Max McAllister
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Max is a Los Angeles-based writer, musician, and engineer at the Brewery Recording Studio.

Sidechain Compression Techniques for Better Mixes

Sidechain compression is a very common, but often considered “advanced,” mixing technique. If you’ve made it this far to be curious about it, you’re probably pretty familiar with how compressors generally work. If not, there’s always time for a quick…

How to Tune Vocals

Vocal tuning can really be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. Real-time pitch correction with plugins like Auto-Tune or Waves Real-Time is very effective, especially when working with a solid vocalist. In these instances, you…

What is Vocal Tuning?

It’s no secret that vocalists sometimes need a little assistance to hit the perfect pitch. Even the most talented singers can sometimes hover, sharp or flat, around the note they’re trying to sing. An engineer might also have an otherwise…

Michael Romanowski: Grammy-Nominated Mastering Engineer
Michael Romanowski is a Grammy-nominated mastering engineer from the San Francisco Bay Area, currently based in Berkeley. He is the owner and chief mastering engineer of Coast Mastering, as well as the co-founder and co-owner of an exclusive reel-to-reel tape record…
Al Schmitt: The Most Successful Engineer of All Time

Al Schmitt is a recording engineer and and producer. At 88 years old, with a career spanning 7 decades, Schmitt has won 23 Grammy Awards and recorded/produced over 150 gold and platinum albums. Needless to say, he is the most…

Tricks and Tips to Compress Vocals

Learning to mix an up-front, exciting vocal doesn’t happen overnight. Arguably the most important aspect of a song, a great sounding, competitive vocal has the power to stand out from the pack. But how do we even get there? Knowing…

Creative Techniques for Mixing Vocals

Vocals are one of the most important elements in a song, regardless of genre. It’s safe to say that how you approach mixing vocals can make or break your track. Have you ever heard a hit record, or even just…

Mixing Music: Understanding the Basics

Mixing music requires both technical ability and the creativity to try things that would make a song compelling and interesting to listeners. Mix engineers firstly possess the technical knowledge of audio signal flow, DAW and/or console operation, and how to…

The Difference Between Mixing and Mastering

Mixing and mastering are the two essential processes in polishing and finalizing a recorded song. If you’re making music that you plan to sell, or use to promote yourself (i.e., not a demo), you’ll want to invest some time into…

Recording Vocals in Your Home Studio

From a logistics standpoint, recording vocals in your home studio seems like one of the easiest things to do. It’s a single microphone, and an artist and engineer can simply track with headphones, together in the same room, with no…

Music Marketing Tips: How to Have Your Music Heard

The music business in the 21st century is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the web and digital recording have allowed anyone to record and post their music online for immediate consumption. This is an amazing leap from the days when music had…

Best Recording Software for Your Home Studio

We’ve covered recording software quite a bit over the past few months, taking a look at both the top inexpensive options, the best free daws as well as the best-of-the-best in digital audio production. And while we can’t in good…

Chatting with Peter Freestone: Freddie Mercury’s Friend & Assistant

I’m very excited about today’s interview. I feel very blessed to be talking with Mr. Peter Freestone, who was Freddie Mercury‘s personal assistant for about 12 years! As you know I’m a HUGE Queen fan- they’re one of the reasons why…

The Biggest Advantages to Mixing with Headphones

In general, mixing with headphones exclusively isn’t advised. You’ll want to have a good pair handy to reference your mix on something other than your main monitors, but spending all of your mix time in cans can yield some wonky…

Music Publishing Essentials: Everything You Need to Know

If you aspire to earn income on your compositions, music publishing is one of the most important–and least understood–aspects of the music business. It’s how songwriters make the majority of their money, and how they’re able to earn royalties when…

12 Incredible Songwriting Tips that Work

As musicians, we spend the bulk of our time improving on what we do. We’d probably all agree that every new project we start (and sometimes never finish!) is a step towards getting better at songwriting. While there isn’t a…

Recording Drums at Sunset Sound Studio 3

The historic Sunset Sound is a world famous studio where some of the most iconic albums of all time have been recorded. Some of these include Prince’s Purple Rain, the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St., the Beach Boys’ Pet…

