1,729 thoughts on “General Questions”

  1. Hi all: 2 questions.

    Firstly – what are considered the very top of the top music libraries? Id assume its DeWolfe and KPM and what else?

    Also, what are libraries that operate in the same fashion as PremiumBeat and have had similar payouts for you?

    Thanks a bunch

  2. One more question for the day. Anybody using a delta1010 soundcard or similar? I have a couple of peaces of outboard gear left over from before I started doing music in a DAW gathering dust because I haven’t yet figured out how to integrate it into my setup without getting some sort of feedback loop or just weird quality sound happening. I have a DBX 160sl compressor,the original Waves L2 hardware limiter and a vitalizer Mark2-T and a Apogee Rosetta 200 and a couple of distressors. Just not sure yet the best use fr them if at all ( I know the Rosetta and DBX are useful) just haven’t figured out the best use yet.
    If you had this stuff or equivalent, how would you integrate it?
    My workstation is an original Neko 64 by openlabs with the Delta1010lt soundcard.

    • you have distressors? Blimey!
      From what I can gather from your questions I would sell all the -nice- hardware you have (bar the rosetta!) and just mix in the box with good plugins.. it really makes no sense to overcomplicate things for you.

      • I’ve sold most of my hardware. Had a Maney Slam, Avalon eq’s and finalizers and all that and bought my Neko and some stock with the money.
        I know I’m always looking for new ways to use what I have so until I’m pressed for money where I really need to sell it, I’ll hold off and experiment with it. I’ve sold stuff in the past I wish I had kept.
        I’m not using this stuff for right now for the very reason you stated. I wanted simplicity but who knows, I may find a nice simple way of getting the best of both worlds without pulling my hair out doing it and integrate this stuff in a way that suits me…..or not then sell it.

        • pat i want to know your hardware advisor 🙂 … you got the best stuff for the wrong reasons.
          Distressors, hardware L2s are for mixing pros… not composers. composers buy other things first.

          Avalon on the other hand is just the stuff dreams are made of.. if you have an avalon pre amp keep it… a magical pre amp it’s not replaceable with any plug in as it’s not a good mike. Those two you should have.

          • “you got the best stuff for the wrong reasons.”
            How can you say I bought the gear for the wrong reasons when I never stated the reasons?
            Fact is, I always preferred hardware till a few years ago when the Neko workstation came out. At the time I wasn’t impressed with software at all. It’s come a long way since.
            “Distressors, hardware L2s are for mixing pros… not composers. composers buy other things first.”
            Hey bio! Those sounds like “RULES” to me.:)
            I think we covered that. Besides I never said what else I have so maybe I already have the “other things first” composers buy. Not sure what other things you think I don’t have. Like what?
            I’m glad I bought what I did when I could because I can’t now and it’s good enough for whatever I decide to do maybe even become the pro you say it’s really meant for. lol

            • If you want to learn how to drive would you buy a rocket ship first?

              Pat i’m not trying to prove any point here just to help you out and save you some valuable time, and money perhaps.

              From the question you asked here it’s clear that before learning how to use an exotic piece of gear you should get some basics covered first.

              Personally, I’m happy when someone more experienced than me take his/her time to give me any advice.

              And yes, when you start out rules are very good thing to have 🙂

              But hey, to each its own… I wont bother you or anyone else here with more thoughts on mixing. all the best.

              • Cmon now bio. Don’t take offense. None was intended. Put it this way. What’s a kid want when he starts out? A brand new kent guitar or what everybody else says is the snitt like a fender or Gibson Les Paul? I’m not saying they were the wises purchases I ever made but it sounded it good at the time in my life where I thought the most expensive and popular equipment would help make me well, expensive and popular. lol and better than the knowledge I didn’t want at a price I could afford…then.
                Not all my musical purchases were steeped in wisdom. Not all my purchases in anything were steep in purely logical terms. If I was that reasonable, I would probably be trying to do something else for the money I eventually hope to be doing this for.
                Your input is always welcomed and appreciated bio. No worries man.

