Learn a little, teach a little


Learn a little


Mastering a Song


            The process of mastering a song is something I've always wanted to work on. I studied mixing while in undergrad, but we never really touched upon the process of mastering. Mastering a song is done once all the recording and mixing is done. The goal of mastering is to make the overall sound of an album (i.e. volume, EQ) more uniform. For this assignment I wanted to start fresh, so I created a short song utilizing audio loops of several different samples. I choose audio loops because in the "teach a little" section of this assignment I will be teaching how to use audio loops in Garageband to make a song.



Step 1 - Creating my Song


Using Logic Pro X (Digital Audio Workspace) I created a song utilizing audio loops. Normally I would record live audio however for this assignment I thought using loops would be more useful for two reasons.  1 - Each loop has a different texture/ audio quality that will make mastering more apparent. 2 - It provided me a unique opportunity to mix different types of instruments.



Step 2 - Creating a Mix


Now that my song is put together, I have to create a rough mix. Mixing is the process of deciding and assigning volume/EQ/panning for each individual instrument- track in the song.



    Step 3 - Listening to the Mix


            This is one of the most important parts of the process, listening to the mix with studio monitors. I originally created this song using headphones (Bose Quite Comfort noise cancelation headphones) they are extremely comfortable headphones and sound great however, they are not good for mixing audio. After watching Deadmaus's master class he harped on the importance of mixing using audio monitors for best  results. There are two reasons for this - 1) Volume - Headphones are speakers placed directly over the ears, most listeners will not experience your music via headphone, so its important to make sure the mix sits right using monitors. 2) Balance - Many headphones (including my Bose) are not "Flat" meaning they enhance your audio in some way. It could be by boosting the bass or midrange. "flat" refers to a speaker or audio monitor that add nothing to the frequencies being played.


Step 4 - Mastering


            After watching several Skill Share videos on mixing and mastering, I decided to take a virtual master class with Deadmaus on Electronic Music Production. I've been wanted to take this class and this assignment was the perfect opportunity to do so. (https://www.masterclass.com/classes/deadmau5-teaches-electronic-music-production)



Reflection - After watching Deadmaus's master class on Electronic Music Production I felt a bit more confident in my mastering skills. Masterclass.com is a great site with a lot of high-profile people / celebrities teaching their art. It's definitely a work in progress, below I've attached a like to the song I created in Logic. The first link is to the un-mastered copy, and the second is the mastered version. The first thing I notice between the two is the volume difference, the mastered version is much louder. This is ultimately one of the main goals in mastering (to improve overall volume of your tracks) so I am feeling very pleased that mastering is finally starting to "click" for me.


Un-Mastered Version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nl40lgazyisn9fi/Loop%20Project%20BEFORE%20Mastering.mp3?dl=0



Mastered Version:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/q35lmf62pthjk4p/Loop%20Project%20AFTER%20Mastering.mp3?dl=0



Teach a little


Using Garageband on iPhone or iPad



Intro - Garage band is a Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) used for creating, editing, and sampling audio. Today we are going to learn how to use Garageband on an iOS device (iPad or iPhone) and create a short piece of music utilizing Live Loops.



Step One - Get your device ready - Make sure you have an iOS device (iPad or iPhone) with Gargageband installed onto it. Garageband is free and usually comes pre-installed on all Apple devices. If you do not have it installed on your device, you can download it for free through the Apple App Store.


! Please note: Installing a copy of Garageband will require that you have the latest version iOS installed on your device. For iPhones this is iOS 13.1.2 and iPad its iOS 12 (iPad OS is coming later this fall)

imageStep Two - Understand the layout of Garage band - Once you open Garageband you want to create a new song by clicking the + button in the top right corner of your screen.


imageSimagetep Three - Select Live Loops at the top of the screen.


Step Four - Understanding the Live Loops Grid - For this Please begain to watch the video tutorial.


Link for Video Tutorial:







Reflection - Creating this mini lesson was fun and a bit more challenging that I expected it to be. The problem I faced was figuring out how to record my iPhone screen + audio from Garageband + audio of my voice to narrate each step. Usually when I record demo lessons it's using a website or computer program. For those lessons I use a program called Screencast to capture a screen recording and audio but recording on a iPhone required a bit more creativity. To accomplish this, I used 3 native apps installed on the iPhone. 1 - Screen recording 2 - Audio Recorder 3 - Garageband. I was slightly concerned running all three apps simultaneously would not work well however I was happily surprised! Once I finished recording, I then edited audio & video together using iMovie.

            One thing I wish I could have added was a movement cursor/ highlighter. Programs like Screencast provide the option to highlight your cursor which is very useful for students to follow in playback, unfortunately the iPhone does not have an option to do so.

            Overall this assignment presented a nice challenge for recording (one I hadn't run into before) I am happy I was able to find a solution and will definitely use this technique in the future!

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito


      I am so impressed, and really intrigued by both projects you related here.

      First, I have also wanted to learn mastering at various points in my life and have never done so. But listening to the unmastered and then mastered version, it is just magical to see what can happen. Thanks for giving me that experience. 

      Second, you did a terrific job with the GarageBand video. I felt, once again, that you gave me an experience as well as providing me with information. Thanks for that.

      I am glad you found this project useful.

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