Top Microphone Preamps On (and Off!) a Budget

Microphone preamps are the secondary devices in the signal path after the mics themselves. Generally speaking, microphone signals are well below nominal operating level. Preamps amplify these quiet signals to line level, which is the “standard” operating level of recording…

The Ins and Outs of Sound Design

Here at Produce Like a Pro, making music is our top priority! Of course, music production is only one facet of audio engineering. Lest we neglect our sound design friends in the film & television industry, it’s important to familiarize…

The Best Open and Closed-Back Studio Headphones

Studio headphones are an essential piece of equipment to have on hand, generally falling into two broad categories: closed- and open-back. Closed-back headphones provide the greatest isolation with some sacrifice to sound quality. Because they isolate the listener from the…

10 Must-Have Waves Plugins to Add to Your Arsenal

Waves plugins have been around since 1992 when the company first introduced its Q10 Paragraphic EQ. The Q10 broke new technological ground as the first audio plugin ever, with sound quality comparable to, or better than, its hardware equivalents. Over…

How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 10 Tips and Tricks Used by Pros

It’s something that every creative has experienced and will likely face again: the feeling of being totally out of ideas. Inspiration comes to a halt, and starting or finishing a project seems like an insurmountable task. Writer’s block is discouraging and…

Top 10 Home Studio Essentials for Beginners

An efficient home studio set-up is essential for producers, engineers, and musicians of any level. And luckily, the time has never been better to get into the game. Rapid advances in digital technology over the past decade have made home…

Legendary Luthiery: Scott Baxendale & the Baxendale Conversion Process

Scott Baxendale is a renowned luthier who began building custom instruments for Mossman Guitars in 1974. By 1978 he had joined the team at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville–one of the most well-known used, vintage, and collectible instrument dealers in the…

How to Mix Music Using 5 Simple Elements

Mixing music requires both technical ability and the creativity to try things that would make a song compelling and interesting to listeners. Mix engineers firstly possess the technical knowledge of audio signal flow, DAW and/or console operation, and how to…

Haas Effect: What It Is and How It’s Used

The Haas effect is a psychoacoustic phenomenon discovered by Dr. Helmut Haas in 1949. Also known as the “precedence effect,” the law states that when one sound is followed by another with a delay time of approximately 40 ms or…

Free Multitracks: No-Cost Resources to Practice Mixing

It goes without saying that the only way to get better at something is to do it a lot. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete or a carpenter, a musician or a painter; practicing your craft is essential to developing what…

What Is Phase Cancellation?

https://producelikeapro.com/blog/sound-synthesis-basics/Phase cancellation is an acoustic phenomenon in which two or more “out of phase” sound waves result in weakened or lost frequencies. When two identical frequencies are cycling 180° opposite each other, complete phase cancellation occurs. The Science Behind Phase…

7 Stock Pro Tools Plugins Covering All the Basics

Whether a DAW boasts an impressive selection of stock plugins can be a deciding factor when the time comes to choose. If you’ve picked Pro Tools, you’ll have access to over 60 plugins right out of the box. Luckily, stock…

Welcome to 1979: A Nashville Studio Like No Other

Welcome to 1979 is one of Nashville’s finest, most unique recording studios–not only in name! Established by husband and wife duo Chris and Yoli Mara, the studio is currently celebrating its 10th birthday in 2018. The massive 13,000 square-foot facility…

6 Ways to Avoid Writer’s Block

It’s something that every creative has experienced and will likely face again: the feeling of being totally out of ideas. Inspiration comes to a halt, and starting or finishing a project seems like an insurmountable task. Writer’s block is discouraging and…

The Best Free Audio Editors in 2018

Regardless of the type of audio you’re working with, there’s a good chance you’ll want software to help you mix, edit, or directly record the source. It doesn’t matter whether you’re producing music, podcasts, or audio to sync with video;…

6 Steps in Becoming a Better Songwriter

The path to improvement as a songwriter is an on-going, ever-evolving process. As a craft, songwriting is highly individualistic, dictated by a host of personal characteristics. The instrument(s) you play, the genre(s) you most enjoy, and your technical and creative…

