TOP 7 MASTERING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

Most recording musicians, engineers and producers are well aware what a difference mastering can make to our mixes. Mastering is an art form in itself, and is best placed in the hands of a specialist. (email us info@bonafidestudio.co.uk or call 02088839641)
But even expert mastering engineers can only accomplish so much, and it’s largely dependent on the raw materials they’re given to work with.

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1. Too Much Bottom
Excessive low-end is probably one of the most common problems in mixes coming from project studios. Usually this is directly related to the mixing environment. The average home studio or project room is lacking in real acoustical treatment is and rife with reflective surfaces and bass traps. The result is an uneven response across the bass spectrum, with some notes being overemphasized and others being practically inaudible. This translates to a poorly balanced low end in your mix. The most egregious mistake is that people’s monitors aren’t placed properly. Speakers need to be as far apart from each other as you are from them. So if your mix position is, say, three feet from either speaker, the speakers should be exactly three feet apart. Moreover, if the speakers are too close or too far from a wall, the apparent bass response will be off.

2. Terrible Treble
On the other end of the spectrum, high-end can also cause its own issues. While not as hard to hear in the project studio environment, those high frequencies can show up differently during the mastering phase. Most mixes will want a bit of ‘polish’ or ‘shine’ in mastering. When this good stuff is applied, sibilance can really creep up. Do yourself a big favor and de-ess your vocals, maybe even your hi-hat just a bit, even if you don’t hear too much of an issue. Your mastering engineer will thank you. The bottom line is to use EQ wisely and sparingly.

3. No Dynamic Range
This is probably one of the most discussed topics in modern music mixing circles. Over the past decade or so, the quest for radio airplay has created a battle for attention that has manifested itself in loudness – the perception being that louder the track, the more it will grab the listener. It’s a mentality that started with TV and radio advertisers (notice how a loud commercial gets your attention) and is a direct result of today’s vastly improved compressor technology, which has enabled us to create “radio mixes” where everything is loud, punchy and in your face. The problem with pumping up the apparent volume on your mix this way is that it works by compressing the dynamic range of your tracks. Dynamic range is defined as the difference between the loudest and softest sounds in your track. Ideally, the tracks you deliver to the mastering house should have peaks of around –3 dB for the loudest material (for example, a snare hit), while the rest of the track should average in the –6 dB to –8 dB area. That would give your peaks somewhere around 3dB to 5dB of dynamic range. The problem with compressing dynamic range (or, equally hazardous, normalizing a track’s relative volume), is that you effectively rob your mastering engineer of the resources to do their job. A good mastering engineer applies meticulous use of multiband compression – bringing up the punch and presence of the bass, adding clarity and sparkle to the high end – all by using different compression algorithms for different spectral bands. Many inexperienced mixers will apply a “mastering compressor” plug-in, using a preset that creates a loud but muddy low-end, a bright and aggressive high-end, and little room for the mastering engineer to add — or de-emphasize — anything.
Sometimes clients desire a ‘loud’ mix, but they have done little or nothing to control the dynamics of their mixes. Layering the limiting (by compressing the vocal, bass, snare, for example) will allow a MUCH more gorgeous detailed, deep shine on the final product! On a related note, try to avoid over-compressing individual tracks for the same reason. Often a mastering engineer will get a track that’s well within dynamic range, but with a vocal track that’s been normalized to the verge of distortion. Again, it leaves little room for mastering to bring out any subtlety or nuance in that vocal.

