Toronto music producer and engineer 5PiECE walks you through his “small speaker test” and how to check if your mix will translate on smaller playback devices such as laptop speakers, cell phones and ear buds.
Chicago artist Matt Muse returns with a brand new album and record featuring 5PiECE production.
Matt just released his new project Love & Nappyness on all streaming platforms. While promoting the release, he appeared on the Morning News in Chicago to perform Love Wrong.
Listen to the full thing below and save it on the streaming platform of your choice.
The end of the year is always an interesting time. In one regard, you’re reflecting upon all the moments you’ve lived in 365 days, while at the same time looking to the future with excitement and wonder – hoping you can top it all again next year. That’s the exact feeling I have right now.
2017 was an incredible year for me creatively and musically. It had its fair share of set-backs (don’t they all) but it had just as many set-ups. It brought me around the country from Toronto to Atlanta, and introduced me to new friends and collaborators that I’ve been building with ever since. I captured some special moments in my art- sometimes on my own but often with several collaborators and as usual, I feel very blessed and fortunate to do what I love to do. To end the year right, I wanted to do a recap of all the music and video releases that I was a part of as a producer, engineer and mixer.
Atlanta spitter Jonah Cruzz dropped his “Just To Get By” mixtape featuring 5PiECE production and engineering- which ended up on popular blogs like 2DopeBoyz, OkayPlayer, HotNewHipHop and more (to name a few). I produced 2 songs on there – “Sometimes” and “Bill Cosby“- with SLWJMZ and I mixed/mastered both records on my own.
Staasia Daniels drops the seductive single “Hanky Panky” just in time for Valentines Day. The song was produced and mixed by myself with co-production from SLWJMZ. Sounds like something you’d hear on a 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack and is still one of my favorite records from her (but maybe I’m biased).
New R&B crooner Romeyo Wilson shot and released a cool video for a record SLWJMZ and I produced for him called “Waiting For You“. The video features him serenading his love while shooting footage camcorder tourist-style in Toronto’s Dundas Square.
Also in June, Ridgeway ambassador Gudini dropped the first single for his upcoming EP entitled “Tornadoes“. The record was produced by myself, Hurricane Jamal and SLWJMZ. I spent a lot of time engineering this one with Gu, recording all the vocals at New Toronto Street Studios and later mixing and mastering it on my own.
Romeyo Wilson dropped his “7/30” EP- right at the end of July featuring 3 songs produced by 5PiECE and SLWJMZ – “Don’t Come For Me“, “Friends” and “Waves” featuring Fame Holiday. The 4 song project was mixed and mastered entirely by myself.
Toronto rapper LeftField Keele debuted his brand new sounds “Faded” featuring rising star EverythingOShauN and 5PiECE on the beat and the boards. I spent a lot of time with Keele working on this record- handling everything from production to recording to final mixing and mastering.
VICE premiered EverythingOShauN’s visual for “Closing In“, one of the standout tracks from his “AlmostEverything” EP that was also released in August.The song was produced by his longtime collaborator (and brother) XpressakaDJXP and mixed/mastered by myself.
LeftField Keele returned with a 2nd song for 2017 called “Do Dat“, produced by myself as 5PiECE. Like Faded, this bouncy stripclub anthem of a song was recorded, mixed and mastered by myself.
Gudini also returned in September with the hypnotic single “Like This” – his 2nd offering of 2017. “Like This” was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by myself.
LeftField Keele returns with a visual for the 5PiECE-produced stoner anthem “Faded” featuring EverythingOShauN. If you pay attention to the video, you may even catch a cameo or 2 from me.
October also saw the release of Romeyo Wilson‘s EP “Angela Vibes“. The project was primarily mixed by myself- specifically the songs “Angela”, “On The Low”, “In The Bag” and “Club Rome”. I mastered all 9 songs on the project as well.
