Journal on the consequences of “fixing it in the mix.”
Delay, chorus, echo and flanger:
- A Quora thread on the use of compression in dance music
Sound on Sound has a tutorial for creative mix automation in the DAW.
You can use automation for more than just volume and balance.
The DAW studio explains phase and panning.
Dale Price on phase in audio.
Lynda.com explains phase cancellation.
The DAW studio on music quality and mp3 artifacts.
Carl Beatty discusses MP3s and sound quality.
Mastering is the final sonic polish you give to a finished mix. The classic book on the subject is Mastering Audio by Bob Katz. Here’s a video teaser. And here’s a Bob Katz mastering session in action.