  3. Stereo or mono for soft synths?
    Do you guys record soft synths on mono tracks or stereo. I’ve always used stereo tracks for recording all software synths like Omnisphere but after checking out some tracks on some of these library sights, I found that while my mixes are pretty ok but they lack some thickness, bigness and separation so I thought it it’s most likely some mixing 101 I’m lacking.
    I use Cubase which gives you the choice of setting up a stereo or mono track to record on. I think the general consensus on recording things like direct guitars or base is mono sources should be recorded to mono tracks for better panning clarity. I recently read that big stereo synth pad plugins are hard to pan because they are pretty much set up to sell more so than being the ideal preset for actual recording which makes sense to me.
    I’m wondering the same thing about vst drums like Superior drummer where they’re already recorded in stereo (I think) and I’ve always used stereo tracks for those BUT, I also read that the individual kit pieces for real drums like kicks should be in mono. Is all that already taken care of in plugins?
    Sorry for the rant but thoughts on any of this or even references to some decent explanations would be appreciated.

    • library “sights”? “base” guitar? oops
      I just realized that it’s the audio tracks that give you a mono stereo choice not the midi tracks. I guess the midi tracks are automatically stereo by default. Now I’m really confused.

      • hey pat midi per se has no mono or stereo.. you have to send the midi data somewhere eg a soft synth.
        If the target instrument is mono the midi channel will playback a mono sound, if the target instrument is stereo, then a stereo sound will be the outcome.

        • “midi per se has no mono or stereo”
          Excellent point. I never realized that until I noticed this morning after posting the stereo mono thread that there was no mono stereo option given in Cubase like there is when setting up audio tracks.

    • Hi Pat,

      First rule is: There are no rules!

      I always record in stereo but don’t necessarily always pan that way. I may pan to the center (stereo), left, right or in between. By recording in stereo I have options. I may also alter any effects and EQ that are on the patch (almost always).

      Real drums are always going to have a certain amount of stereo built in just from the bleed of the overheads, other drum mics or room mics. Lots of times those may be gated to cut down on bleed, especially mics on the toms. Once again no rules just your preference and every mix is different.

      Kick and bass, generally mono and center. Guitar mono but you might add a slight delay effect for the opposite pan position.

      I’ve engineered, produced and mixed literally hundreds if not thousands of live sessions and mixing can still drive me a little nuts!

      • Hey Art,
        Thanks for the input.
        Yeah, I’ve always done things pretty much my way realize there are basically no rules in a broad sense but I also realize there are some basic self imposed rules (things we would do and things we would never do) that we establish for ourselves over time in order to get consistent results every time. Maybe I’ve established some crappy habits that is a never do for someone getting better results than me.
        Just feeling out what some of that might be. Cumulatively,that could be the difference between my results and your results. I want some of somebody elses results as well as my own. I’m greedy for better quality. Could be just little things adding up like rolling off low frequencies(or not)for more head room or louder clearer mixes just for example if you know what I mean.Things like that.
        I just picked the stereo question as a starting point plus it’s an easy fix if my way is the optimal way to get the best results (subjectively speaking ofcourse).

        • “I just picked the stereo question as a starting point plus it’s an easy fix if my way is “NOT” the optimal way to get the best results.” sorry

          • >Do you guys record soft synths on mono tracks or stereo.<

            As always, the answer is "it depends" which is not helpful at all. 🙂 I find stacking stereo synth tracks can muddy up a mix and take away definition. So like Art I pan some stereo tracks. I find converting them to mono before panning can help a mix breathe.

            Art – I'd like to point Pat to a few articles I've published recently about mixing. If that's okay let me know. If not, just delete this part of my post. Thanks, Michael

            • Hi Michael,
              Thanks for the input. Useful stuff.
              If posting the links is a problem maybe you can pm me.

              • actually the answer is a resounding ‘yes’:) if you are recording Atmosphere always use stereo or the fx will be downmixed to mono which is horrible, you don’t want that…never convert to mono a stereo source, that’s a false solution.
                REAL analog synth it’s another matter altoghether they are mono from the outset most of the time so it makes no sense to record them stereo.
                In brief stereo source: keep it stero.
                Mono source: eg voice, bass, guitar analog synths keep it mono and add stereo with fx… this is just for starter the weird unorthodox stuff come later

                • Ah yes biomicro. A yes and a why.Thanks. While I do subscribe to the no rules philosophy, an open mind is a virtue on both sides of the argument. Open mind to experiment and not restrict myself hence, no rules,but also an open mind to accepting tried and true methods that in a sense, become rules because they are tried and true. As long as it helps me create something better than I’m getting now, yet doesn’t stifle creativity or load me down with much more than I want to know at this later stage in my life I’m for it.
                  You can teach this old dog new tricks just don’t try and make me roll over. lol

                  • no worries… no rules is a rule only people that have followed the rules for a while can afford to take 🙂

              • Cool. An article I wrote called “Mixing and the Stereo Field” was published in Recording Magazine the November 2011 issue. And one called “Mixing Live Drum Tracks” was in the January 2012 issue. If you don’t subscribe here are links to purchase those back issues. Recording doesn’t provide back articles for free unfortunately.



