Let me start off by saying it's been a bit since I've posted a new blog post. I'm going to get back on track and write new content regularly now.
I have been looking into purchasing a new cardioid condenser microphone for quite a while and have shuffled through dozens of YouTube videos, blogs, articles and talked with industry professionals to try to determine which microphone I should get next.
After lots of deliberation I decided that for the money I was currently willing to spend the RØDE NT1A was the best option. For $239 (U.S. Dollars) you can get a brand new mic+custom shock mount w/ pop blocker+xlr cable. I honestly feel the NT1A is comparable to pretty much any microphone FOUR TIMES the cost. That in and of itself is a feat, and simply mind boggling!
I have been blessed to record and mix sessions done with vintage Neumann's, Telefunken's, and AKG's. I have also worked with cheaper and slightly more expensive microphones than the NT1A, so I'm not just blowing hot air. I'm speaking from some experience. The NT1A is so quiet and the pristine quality of the sound captured is simply beautiful. As Graham Cochran from the RecordingRevolution.com said in this video; "It sounds like what you put in front of it", and I couldn't agree more. Unlike many affordable microphones the NT1A is not shrill, wirey or top end screechy sounding. If you look at the frequency chart for the NT1A you will see that it has a generally flat and well rounded response. There is a natural, subtle and well measured boost starting at around 3,000 kHz up to past 10,000. Oddly there is also a slight boost around 150 Hz that gives the microphone a lovely warmth and tonal quality along with a cut starting just below 100 Hz.
The microphone itself is solidly built IN Australia by Røde themselves, not in China. It has the high quality production and goes through a rigorous testing process, so with all of that combined you know you're getting a fantastic product. The design has a look somewhat hinting to the Neumann u67. You can feel the quality when you hold the mic and look at it, for a condenser on the small to average size there is nothing to complain about. The microphone has branding logos around the bottom of the capsule ring there is also a golden metal dot to indicate the side the diaphragm is facing. There is no pad or signal pattern switches, this is just a simple, cut and dry, high quality, great sounding mic that you cannot beat for the money. 9/10, would recommend and I'm confident I will buy another in the future along with other RØDE products.
I have recently been re-evaluating and re-planning how I will move forward with my music career. There are 2 main things that I have targeted and am changing. Like with a ship, these two things are very important, let's talk about why.
It is crucial to stay consistent in the music industry. It is very important to stay connected with fans and the network of other artists, musicians and industry professionals that you have built relationships with. I am speaking from experience, I took somewhat of a break for about a year and some change because of a terrible experience I had with someone from the industry. As a result I lost connections I had built with fans, other musicians and professionals. I didn't do much to post and release consistent content and I wasn't engaging people. Looking back, I wish I hadn't crawled into a hole, but I have no regrets personally because I can't change my actions and I can't dwell on it. No matter what happens, if you have a goal and a dream, just keep pushing and working!
For several years I have done everything involving Above Stars completely on my own. I was creating all my content alone, I was doing all my music production, managing and interacting with hundreds if not thousands of people online on a daily basis and booking shows and doing all the little details and things that went into building brand awareness and building a foundation for the Above Stars name. After several years and consistent work I did manage to build a significant online presence in a short amount of time, but then I stopped. Since taking the time to truly re-evaluate how I was doing things, re-educating myself and then deciding to give a new, big push in the industry; I realized I needed to build a team around myself to help me reach my goals. Every artist or band needs a group of professionals or at the very least extremely dedicated fans or friends who are willing to do what it takes to help the musician out. Never underestimate the power of a team.
Make sure to check out my new single 'All Of My Heart' on iTunes, GoogplePlay and other digital stores OR stream it on Spotify, Deezer and more!
For the last year or so I had been seriously looking to replace my Sabian B8 cymbals that I bought about 8 years ago. At first when I bought them I admittedly didn't know too much about cymbals. I mainly bought them because they were the most affordable cymbals I could find with decent reviews and at the time I liked the way they sounded, initially at least.
Now don't get me wrong, for the style of music I was playing and what I needed them for they worked fine. But over time as I researched and heard different cymbals my taste and opinion changed in a couple years. I didn't get new cymbals and I wasn't in a hurry to because I didn't really need them. I had broken a couple of them because I am a pretty heavy hitter I guess, but other than that they held up fine.
A couple months ago I was really looking at cymbals and I came across Wuhan's hand hammered, B20 alloy cymbals. I have owned a couple Wuhan China cymbals and still play one to this day and love it! But I had NO clue they make a couple regular cymbal lines and an effects line. At first I was skeptical and also shocked to find out. I researched a bunch of YouTube videos and listened to the samples on their website and I was blown away. I read reviews, checked out the prices online and I literally could not believe my eyes. That's when I knew I was going to buy a set of them. I sold my old one's to Guitar Center through their buy back program and made exactly what I expected to make. (TIP: clean your items and make sure they are in the best appearance and operational quality possible before selling back to the store. You'll get a bit more money for your items, a lot of it has to do with the quality and condition of what you're selling them.)
I ended up purchasing the Western Style Cymbal Set from Wuhan because it was the most affordable route to get essentially the cymbal sizes I wanted and it came with a free cymbal bag; which I needed because my old one was tattered to pieces. The set came with 14" hi-hats, a thin 16" crash and a 20" medium thin ride. I also purchased an 18" thin crash and a 10" splash. Now I did end up buying an 8" Sabian B8 Pro effect splash also because I was making a splash stacker and I wanted a cymbal that contrasted in sound from the Wuhan splash. All together I ended up spending LESS than $400.
Purchasing any of these items through the provided links gives me a small commission.
