Recording a Demo CD for an Artist: How to Get Started Tips in 3 Steps

Of all the tracking process, the one that spends a lot of time will be drums. Put emphasis on getting a good drum sound. Drum tracks are the basic foundation where the music tempo and timing for the rest of the instruments will be based. This is why drums will be the first instrument to be recorded in a multi-track session. Well-recorded drums can create a big impact on the overall quality of your demo. If possible; use real/acoustic drums particularly if your targeted genre is rock, pop and alternative music. Make sure you come up with a clean and noise-free recording without relying heavily on noise reduction plug-ins. Never underestimate the importance of great vocal recording quality. The quality of the singing performance itself plays a lot in the demo success. Make sure the singer performs the song really well. Put emphasis on the clarity of the lyrics. Pay attention to the tuning of the musical instruments. Out of tuned guitars and bass can degrade the quality of your demo. If possible use digital tuners for best accuracy.

STEP2: Audio Mixing Sessions for your Demo

Mix your project correctly. Mixing is the most important stage in the demo music production process. It should be done correctly. Audio mixing requires patience, time, skills, good studio monitoring equipment and ears. A great mix translates correctly to different audio monitoring systems. If it sounds good in your home studio, it should sound good anywhere. If you are a beginner or novice in audio mixing; take time to learn more about the audio mixing process in detail. Just like the tracking or recording process, there are important technical techniques in audio mixing and each instrument will be treated differently during the session.

a.) Correct audio mixing levels and headroom in preparation for mastering
b.) Mixing vocals
c.) Mixing guitars
d.) Mixing drums
e.) Mixing bass guitar

In audio mixing, a lot of technical techniques such as EQ, compression, reverb, delay will be used so that your mix will sound fuller, nice ambiance, clear and great. For details, you can use the search function of this blog to look for specific information relating to those techniques.

STEP3: The mastering of your mix down and marketing

Most demo recordings are never “correctly” mastered which is a common mistake. Your audience (record label A&R, your fans, listeners, potential music licensing customers, etc.) will treat the demo just like in any professionally-produced music. Thus, it’s important to have it mastered. Mastering is a completely different process from audio mixing and recording. If you are a complete beginner you can read the digital audio music mastering process tutorial. You can also read the DIY audio mastering process. This blog also contains a lot of mastering related tutorials. If you are interested in learning further, you can read the audio mastering tutorial category on this blog.

Finally submit your demo for a review and marketing the work. You can find a lot of sites in the Internet that are willing to review the demo for free. You can get some feedback if you upload your music in sites like SoundCloud, Reverbnation, Broadjam as well as other home recording forums. You can also submit your demo to me for review. Like in my personal experience, producing a demo recording is a trial and error process. It may not work the first time. But as your knowledge in audio recording, mixing and mastering grows; you will discover a lot of ways on how you can improve your existing demo. And then time will come that your demo will be similar to those professionally produced. It can take time. For me it takes 2 to 4 years to learn these things, unfortunately there is no shortcut. Today with the use of Internet and lot of free home recording tutorials you can learn faster. Good luck in producing your demo!

Content last updated on July 29, 2012