How to Write a Song with 10 Helpful Holistic Hints

When it comes to writing music, there’s surely no substitute for a bit of creativity and the keen desire to make something new. Everyone has a method all their own, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t observable parallels between creative…

Best DAW 2018: Getting the Most from Your Software

We’ve covered DAWs extensively over the past several weeks, examining both the top inexpensive options as well as the best-of-the-best in digital audio production. And while we can’t in good conscience crown a single DAW king, we can further look…

Breaking Down Acoustic Treatment for Home Studios

Chances are, unless your home studio was specifically designed for recording and mixing music, it’s a less than ideal listening environment. Professional studios are carefully planned out to eliminate naturally occurring acoustic issues in a way that residential rooms are…

What You Should Know About Analogue Summing

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the analogue vs. digital debate still rages on despite digital’s advancements over the years. Whether you grew up working on analogue equipment or simply call yourself a “purist,” some folks still consider “old-school” recording…

EQ Cheat Sheet: Simple Guidelines for Effective Equalization

Understanding equalization–probably the most widely used signal processor available to engineers–is essential to making records sound their absolute best. Sometimes it’s as simple as high-passing an instrument in the proper spot, while other cases require a bit more attention and…

The Best USB Audio Interfaces On A Budget [$100 or Less]

A short while back, we took a look at the best USB audio interfaces for home studios on a budget. The idea behind the list was to compile some of most tried-and-true interfaces for the home recorder likely needing no…

Is Investing in Audio School Worth It?

I decided to go to audio school after already studying an unrelated field in college. There are a multitude of reasons why it was a great personal decision for me, but it didn’t come without its downsides either. Firstly, it’s important to…

A Closer Look at the Focal Clear Professional Reference Headphones

Enter to win a pair of these below: a Rafflecopter giveaway I feel like a big kid in a candy store! I saw these headphones for the first time at Vintage King and I’ve heard from many people that these…

The Best Music Production Apps for Mobile

Musicians’ creativity doesn’t come to a halt when they’re on the road. In a perfect world, we’d all have access to the comfort of our home studios 24/7, efficiently churning out music as often as we’d like. But whether you’re…

What Is Audio Clipping and Why Is It Important?

We’ve all heard the dreaded term “audio clipping.” It often shows itself as an admonishing red light in our DAW, on our audio interface, or on our speakers. The result of which is, almost always, scrambling for knobs or faders…

Andrew Wells Interview and East West Studio 3 Tour

At just 22 years old, Andrew Wells has already established himself as an incredibly skilled producer in the industry. We caught up with him at EastWest Studios in Hollywood where he had recently finished tracking Jason Mraz’s latest album. Andrew’s…

Free Multitracks to Hone Your Mixing Skills

It goes without saying that the only way to get better at something is to do it a lot. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete or a carpenter, a musician or a painter; practicing your craft is essential to developing what…

Matt (Linny) Linesch Interview and Studio Tour

Matt (Linny) Linesch is a producer, engineer, and the owner of Infinitespin Recorders in Los Angeles. The studio has a rich history, having been most recently owned by Toto drummer Simon Phillips. It was also once operated by Sheila E.,…

Acoustic Treatment with Bobby Owsinski (Frank Zappa, The Byrds)

Bobby Owsinski is an audio engineer and author, perhaps best known for writing over 20 books on recording, mixing, mastering, and acoustics–many of which have become a part of audio school curriculum. Early in his career, Bobby worked with artists…

The Best Inexpensive Recording Software in 2018

Technically when we use the term “DAW,” short for digital audio workstation, we’re referring to the various components of a studio that allow us to make digital recordings. The computer, audio interface, recording software, and other devices all make up…

Eric Valentine Interview (Queens of the Stone Age, Smash Mouth)

Produce Like a Pro recently had the pleasure of meeting with Eric Valentine at his home studio, which he aptly calls “Topangadise.” Eric joked that he’s spent the majority of his career in windowless control rooms “caves,” so the room…

The Top 7 USB Audio Interfaces for Studios on a Budget

After the computer and DAW, arguably the most important component of any studio is the audio interface. It may seem like spending a fortune is the only way to get the best digital recording and playback quality. However, “you get what you…