4. Lack of Panning
It’s important to give your mix some dimensionality by balancing different elements within a nice, wide, stereo field. All too often, people tend to pan everything at or near the center, creating a cluttered-sounding mix that lacks definition. While certain elements should typically be centered (kick, snare, vocal and bass come to mind), panning is a great way to achieve separation between guitar parts, background vocals and other parts of the mix. It’s always good to pan some elements of the mix just a bit off to one side. If you have a blend of guitars, horns, backing vocals, etc., keeping the middle less cluttered allows your ear to hear more distinctly all of that cool production you’ve worked on. You’ll also need less EQ and effects to pick these things out in the mix.
5. Phase Problems
With most DAWs offering unlimited tracks, the temptation to record everything in stereo is strong, and elements like a nicely-recorded stereo acoustic guitar can add depth and character to a track. But be careful to check your mixes in mono to avoid phase cancellation from poorly-placed mics. Only by soloing the stereo tracks will you be able to hear whether certain frequencies “disappear” when the two channels are summed to mono.

It’s not just stereo-miked instruments that can fall victim to phase cancellation. According to Doell, “Often I’ll get a track with ‘hyper-wide’ elements in the mix that achieve that ‘outside the speakers’ effect by making one side out of phase. Just try hitting the mono button and watch that cool keyboard, string pad, background vocal stack, whatever, totally disappear. Even if you never anticipate having any need for mono (AM radio anyone?), when you do this, your balances aren’t what you think!”

This same principle also applies to reverbs. It’s all too common to have that lush hall you placed on the vocal just vanish in mono.

6. Poor Vocal Placement
It’s hard to be objective on placing vocals in a mix, particularly if it’s your song. After all, you know the lyrics, so it’s easy to forget that other people don’t. And in most cases, a track can sound equally “right” whether the vocal is sitting a bit in front or a bit behind the track. Many pros will do two or three alternate mixes of a track, one with the lead vocal a bit up, one with it a bit down, and one in the middle. It’s a luxury of choice that most mastering engineers are happy to have.

7. Misaligned Tracks
This one is a no-brainer. When you send stems (separated groups of tracks, like drums and bass, guitars, backing vocals) to mastering, make sure they all start at the same place. If the lead vocal doesn’t come in until 0:30, that stem should have 30 seconds of silence at the top!

As you might imagine, there are countless other stumbling blocks that can trip up your mix and make life challenging for your mastering engineer – certainly far more than we can list here. As always, the bottom line is to use your ears, listen carefully, and learn the rules before you break them. If all else fails, keep the potential mistakes above in mind, and you’ll be on your way to better results.

— Daniel Keller & Pete Doell

Leave These 5 Things Out of Your Band’s Bio

by Angela Mastrogiacomo on SonicBids1bfsIMG_0430

There are plenty of tips out there on what to include in your band’s bio, but not so many telling you what to avoid. Just as important as including the right information is excluding the wrong info. As a publicist and music blogger, I see a lot of terrible bios, and trust me, a bad bio can halt a great band’s career in its tracks.

This is your chance to tell your story, and your story is what hooks people. Boring bio equals boring band. This isn’t just your chance to hook fans, it’s your business card to industry pros, and it must be polished, professional, and clean. Get on the right track by avoiding including these five things to ensure your bio is the best representation of your band.

1. Past members

You wouldn’t believe how many band bios I read that give me a thorough, detailed glance at the band’s history, including members who are no longer with the band. If Billy left the band in 2015, then I don’t need to know how you met him on Craigslist and he played with you for a year before moving on. While it’s important to give mention to who’s in the band now, there’s simply no reason to mention past members, unless that past member is someone really famous.

2. Your origin story

Similar to the above, I don’t really need to know that you met at a dodgy bar, were introduced by a friend, or any other story of how you all met unless it’s really compelling and adds something to the overall story. The way most bands form, however, is not that interesting.

This also applies to band members. If one of you played in a well-known band, feel free to mention that they’re ex-members of whatever band, but otherwise, you don’t need to list off the 20 other local bands they were in before they got to yours. Your band bio shouldn’t be a mini-bio of what everyone in it has ever done.

3. Too many accolades

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to include significant names you’ve shared the stage with, recorded with, or awards you’ve been given. But if your bio is just a rambling mess of achievements without the balance of a good hook or story, all the achievements in the world won’t save you.

