June 2017.

So in the first part of the blog we discussed how we go about the recording process inside the studio. In this blog we’ll discuss of the post production aspects that go into making a song.


This is the first step in the post production process, in this step essential the recording engineer goes through the tracks and aligns it with the rest of the performances. Let say we have a drum recording where the Drum roll ends just a little early in time, in this stage such files are time aligned and edited so that all of them lie exactly where they should be.

This also means editing (aligning) the bass file and the rest of the instruments with each other, many a times during the recording process you can get a performance that is accurate upto a certain point, essentially in the editing stage you can correct the accuracy of the performance in pitch and time.

PS: There is no replacement to a good organic performance, if you cant perform right, no amount of editing can fix it. Unless you have the right engineer

Other tasks like comping and arrangement are also done during the editing stage. Arrangement is self explanatory, it means arranging certain elements and sections in the song in a sequence that sounds most exciting for the song. For eg: Intro, Ver1 , Chor1, Vers2, Brigde, Chorus. This could be an arrangement for a song.


Once all the above mentioned process are done to the session, it moves on to the mix phase.

This is what a typical mix session looks like

All the tracks that you have arranged, comped and edited in pitch and time are now layed out so that they can be mixed together to sound like one cohesive unit.

A lot of newbies expect the mixing to do magic to their song and make it sound different, but like the other stages a lot of it depends on the source that youre recording, if its recorded bad on the way in. Its going to sound bad no matter what you do to it.

During the mix the engineer changes various parameters on every track like

  • Volume
  • Panning
  • Timber or EQ
  • Dynamics or Compression
  • Reverb
  • Automation

Volume is pretty self-explanatory, the engineer sets the levels on the instruments with respect to each other. For eg if the vocals are the driving instrument for the song the mix engineer creates a balance wherein the vocals are the loudest with respect to the other tracks.

Panning is where the placement of the track is decided, for eg some tracks are placed either to the right to the left of the center depending on how the engineer wants to shape the sound of the mix. A lot of the sound of the mix depends in the decisions that are taken during all of these stages.

Timber or EQ is where the use of tools of various equalizers is used to change the timber of the instruments. This tool is mostly used so make sure that all the instruments that are recorded are working well with each other tonally. For eg lets say you have a dull sounding voice that lacks the brightness or treble and sounds uncharacteristic, this is where the engineer uses the EQ to add that missing sound to the voice.

Compression: To put this in layman’s term this tool is used to control the dynamics of the song, if the instrument is very loud and soft then this tool lets you control the dynamics of such instruments so that they don’t stand out more than they should. There is a lot more the Compression than this, but for now let’s keep it at that.

Reverb and FX: Pretty self-explanatory again, during this phase the engineer sets the Effects that need to be added to the track, it could the reverb effect on the drums or the voice or the delay on the guitar part.

Automation: Automation means automating certain parameters of the above mentioned tools as the track moves along the song. Say if you want to reverb on the vocals to increase during the chorus, you can use automation to do that. Any parameter can be automate, imagine, so many permutations and combinations. Phew.

TLDR: Mixing is like cooking a perfect meal, you have all ingredients (recorded parts) available to you. Now you make a meal out of it. You might like your food spicy, some might like it zingy. It’s a matter of preference and taste. Basically, you add in all these elements in just the right amount and voila, you have a mix. Sorry a meal.


This is the final stage of the songmaking process, in this stage the mastering engineer decided the final compression and the overall loudness of the song. Here the engineer also makes sure to add finishing touches to make sure that the song that is mixed translates well to the real world listening systems. Various analog or digital tools are used to add a finalizer before the song goes out into the world.

That does sound like a lot of work yeah ? Well, it is. But with the right kind of engineer and team all of this becomes easy. Like I said in the first blog. Do what you do best, Outsource the rest.

We often get questions from people about how the process of recording works. Today we are going to try and breakdown the process of how a song takes shape and how it is built from an idea to an actual song.

I will try and address these points from a layman’s perspective.


Things have changed drastically over the past few decades about how the recording process works. From just using two microphones and tape to record to AD/DA convertors, variants of mic preamplifier to multi-tracking capabilities. I know all of this technical jargon sounds very confusing, but it really isn’t.
Simply put…

In today’s world we record everything digitally in a software that is called the Digital Audio Workstation or D.A.W.

A DAW gives you the capability to record multiple instruments and multiple tracks together into one session.

Essentially, a microphone (or a 1/4 Jack in some cases) is connected to a system which records the signal from the microphone into the computer as digital data. Once recorded this system can play the recorded data back in time for you.

In fact, not just that, you can also maneuver the placement of this recorded data in the session.

Now lets breakdown how a song is created from an idea.

Step 1: Demo!

This is pretty self explanatory. You need to record a guide track. You can either record this on your phone or your home recording setup or also in the studio before you start. This is just so that it gives the artists who will be performing in the song a guide as to where certain sections of the song come in. For example, without the guide track it would be hard for the drummer to just figure out where the chorus or bridge of the song would come.

The guide track also gives the recording engineer or producer what the tempo and the arrangement of the song is.

Step 2: Rhythm Section

As most of you know, the rhythm section is the foundation on which the song is built. In most cases it is best to record the drums first on the demo. Reason being, this drum recording is what the rest of the musicians will follow to record. Imagine a recording session where the musicians are recording to different references, the entire recording would sound out of sync.

TLDR: Everyone follows the Drums and the bass. So we record that first.

Step 3: Record the Harmonic section

Once you’ve built a solid foundation with the drums and the bass, then comes the Harmonic section. This is where you add chords using different instruments like guitar, piano, horns or strings depending on the genre of the music you are trying to create.
You can record multiple harmonic sections using various instruments to highlight the sound that you are looking for.

Step 4: Record the Melodies

Once the outline of the song is laid down, then its time to record the main instrument which will be leading the song. It can anything from Vocals to lead guitar to a violin.

Usually recorded last since this has to sit on top of the arrangement that we have already created.

Step 5: Finishing touches

This is where you add icing on top of the cake, where you add small tweaks and bits and pieces here and there like shakers and small percussion instruments. This could also mean adding an extra guitar layer on top of the arrangement to bring out certain elements.

In theory all of this sounds simple enough to do, but having a dedicated engineer taking care of all of these things makes life easier, like they say: Do what you do best, outsource the rest.

In the second part of this blog we will talk about the stages after recording like editing, comping, mixing and mastering.