                Also, check out “Mixing the Ultimate Guide” from the makers of “Computer Music”. I did not contribute to this but I have a copy and would recommend it.

                • Nice Michael. You also just reminded me that I have a bunch of old Computer music and Music tech mmagazines probably close to 75 of them I had stored away when I quit doing music for a while some time ago. Time to dig them back out. The products may be dated but most of the recording articles are still relevant.
                  I completely forgot I had them. This’ll be like new again.
                  On top of that, I’m going to Red Lobster. I, I’m overwhelmed!

    • Hey Pat,
      @Stereo or mono for soft synths?

      While I’m not really qualified to contribute here, I’m happy to share some things I picked up from one of my Berklee online instructors that works pretty well IMHO.

      -It is a good idea to limit your mix to one true stereo synth patch. You may have 2, 3, or 4 great sounds going on that are all great in stereo, but they will likely clutter up the mix and get muddy. Keep your favorite one centered in stereo and make the others mono. Then give each mono synth it’s own space in the stereo field.

      -We also analyzed some different pop mixes and learned that while drum kits are usually in full stereo (in either drummer perspective or audience perspective), it is also not uncommon to put drums/loops center/mono to make more room for vocals or instruments in the stereo field.

      Once again Pat, your post are right along the lines of where I am in this game. Thanks for your posts, and thank to all those responders that teach me so much.

      • Good to hear from you Alan,
        Thanks for sharing that. This is THE site for this stuff. Bunch of people here willing to share without some of the condescending attitude I got sick of on some of the other blogs. The guys here (and girls) seem to respect that we’re not all at the same level in this business.
        Thanks folks. I don’t have to decide if my questions are good enough for the members here.

        • Like most advise bio, you take what you can use and throw out the rest. Whether or not it does any good in my hands we’ll see but I’ll try it for free.

        • @biomicro. “That berklee advice is really nonsense…”

          There are no hard and fast rules but dismissing it out of hand is “nonsense”. It also shows little respect for Alan’s well intentioned comment.

          • @Art well why should alan be offended?… my comment was on berklee’s advice not alan’s

            and if you think about it you’ll see we’re saying exactly the same thing.

            no disrespect here, just trying to save the one of us who have less experience in the field of mixing a bit of time…

        • convert to mono what exactly? that’s way too generic.. if it’s a softsynth VERY probably has fxs attached to…never convert to mono if you don’t know exactly what your doing.
          Letting a mix breathe has very little to do with how many stereo instruments you have and a lot to do with your mixing skills… 🙂

          • ” softsynth VERY probably has fxs attached to…never convert to mono”
            I actually ran across that statement in my google mix searches this morning that it could do some unwanted things in mono.

    • Hi Pat

      I will answer your question about soft-synths hopefully.

      1. Record a stereo instrument in Stereo, even better let it run live in the mix if possible (see answer 3)
      2. Its not a question of mono or stereo, its about placement in the stereo field. I will use the Protools mixer channel as an example. On a stereo track you have a pan pot for each side L/R. This in enables you to narrow or offset the perceived stereo position. It may end up as a mono sound or any width of stereo you desire at any point in a L/R field.
      3. If a stereo soft synth “collapses” when you change its stereo width/field there are phase problems there. Not good. At this point if running live you can alter the source soft-synth as you change its stereo position.
      4. As Art said, there are no rules to this, if a stereo soft-synth it works in mono then it works in mono, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. This is a pointless debate.


      5. Experience has taught me over the years that more than a couple of stereo soft-synths playing at the same time usually will require positioning them at different places in the stereo field.

      I too have bought a few totally useless pieces kit LOL, Who hasnt?

  4. What I’m saying Pat is that a lot of these libraries waste huge amounts of composers time, as if our time in their eyes is useless.
    I’m sick and kind of offended seeing hords and hords of these non-exclusive libraries act like they are legitimately moving music and they aren’t getting any traffic at all on the internet. Your music will just sit there forever, and they don’t give a rats A that they just wasted your valuable time.
    A semi experience library composer says to himself,…
    “hey this library is making a killing off of my stuff and doing nothing, why don’t I just start up a library and waste stupid composers time that will submit and do all the dirty work of filling out metadata and I can site back and get 50% of their hardwork.”
    This is honestly what they think, so they start up a library and find out its incredible hard work, and they have not contacts or business. So they don’t do anything with it.