Stick to the highlights and the “wow” moments of your career, and by all means, include them. You’ve earned the bragging rights on those. Just make sure that surrounded by all those accolades is a real, grounded background that pulls me in and makes me care about you and your music.

4. First-person writing

Even if you’re a solo artist, a bio should never be written in the first person. First-person bios are just unsettling and weird to read. Thus, they should always be written in the third person.

Writing it this way also gives you the advantage of showing off a little more and getting comfortable bragging about your story. It can be weird to talk about yourself, and by writing in the third person, you can take an objective, if slightly favorable, look at your career and write it out accordingly.

5. Fluff

Fluff can be classified as any of the following:

  • each band member’s life story
  • talking about how you’re totally unique (instead of just showing it through your story and description of your music)
  • listing 18 different influences that may or may not actually have anything to do with your sound
  • anything else that just feels “eh” in your bio

If you’re not sure if it’s fluff, ask yourself this question: “Is this actually adding value or am I just filling space?” If it’s not adding value, chuck it. Your bio should be full of personality, not bogged down by useless facts. It’s a place to let your brand shine, and to highlight the best of your career. Don’t fall into the trap of adding fluff just to fill up the page. It will always backfire.


Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations and Infectious Magazine, as well as an entrepreneurial and artist coach. As a coach she helps her clients find their unique story and build their brand. Muddy Paw works with emerging artists and growing industry talent to bring their music and product to industry tastemakers. Clients have seen placement on Noisey, Idobi, Substream, New Noise, A Music Blog, Yea? and more.

YES, IT’S MIDSUMMER MUSWELL No 3!

AN EXPLOSION OF Community spirit, market, DANCE AND MUSIC is FILLING ST JAMES SQUARE AND ST JAMES CHURCH on 24th of June 1pm-6pm. 

rockbandDeanna Bogdanovic of BonaFideStudio said: “The friends of St James Square are very excited to deliver another Midsummer Muswell for everyone to enjoy. We want people from across the Borough to come and join us as we showcase our rich and diverse Muswell Hill culture, show off our abundance of local talent and introduce you to excellent artists doing wonderful things.”

A brass band march accompanied by a procession of five Local Gems led by our MP Catherine West and an actor Nitrin Ganatra will kick off this year’s summer celebration of all things Muswell. The full programme can be found on https://muswellife.com/

Among the market stalls will be Alexandra WI’s home made produce, Charitable Organisation Wave activities including weaving, drawing, pompom making and card making, while charity LCCP will be selling mocktails. Muswell Hillbilly Brewers  will cater for those in need of something stronger: their brews are grown, brewed and drunk in Muswell Hill! Tootoomoo will feed hungry crew, accompanied by Just Baked by Jo and Nata Cake.

On the outdoor stage, prepare to be astonished by belly dancers Charmageddon, followed by Archie Beach, New Law and Swan Kings. Also Play From Progress, who are working with children in need living as asylum seekers across the UK, come to Muswell Hill fresh from Croydon; and there is of course promising local talent too: Backdrop, The Blunt Man, The Muzztones, Kristian Demetriou, Darcey, Long String Hawkers, Sound of the Suburb, and The Vendettas, tap dancers from NLPAC and super stars in the making from Muswell Hill School of Performing Arts and LAGAD. Opera singer Marisa Di Muro is back by popular demand.

Meanwhile, across the road in St James Church there is mosaic making and other activities for young people and a full bill of staged entertainment including the world premiere of the award-winning Mandarin Musical JUDGE BAO, written and performed (in Chinese!) by pupils of Fortismere school, also angelic ballerinas from Little London Ballet.

Peter Thompson said: “This is our third Midsummer Muswell and every year we improve on the one before. It is a community event, funded by local traders and well wishers. This year promises to be very good: do join us.”