Anyone that plays drums knows that the high end, hand hammered cymbals made by any of the big or custom companies will cost $300+ for just ONE cymbal. When I tell you this is literally the best deal you will find for your money as far as quality, sound, appearance or any other criteria, I am not joking. I absolutely love the way these things sound! There is so much texture and detail in the sound and they have a nice wash and sound completely unique to any other cymbals I have heard. I recommend these to anyone as a main cymbal set or a practice or back up set!
My new single 'All Of My Heart' is available now on digital music stores and streaming worldwide. Check it out!
A couple of months ago I was perusing through YouTube when a video by Andrew Huang caught my attention. He was comparing a $22 condenser mic (now $23.99), a Shure SM58, a Shure SM7B microphone and a $3600 Neumann U87.
If you know anything about recording or music production you know that Neumann microphones are basically the Holy Grail of microphones. Although many recording engineers would argue that the U67 and U47 are far better sounding, the U87 is at least somewhat in the grasp of the more average person as far as price is concerned. Anyway! After watching this video I was surprised and interested. I figured for just $22 I would buy the mic and try it for myself just out of curiosity. I read the raving positive reviews on Amazon and did some other research and decided for the price, it would be a fun experiment just to see what $22 can buy for a condenser microphone. So I bought the Neewer NW-800.
I was shocked to say the least! I would definitely recommend this microphone to just have as something extra in your mic locker, especially for the price. The sound has a nice warmth and texture to it. Many cheap "high end" microphone brands have a boosted high end and sound shrill, thin and tin-y. The Neewer NW-800 manages not to sound that way, somehow!
Even if you don't end up using this microphone often, I would say that it's still worth the price! It has a nice appearance and if you ever did a video (if you are an artist or band) or had an artist come to your studio to film a video, it would serve as a nice prop at the very least. The microphone came with a metal shock mount with padding, a wind screen, and an XLR to 1/4" input jack cable.
Purchasing through the provided link will give me a small commission.
Look for a new blog post next Monday!
My new single 'All Of My Heart' is available worldwide on digital music stores and streaming!
There's a fine line we walk as musicians, between what's trendy and our own musical ideas. Often times I'll hear a new song that might have a new sound and I'll think to myself; "Oh, I can do that!" But this is a really bad way of thinking.
With the oversaturation of the music industry there is so much for people to choose from. If we all heard something and then thought to ourselves; "Oh, I can do that!", then went and used that song as a template for our own song and made it generally sound the same, chances are that your song is not going to stand out or have much of an appeal factor. It's funny how being genuine and creative really stands out in music. If we all went about basically copying other people's songs it would be a very boring world. It's so important to push yourself and your limits and find the sound and feeling that truly exemplifies who you are and what you think and feel.
This does not only go to our music, this goes to everything about your music and you or your band as a product. Find the look and feel that is comfortable for you, do what is expressive for yourself and others WILL notice. Be real. Be genuine.
My new single All Of My Heart comes out at midnight tonight, June 6, 2017.
New blog every Monday!
As musicians I know we all dream of being able to make money with our music. Some of us hope to make tons of money and some of us just hope to make some extra cash. Let me just tell you now, that with like all things. It's not easy.
As a musician you will have to diversify your income in any way you can. This might mean mastering multiple crafts that are relevant in the field of music like; recording, songwriting, teaching. Maybe even things that are useful for other musicians or even businesses like graphic design, videography or marketing/social media managing. You might even have to get a part time job to have a steady income flow. These are things you might not want to do, but it's the route you'll need to take in order to get to the end goal of making your own music for a living. Without money it's very difficult to properly market and fund your own project or band. Even with all the free tools we have in 2017 and beyond, you still have to have money to pay for marketing campaigns online to build buzz around a new song, music video or album you have coming out. The best way to get word out to new people is through a good marketing campaign and ads. Word of mouth on social media is a good free alternative, but with the saturation of the music industry today it's difficult to stand out. You have to have eye popping content and solid sounding music and recordings. All of this takes money. Whether it means you buy your own equipment to record or make a video, or you go to a recording studio or hire a video director.
My advice to someone trying to make money doing music is to diversify your income stream as much as you possibly can. Don't turn down any gigs or extra jobs and always do your best to network, build contacts and relationships with others who can help you and who you can also help. Friendships build the roads to your success. And remember, like the old saying goes. You have to spend money to make money.
Look for a new blog post next Monday!
I've been contemplating writing a blog for the longest time now and I've finally gotten to the place where I'm ready to tackle this. The nice thing is that it's easy for me to do, I just have to attach it to my website! So ... here goes my first blog post!
There is probably about a million words of advice I could give to anyone trying to make it in the music industry, but out of all of those there is one that clearly stands out, head and shoulders above the rest. In order to become successful there are a handful of things that have to go into an artist or band to get the right outcome, it's like a carefully measured chemical compound. A lot of discipline and steady work has to be put into marketing yourself, writing good songs, getting high quality recordings, having eye grabbing social media posts and things like that. But out of all the things that go into becoming successful in the music industry the number one thing is consistency.
I say that because out of all the time I spent devoted to developing the Above Stars brand, I think the number one thing that I personally have lacked is consistency. I have remained active on social media and I have occasionally released new music and videos, but if I had been able to keep up the pace that I had a few years ago when I had more free time, I think I would be far more successful now. It's difficult to push past the worries and business of life to continue to devote so much time to constantly release and post new content like songs, covers, vlogs/videos, pictures, statuses and things like that. As an independent artist you HAVE to push yourself to do these things because you more than likely don't have extra helping hands to do it for you. It's important to stay fresh on pop culture and find out ways to make new fresh content that is aligned with what is currently popular and come up with ways to make your posts have your own twist on things.
All of this can be very draining and time consuming, but if you can keep your end goal in mind anything could be possible.
Look for a new blog post next week!