There's a lot of audio myths out there and a lot of opinions on the subject of something that's .... well just about as subjective as you can get .. music and music production!
There's so many myths out there that it's impossible to mention them all but this short True or False is really just a bit of fun and an excuse for me to talk about a few things I've learned and discovered over the years of writing and producing music.
Logic Pro X is the best DAW?
OK so I'll start with this one because over the years of working I've read so many forum posts on the subject of which is the best DAW that I've slowly lost the will to live. My feeling is that if you have time to post and argue about which DAW rocks the most you're not using your time constructively.
Now we're all Logic users here (if you're not shame on you!) but that aside here's my thoughts
The simple fact is this. They all essentially do the same thing they all have pros and cons, up sides and downsides some better value for money than others and ultimately it's all about what you are used to using. I do have Pro Tools and have used Cubase in the past but Logic is my go to platform and I love it, I know it and it works for me on so many levels but what makes Logic the best is the user using it. Pharrell Williams could write a number one hit on a the back of an envelope or record it into an iPhone. Hits stem from the artist not the DAW so be an artist and leave the arguing to those not creating anything special!
Having said all the above it's common knowledge Logic Pro X is no question the best platform money can buy, has the best features of any DAW, is the best DAW for writing any style of music and will definitely make you a better musician, genius producer and will most certainly make you the coolest cat around! Just my own personal thoughts 😉
You need 3rd party plugins?
Although 3rd party plugins are great and I get as excited as the next Logic user seeking out new plugins to buy, the simple fact is it's a false economy to think just because it's expensive it's better. Logic's own plugins are great and I use them all the time in my work. Logic's compressor is so versatile and the channel EQ ends up on everything I do. The bit crusher is probably one of my favourite plugin and is amazing on drums it can make them really big!
Don't get me wrong I use third party plugins all the time but I'm aware that everything I have is there for a reason, some things get used more than others but ultimately everything I have in Logic is there to be exploited. Sometimes the grainier and cheaper sounding the plugin the better the mix can sound. Let's not forget some of the best records ever created are stuffed full of noise and lofi artifacts that make them sound so great. Just because it's not expensive, not endorsed by a superstar mixer, producer, guru or god like musician doesn't mean it's not good or usable.
Remember this every plugin you have free, cheap, stock, expensive whatever can add, shape, warp, rough up and polish your sound into something unique to you and your music. Experiment and USE EVERYTHING!
Buy outboard gear and you'll improve your sound?
Totally false, it's common knowledge most mixing engineers and producers are ditching their gear faster than Apple updates it's operating system but the fact is, warm and glued together mixes can and are being created completely in the box.
In Sound On Sound's May 2014 Inside Track article Leslie Brathwaite, superstar mixer to Pharrell Williams and SSL guru talks about switching from a large console to mixing hit records in the box. Partly because it's easier to work on multiple projects at the same time but mainly because DAWs and plugins are so good now that it's possible to write, produce, mix and master great sounding records in the box. Let's face it most listeners and your fans really won't care or even notice whether you went in the box, out the box or even through the box. If they don't care and can't tell the difference we shouldn't as writers either. Whatever music you write simply focus on getting your music to sound as good as you can and with Logic X you can get it to sound great!
Mix at 0dBFS = Better sound?
It's totally false and there are some very important reasons why you should avoid mixing at 0dBFS, I discuss the subject of mix levels for mastering in detail in the miL course. There are a number of issues and reasons why you shouldn't mix to close to 0dBFS but the biggest one is the cumulative effect of adding more tracks as you mix.
Have you ever started a mix, got the drums sitting right then brought other instruments in and suddenly the rhythm section feels too quiet? Solution push the drums to make them punch again? I've done this many times but if the mix starts life too close to 0dBFS then as soon as the other instruments come you're gonna pass 0! This adds volume and therefore pushes up the mix level, which most of the time pushes the mix into the red; once you're in the red you might clip the signal when bounced resulting in a mix the translates poorly and after all that effort the mix gets ruined by being to close to 0dBFS! Not to mention you'll have no room to master!
Stereo mix sounds the same in mono?
Nope! When mixing and especially as most of my music is broadcast on TV I'm careful to keep an eye on the mono signal.
Really mono and Stereo could be viewed as separate to each other, mid and side is a much better way of looking at it. Side signals especially when instruments are panned hard left or right will naturally sound quieter and be lower and pushed back in the mix when collapsed to mono from stereo. Reverb for example can sound like it's drying up when summed to mono because the relationship and balance between the sound source, say a singer and the reverb is changed when in mono compared to stereo. Furthermore panned instruments can appear quieter and further away when placed in the middle of the mix when in mono.
So, the up shot of this is check your mono mix isn't too unbalanced because of the relationship between mid and side sounds interacting with each other. Get it right in mono and your stereo mix will be killer!
If your interface doesn't have a dedicated mono switch use Logic's Gain plugin and you can easily switch the mix to mono.
Mastering will fix it and make it sound like a record?
No and yes and yes and no.
Fix it please!
No because mastering can't fix writing or production mistakes in fact it will make it sound worse because those issues will be highlighted further.
Yes because mastering can help balance the mix further, for example if the mix is too bass heavy mastering can control that and can even improve it too.
Make it sound like a record!
No because if your mix doesn't sound like a record in the first place you'll have a tough time mastering it to sound like a record it will help get you closer but not as close as if the mix is stella in the first place.
Yes because mastering is the part of the process that will help your music translate to multiple systems from cheap hifi speakers to being broadcast to the nation via radio, iTunes, Tidal or any other services that stream music. Mastering helps your music to sound great where ever it's played.
If you're interested in improving the sound of your music why not grab your free PDF guide and learn how to make better masters