For further information contact Deanna, one of the directors of Friends of St James Square Limited: email: info@bonafidestudio.co.uk

MidSummer Muswell is organized by Friends of St James’s Square is open to anyone who lives in the area and accepts their aims and priorities. Membership for a calendar year is only £25. Email: pt.anythinglegal@gmail.com

Pirates of Penzance – Why are pirate shows so good? Because they Aaargh!

Revivals are all the rage in the West End and we’re no exception. We’ll bring an SMP twist to an old favourite. Thrusting the Gilbert & Sullivan classic up to date with our hilarious take on it.
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Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera is a tale packed full of soppy pirates, inept policeman, absurd adventures & improbable paradoxes. Frederic, a pirate’s apprentice, falls head-over-heels in love with Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley. Frederic is due to be released from his apprenticeship on his 21st birthday, but there’s a snag. Born on 29 February, he discovers he is technically a youngster. Although very much in love, his dedication to duty is unshakeable. Can he find a way to live happily-ever-after with Mabel? Will the Pirates Pillage the General’s daughters? Will the police do anything? The only way to find out is to watch the show!

Keep your eyes peeled for our bonafide Archie who plays the role of Roger the Cabin Boy. His job is to keep the rascally pirates topped up with rum and to create mischief wherever he can!

To keep updated with all the news about the show visit the Pirates blog at their website: http://www.smptheatre.co.uk

Tickets available through the Millfield Box office on 020 8807 6680 or online at http://www.millfieldtheatre.co.uk

Shows at 7.45pm with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday 10th.

Tickets priced £15 full £13 concessions.
Millfield Theatre, Silver Street, Edmonton, London N18 1PJ
http://www.millfieldtheatre.co.uk
Wednesday 7 Jun 2017 to Saturday 10 Jun 2017
Contact telephone: 020 8807 6680
Call to check latest times or cancellations.

Our recording and rehearsal studio celebrates 18 years of making music: we are finally all grown up!

Legendary and emerging artists have passed through the doors of family run BonaFideStudio since we opened our doors on 1st of May 1999. We have won many awards, lost few…
Time, as they say, has a habit of flying by, and those 18 years proved no different. We would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to each and every artist who has contributed to our studio’s continued success.

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“I am thankful that we have been around for so long even though the industry has taken a dive at times. Through it all we have been able to find creative innovative ways to keep the studio relevant and produce quality music on a consistent basis’ Deanna Bogdanovic said. ‘BonaFideStudio wouldn’t be what it is today — London’ trusted recording and rehearsal studio — if it weren’t for our valued clients. As we turn 18, please know that we are deeply grateful for all you do. Here’s to a new 18 years full of love, respect and understanding.’

‘Brian Bogdanovic said: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years of BonaFideStudio. Since its initial start the studio has evolved significantly, moving with time and the advancement of technology. But without our loyal customers, we wouldn’t be here doing what we love! Thank you for trusting us with your music.”

18 years on BonaFideStudio prides itself in being one of London’s most professional, fun, and affordable recording studios. We have great gear, a convenient location, but most importantly, a good vibe. We understand the key to a successful recording session is creating a comfortable environment that allows for both efficiency and creativity. BFS also offer Mixing and Mastering services for those who want to take their recording to the next level. Our client list speaks for itself, and we’d love to add you to it. Book your free consultation with us 02088839641 We know you’ll like the space.

Let’s make some music!

Play for Progress

We are very proud to work with Play for Progress: a London-based, award-winning, global NGO who deliver therapeutic and educational music programmes for children who are victims of conflict and war.
They run their Make Some Noise project: a sustainable programme of educational activities for the hundreds of unaccompanied minor refugee children who come to the UK seeking asylum through the Refugee Council UK’s (RCUK) Children’s Section in Croydon.