Gudini delivered his long anticipated 5-track EP “Back 4 Blood” featuring recent hits such as “Like This‘ and “Tornadoes“. The entire project was recorded, mixed and mastered by myself. I produced “Like This” and “I Need More” on my own, “They Know” with Hurricane Jamal, and “Tornadoes” with Hurricane Jamal and SLWJMZ.
Finally, to close the year out right….songstress Staasia Daniels returned with the lead single to her forthcoming Mood Roulette EP entitled”Nowhere“. The song was produced by myself, SLWJMZ and XpressakaDJXP and mixed and mastered by myself.
Thank you for an amazing year. I wish you all the best in 2018 and beyond! Happy New Year.
As a professional mixing engineer, this question gets brought up time and time again by many of my clients. Recording artists and managers often confuse mixing and mastering, thinking that they are the same thing when they are actually two very different processes in an album’s creative cycle. Each of which also affect the sonic outcome of a record differently.
What is mixing?
Mixing is the process of blending each of the individual audio elements (guitar, bass, kick drum, etc) of a song into one cohesive stereo mix track. This process occurs after the song has been recorded and all of the takes have been finalized.
Audio mixing generally involves volume and panning manipulation, and can also involve applying a variety of processing such as EQ, compression, de-essing, adding creative effects and more to individual or groups of tracks to help sculpt them so they fit better together. It often involves cleaning up a lot of sounds and balancing or removing unwanted frequencies from them.
Essentially, mixing is what determines how the song will sound as a whole and be presented to the end listener.
What is mastering?
Mastering is the final process in audio post-production that follows mixing. This is where the final stereo mix is enhanced to sound louder, clearer, fuller, and punchier so it can compete with other major label records that have been released. Mastering engineers and audio mastering services are essentially adding the final polish to a track or album before release.
When recording an album, mastering is applied after all of the songs are mixed to ensure each song is consistently as loud as the song before and/or after it. Other considerations, such as the gaps of silence between songs, are also decided during the song mastering process.
Unlike mixing, where processes like EQ and compression are applied to each of the individual elements of a song, mastering has these processes applied to the whole track (the single final stereo mix file). Any processing applied during mastering will ultimately affect every element of the song as a whole. For example, a boost in the low end will help the 808 and kick hit harder, but can also create mud in the synths and cause a mix to sound cloudy.
When mastering, you shouldn’t be looking to correct errors or volume balances between instruments. While a mastering engineer can help correct some issues at the macro level, fixing balances like that is better completed in the mix phase. This is to ensure the mastering engineer can do his job, which is to focus on enhancing what’s there and make the song sound bigger, fuller and more present.
Mixing Vs. Mastering
The biggest difference between mixing and mastering is when they happen in the cycle of a song and how they are applied and affect the overall sound..
Mixing involves techniques and processes being applied to each individual element of the song (where applicable) to glue the song together, making it sound cohesive and well-blended on its own. When looking for audio mixing services, it’s important to find a mixing engineer that understands your genre and has a great track-record of mixing music that you like.
Mastering takes that final mix, and uses similar techniques and processes applied to the overall track (as opposed to the individual sounds) to make it louder, cleaner, fuller and punchier so it can compete with other industry records and fit in as part of an album. Mastering is more of a subtle art about enhancing what’s already there and not overdoing it.
When should you master a song?
If you’re simply recording a demo, the song doesn’t need to be mastered. It could help for listenability, but it shouldn’t determine whether that demo is a success since chances are you will be re-recording, re-mixing and ultimately re-mastering it later. A demo’s sole purpose is to display the initial skeleton idea of a song so you can expand on it later.
However, if you’re about to professionally release a song to the world, I’d strongly recommend that you master it. Mastering your music ensures that it translates well on multiple devices such as laptops, ipod earbuds, and bigger speaker setups. It’ll also help your music appear louder and have greater impact to the listener overall.
If you’re looking for an engineer to work with, I offer both audio mixing and mastering services to clients around the world. For more information on how we can work together, please visit Services.
Listen to some of 5PiECE’s recent mixing and mastering work in the playlist below.