Planning your next (or first!) studio session can be both daunting and exciting. We've all seen the movies and videos of our favorite artists having creative and productive sessions. However, we haven't seen the time and effort they put into preparing, from creative writing and instrumental selection to budgeting and gear selection. There are various components to keep in mind throughout the entire process to ensure you are prepared for your session. We'll be covering the production options you should consider when booking a studio session.
Why Is It Important?
Audio engineers can help you create masterpieces, but they can only work with the tools you bring them. You should come to the session prepared with an instrumental for your song. There are various ways to obtain instrumentals, but they are not all made equally and can have a significant impact on high-quality audio. You're looking to book studio time to boost your production quality, and the first step is getting a clean instrumental. Without a clean instrumental, you won’t have a clean song. Take the time and budget to get a proper instrumental.
Types of Instrumentals
Finding instrumentals online is easier than ever but finding quality instrumentals takes a little digging. Before we dive into the different ways to find instrumentals, you need to know the difference between WAV/MP3 and track out beats, and leasing a beat vs. free beats.
WAV/MP3 vs. Tracked Out
With WAV/MP3 instrumentals, you will receive a single file that contains the audio for your beat. The benefit of WAV/MP3 files is smaller file sizes and cheaper instrumentals. You get what you pay for in this case, and due to there being only one file, the ability to mix the instrumental properly with the vocals goes out the window. With track-out instrumentals (also referred to as stems), You get the entire beat with each element on a separate audio file. This gives the engineer the ability to give your vocals space within the instrumental. Tracked-out instrumentals are usually more expensive than WAV/MP3s, but it's well worth the money.
Free Beats vs. Leasing Beats
Free beats are the foundation of most artists. They are affordable and plentiful, making them a perfect entry for artists looking to start recording audio. The quality of free beats ranges and the better quality, the more likely someone else has used that instrumental. Producers give out free beats to promote their own craft and develop connections with newer artists. This is why free beats usually come with producer tags at various points of the instrumental and are for non-commercial use, meaning you cannot profit from the song you create. They’ll also require you to mention their name in the song title. So if you were looking to upload a track onto Spotify or iTunes with a free beat, just know you are breaking leasing agreements (use of the beat means you've agreed to the terms the producer set). Leasing a beat means paying for the ability to sell a set amount of tracks containing this instrumental. Selling does include streams from any service that pays artist royalties. Leasing a beat or outright buying a beat is the way to go if you are looking to have ownership over your music.
Top 3 Ways to Find Instrumentals
YouTube is one of the easiest ways to find instrumentals from all genres of music, both free and paid. The quality of instrumentals here has no floor and no ceiling, so it takes a little time to find high-quality instruments on YouTube. YouTube is also one of the top search engines. meaning the chances of someone finding and using the same instrumental as you are likely (in some cases, you may be that person). When choosing YouTube beats, use the filter section to search for newly released instrumentals; this is a great way to find gems on smaller channels. Once you've found your instrumental, load it into a DAW or program with an audiometer. See if the instrumental is clipping and if it is, the instrumental is most likely muddy (low quality) and won't be the best for mixing vocals. If you don't have a DAW or Program with an audiometer, turn your speakers to a moderate level and compare the instrumental to the instrumental section of your favorite song.
If you are unaware of Reddit, it's a forum where people come together and discuss everything on earth. There are subreddits on here just for producers and artists to connect, and this is a great way to get instrumentals that no one has used and build your network. Through Reddit, I met a producer in Germany who gave me beats with live instrumentation and fully tracked out stems for free, and now he sends me his beats before he posts them elsewhere.
How Prolific Sound Solutions Can Help You
Here at Prolific Sound Solutions, we've built a network of incredible producers and studio musicians who can provide you with pre-made or custom work based on your needs.
From pianists to guitarists to vocalists to electronic producers, we've got you covered. Getting custom production made is the best way to ensure you have a quality, fully tracked out instrumental and complete ownership of your music. Not only do we connect you with great talent, but we are also there to help along every step of the way. With custom work, you get to be a part of the entire instrumental creation experience, allowing you to give feedback and make changes in real-time.
The benefits of having tracked out instrumentals go beyond audio quality and can be the difference between an average track and an amazing one.
Have any questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!