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They Help the children:
Develop confidence, methods of self-expression, and peer trust
Develop personal, social, and practical skills
Harness tools to overcome adversity, trauma, and stress
Avoid isolation
Use music as a means to develop, explore, and challenge themselves
They Help the London community:
Promote cultural understanding
Develop intimate inter-community ties
Celebrate diversity
Unite and enrich five exceptional organisations in a common cause

They need at the moment:

Wind Instruments (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone)
Brass Instruments (Trumpet, Trombone)
String Instruments(Violin, Viola, Cello)
Percussion (tuned and untuned)
Bilingual Dictionaries (to English) in the following languages: Pashto, Albanian, Tigrinya, Arabic, Dari, Vietnamese, and Amharic.
Laptops
Ipads
Smart Phones
if you can donate ANY of above mentioned items please contact Anna MacDonald 07739469582 or Click here to donate monetery.

Children caught in war and violence are traumatised. Their education is interrupted or non-existent, and they don’t have the resources to participate in creative activities that are vital to healthy emotional and intellectual growth. Play for Progress (PFP) is a not-for-profit organisation that works with pre-existing NGOs and child protection services in areas of recent conflict and within refugee communities in the UK to provide therapeutic and educational music programmes within safe spaces for children who are effected by violence, war, and displacement. Founded by classical flautist Alyson Frazier and medical doctor, Anna MacDonald, PFP strives to provide traumatized children with examples of how to lead and be a positive force within communities facing difficulties. It is becoming increasingly vital that this vastly connected and swiftly globalizing world needs more points of connection among its diverse communities. Children who come into this world’s current climate of violence, political discord, and misunderstandings will ‘learn’ that this is the norm. There is nothing more dangerous than leaving the youngest generation of the Earth without hope and positive examples to reinforce the importance of the self and of connecting with others. We cannot leave these young people to fend for themselves while politics delay and policies fight through bureaucracy. These children need our help now. Play for Progress has previously worked with young people in refugee camps and post-conflict areas abroad, and will continue to do so. However, we saw a pressing local need towards which requires our attention; that is the need of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who come to the UK each year seeking asylum. As such, they launched the “Make Some Noise” Project with the Refugee Council UK (RCUK) on Nov 1, 2016. Based on the overwhelming positive feedback they received from participants, the Refugee Council, and their roster of 10 dedicated tutors, they are committed to delivering this programme indefinitely.

They created a sustainable model of a year’s worth of educational activities and workshops that provide opportunities, insights, skills, and experiences that would otherwise be unavailable to the children involved with the Children’s Section of the Refugee Council UK (RCUK) in Croydon. The programme teaches practical as well as vital life-skills to these young people (11-18) have secured asylum in the UK and often live in foster homes and have few resources and support systems. Their programme creates opportunities for community bonding and cross-cultural understanding, and helps participants develop new personal skills (including growing aspirations, building self confidence), practical skills (instrumental teaching, composition) and social skills (team work, collaboration). The programme exposes these children to experiences, ideas, art-forms, methods of self-expression that help them to be better able to help them overcome adversity and stress, bond with their peers, and connect with other portions of London’s diverse and vibrant community. This programme unites several exceptional organisations (see below) to provide for a need that is not being met and enhances each of the organisations involved in turn. These organizations, all of which have signed on as official partners for this ongoing project, include the Refugee Council UK, Royal Academy of Music (RAM), and Orchestras for All (NOFA). They have also established relationships with several support organizations that offer supportive services to our participants. The programme fosters community relationships, and provides much-needed compensation for all young professional music tutors who volunteer their time. This ensures that they are promoting sustainability and growth within the music industry.

What is the curriculum of the programme?
Any teen or young person involved with the RCUK’s Children’s Section is welcome to enrol and participate free of charge. Every student will: • Select an instrument of their choice • Take private instrumental lessons every Friday • Participate in song writing classes every Friday • Participate in our big workshops on the first Wednesday of every month. These workshops involve a large range of topics and activities, from sound painting and Congolese music to jazz and improvisation. • Automatically be enrolled in Orchestras for All’s regional orchestral programme, which enables them to perform twice annually as a member of their unique youth orchestra for children from across the UK with complex lives. • Attend outings to concerts, exhibitions, and plays with the Play for Progress team starting from mid 2017 • Celebrate their achievements at our end of year showcase, which family, friends, and supporters can attend!

