The official website showcasing the music of Yellowgold, produced by Jason Howell.

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One more source of inspiration!

I'm not sure how I forgot to list this, but it donned on me halfway through yesterday and I had to give myself a big headslap as a result. I've gleaned SO MUCH valuable insight from the following source. And if you are a regular listener/viewer of podcasts, this should fit nicely into your weekly playlist:


Pensado's Place: Grammy Award winning mixing engineer Dave Pensado KILLS IT each and every week with a 1+ hour podcast dedicated to the art of mixing music. Dave brings on guests from all over the music industry, and asks specific questions about how each and every one of them approaches the art of recording, mixing, mastering and song writing. It's not your typical "who are your influences" kind of Q&A but specifically geared towards the questions an up and coming engineer might ask about the tools they use, the technical approaches they execute, and the theory the hold that enhances their work.

On top of this, Dave devotes time each week so a segment called Into the Lair, where he focuses on a single piece of the engineering puzzle. In recent weeks, he's focused on topics like How to Use Reference Mixes, Sidechain Compression Techniques, and Mixing Background Vocals. This segment is also a wondering reference library as each one is posted as its own video, along with being included in the full Pensado's Place episode each week.

Finally, Dave dedicates a portion of each show to what he calls Batter's Box. He asks the guest to answer a stream of questions with the first plugin or process that pops in their head. Things like "Kick drum", "Mic for recording vocals", and "compression settings for acoustic guitar." It is INCREDIBLY insightful to know how the industry vets approach these topics in their own productions, and gives the amateur producer a good idea of places to start on their own.

I can't recommend Pensado's Place enough. If you are passionate about these topics, this is a weekly FREE podcast that is guaranteed to pique your interest and motivate you to make better mixes.

Sources of inspiration

These are the sources I check when I'm looking to open my eyes to new things to focus on when producing music:


Tape Op: Probably my all-time favorite magazine, it's emphasis is entirely focused on music production, with an indie slant. Filled to the brim with interviews with Producers, musicians, engineers, designers of plug-ins and hardware, and a TON of reader feedback that's actually incredibly valuable. Let me put it this way: This magazine beats every magazine on the market when it comes to finding inspiration and insight in the experience and stories of other folks equally passionate about this industry as you might be. Oh, did I bury the lede? It's completely free. Go subscribe and get this sent to your door bi-monthly for nothing. DO IT.


Sound on Sound: The only audio magazine I'd ever pay any money for (well, unless Tape Op went pay-only). SOS is a UK publication dedicated to *serious* in-depth hardware reviews, great interviews with some big names in music production, EXCELLENT how-to's broken out by software, and so much more. Plus its huge so you get a lot every month. Their online database covers the entire history of their publication and is filled with a treasure chest of information that is searchable on a whim. Subscription is pricey at $60 per year ($99 for 2 years up from, so there's that) but it's an incredible publication with little to no fluff compared to the competition. Just straight up awesome content and smart writers.


Audible: I'm a HUGE fan of Audible, and since signing up more than two years ago, I've enjoyed a never-ending list of awesome rock/producer/songwriter bios and autobiographies. Looking for a few picks?


Reddit: Say what you will about Reddit, one thing it's REALLY good at is mobilizing like-minded people into sharing their thoughts freely. A few subreddits that are DAILY visits for me are WeAreTheMusicMakers and AudioEngineering. In both of these subreddits, you'll find a ton of people sharing knowledge about every step involved in producing music. There are ways to get your mixes evaluated by strangers with an ear for improvement. (don't expect those you love to EVER give you truly unbiased reviews of your music. It will always sound great to them.)

Other Music: No one source to point you to here, but there is a lot to learn from the artists you love. Listening to your favorite music in times of frustration can be a great way to break out of a creative block, Hell, emulate what you hear! As long as you aren't copying an artists second by second, what you *are* doing is learning how other people write and there is much to learn in that process. You might not even up with a song to release to others, and the song you do end up with might sound a bit to reminiscent of some famous song, but its what you learn along that way that can ultimately be applied to your own music later on. It becomes a tool in your belt.