Music Forum Gold

No matter how niche your interests, you’ll find a forum dedicated to them. Usually, the best way to find the solution to a particular problem is to ask someone who has already solved it. For music production and general music business knowledge, the Reaper forum recently produced a thread of immense value…

Take It From The Top

Yep The Mortal decided to explode the notion that the gear you use is the primary reason for sub-par recordings, and devoted a thread to this end – Why do your recordings sound like Ass?

In itself, this sounds like a familiar argument – however, what sets it apart is the detail that Yep goes into in covering exactly how a home (or pro) studio should be run. He is a vastly experienced and articulate exponent of the music industry, and this thread is literally (well, not literally literally) a goldmine of vital tips. If you have any interest in producing music or how the recording industry works, you should read every post – and it’s not over yet.

Music Is In Your Ears, Not Your Gear

The basic message is that gear doesn’t make music – people make music, and people are the ones who decide if they like it, using nothing but their ears. Nobody really cares if you used a Neve console or an M-Box, as long as the result sounds good – and it can sound good.

Make Sure You Can Hear It

According to Yep, the only piece of gear you really need to focus on is your monitors (speakers, not screens). I agree, although until I actually got a pair of decent monitors I wouldn’t have necessarily understood his point. I used to mix on headphones, and I thought that was fine, but the move to nearfield monitors brought a whole new dimension to mixing that I simply wasn’t aware of before. So, get yourself some monitors if you don’t have any – even a couple of hundred quid can produce reasonable results here, and it’s well worth it.

If you want to learn why, then read Yep’s thread – there’s also some more information on nearfield monitors here.

Actually, It’s About The Music

Although Yep’s thread is aimed at home producers, he covers a huge amount of ground in terms of musicianship, organisation and psychology. I’ll be referring back to various sections of his thread over the coming weeks, as he has some great observations on things like compression and vocal recording, but also about what is truly essential – the music itself:

Trivia question: what band recorded more number 1 hits than any other? More than the Beatles, Elvis, The Stones, and the Beach Boys combined?

A: The Funk Brothers, the then-anonymous house band/songwriting/arranging team behind Motown.

Home recordists take heart: all of the Detroit-era Motown records were made in the small (originally dirt floor) basement of Berry Gordy’s humble Detroit home. I am paraphrasing from the film “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” when I say: “people always wanted to know where that ‘Motown Sound’ came from. They thought it was the wood, the microphones, the floor, the food, but they never asked about the musicians.”

…I don’t care what kind of party you’re throwing or what the crowd is like, if you put on “Bernadette” or “Uptight Everything’s Alright” or “standing in the shadows of love” or “WAR” or any of those old Motown numbers, people will get out of their seats and start dancing and clapping… nobody knows the lyrics, nobody can hum the guitar riff, and it has nothing to with the production. The music bypasses the higher cognition functions and directly communicates with the hips and the hairs on the back of your neck.


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