Who will engage with this activity?
PARTNERSHIPS: PFP partnered with the Refugee Council UK, the Royal Academy of Music, and the National Orchestra for All, to create this programme. Each of these organizations wants PFP to continue to lead this social engagement/community building/musical education project, which benefits everyone involved, enriches each organization in its own right, and results in connecting diverse communities in London. PARTICIPANTS: The children who participate in and benefit from our activities are unaccompanied minors who come through the RCUK in Croydon, many of whom now live in foster homes and have few support systems. In Croydon the population of asylum seekers is high and public sector organizations are struggling to fully support this vulnerable group.

TUTORS and WORKSHOP LEADERS: All of their tutors and workshop leaders are leading young artists with varied and impressive portfolio careers. These professional musicians have a desire to help those in need and connect with others through music, however are limited by the current poor financial state of the music industry and cannot volunteer all the hours required for this project without pay. Because they want to enrich the lives of all involved with this project and help young musicians to help themselves and others, they offer full Musicians’ Union (MU) rates for every tutor and workshop leader who participates in the monthly performance workshop and in private teaching. They also want to encourage respectful and appropriate monetary compensation within the art and non-profit industries for the highly-skilled work of artists.

AUDIENCE: Throughout the year, our participants will perform in the Orchestras for All regional and national meets. 3,000 teachers attend the culminating national meet. At the end of the year, they will host their own showcase performance to specifically highlight the talent and skills the RCUK participants have learned, and to bring together all volunteers and participants in a showcasing fundraising event that will aid them in sustaining the programme indefinitely.

Who will benefit from this programme?
In addition to the 200+ children involved with the children’s section, they support their staff of 12, and all additional occasional volunteers, including musicians, therapists, workshop leaders, chaperones, specialists, and fundraising volunteers. Each of their  partner organisations will also be enriched by this programme as their staff and participant pool will be able to engage with parts of London’s diverse cultural fabric with which they, most likely, would not otherwise come into contact. With this one programme they will be able to make lasting cultural, educational, and personal links between four exceptional volunteer arts organisations, a world-class conservatoire, and the promising generation of young people who will participate.

They require further support to ensure that their directors can continue to dedicate a large portion of their lives to ensuring the success of this programme that is very distinctly already making a large difference in the lives of many. We would be exceedingly grateful if you could support their work and join us in solidarity with vulnerable young people. For more information about Play for Progress’s experience and credentials in addition to testimonials from past projects, please visit their social media pages or their website at www.playforprogress.com

 

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: THE FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2017

International Women’s Day (8th of March) is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

BonaFideStudio traditionally celebrate it by giving The Female Artist of the Year Tribute and this 2017 we chose Kerry Gallagher, singer, actress, songwriter and animal lover.

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As an actress, Kerry is known for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys – Hercules and the Circle of Fire , Riding High, Benny Hill and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys to name but the few.

In the current time, Kerry is recording a new album with Keith Airey and enjoying spending her free time with her adorable pup Hendrix.

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We have known and worked with Kerry for five years and we have always found her dependable, professional, efficient, and unfailingly caring. In fact, we have never worked with a person who gives as much attention to detail as she does. Also, her willingness to take on difficult tasks and see them to successful completion has repeatedly impressed us over the years.

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Her skills do not end with her studio work with us. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to everyone around her. We have seen her resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. In the community she goes out of her way to help people in need by organizing charity drives, participating in our Geisterfest, performing at MidSummerMuswell… She loves people and animals, works hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around her.

Kerry is deserved FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2017, congratulations !