    Brand new non-exclusive libraries need to offer compensation for the time you spend uploading and data entering.

    Its composers screwing composers time when a new non ex library comes about.
    So all I was saying is its most likely not worth the effort.
    Even if this library has been around for ages its not moving music.
    But who knows, maybe all of a sudden it will strike a deal with Universal right?

    I just joined a non-exclusive library and he is just starting out. I thought what the heck I’ll send him my non-ex library because I don’t have to fill out data. But THEN…he writes back and is seriously picky about 15 of the tracks and very politely asks if I could edit them. Probably a whole days worth if not more of editing. I should’ve said…well are you going to pay me, because no offense but you have no track record, do you think my time is useless and I’ll work for you for free???? I wish I could say this library’s name, but he was a nice guy at least. But clearly thinks composers will work for free!

    • I hear what you’re saying J but that’s wasn’t where I was going with my inquiry right now. I may or may not follow through after they’ve listened to my tracks but it would have more to do with pricing and splits than anything else right now.
      This is what their traffic is looking like.
      I like to do a little due diligence when I can on the sites I’m checking out then come here if I can’t find it or don’t understand something.

    • There’s a trend on this forum that is troubling — library bashing by discontented writers. The current myth is that library owners just sit back and collect money from writers’ “hard” labor.

      Here’s the sad reality J3h43f4…composers ARE a dime a dozen. Actually, let me clarify that writers trying to license music are a dime a dozen and, depending upon the genre, perhaps five cents a dozen. The current market conditions exist simply because of the number of writers competing for a finite amount of work.

      There is far more music out there than there is need, and much of it is not useable.
      Why would you not want to “waste” a whole day of your time if it would make your music more marketable?

      • Well said Michael. My post had nothing to do with the state of the library business. All I asked was if a libraries adoption of this technology connecting it with sites like YouTube and Vimeo would somehow cause problems with composer rights. That’s all. The response to me did not seem to be even the slightest attempt to answer my question but rather an opportunity to vent in general terms. Most would almost call it high jacking where you change the subject to make it your own.
        Not saying J3h43f4 did or didn’t have a valid point but it definitely was an irrelevant one based on my original question.
        I just didn’t feel like going there and instead waited for a more helpful and relevant answer to my question which I got.

        • Hi Pat,

          I understood what your question was, and it seemed to me that J3h43f4 was venting in the wrong direction.

          Despite all of the competition it IS possible to do well in this business. Just look at a writer like Mark Petrie. But, when people don’t do well they blame the libraries. Composers rarely look at their own work and ask themselves if it is useable or if the quality is good enough.

          You have sought to increase your knowledge and to improve your product from day one. That’s something that’s I really respect about you Pat.

          Best of luck,


      • Library bashing for the sake of it is pointless, There absolutely no definitive answer to the exclusive/non exclusive debate. The great thing about this site that it has given info on ALL libraries. There are great RF/non exclusives out there as well as terrible ones. We all should know this by now from a brief reading of this site alone.

        It is only common sense, with the proliferation of cheaper recording that there is loads of music out there. The question every composer needs to ask him/herself is what can I do to improve and make myself stick out from the crowd.

        IMHO the libraries to go for, whether they be exclusive or not are the ones out there already with a track record. They have a huge advantage over others, its called clients. Like any business you build up a client base. I know for a fact on Audiosparx I have sold to the same client multiple times. This kind of operation takes time and effort.

        Either way Pat, keep asking questions its the only way to learn. I think the most dangerous assumption anyone can make, in this fast moving business is that they definitively know the answer, or worse, to make a blanket judgement on something.

        • “The question every composer needs to ask him/herself is what can I do to improve and make myself stick out from the crowd.”

          You are exactly right, Denis. To that I would add..that writers need to do their homework. If dance music only accounts for 3% of library’s sales, and all that you produce is dance music don’t blame the library if your tracks don’t sell. It’s a reflection of the market (their client base). That goes for any genre.

      • Michael you only skimmed my post and didn’t really understand what I was saying.

        You missed my point completely.

        If you read my post again you’ll see that your actually agreeing with my post.

        My post was against composers trying to start brand new libraries and asking for composers time for free.

        You thought I was just library bashing when it was more specific than that. True I shouldn’t have derailed Pats request but I was just trying to save him bloody time.
        Woods agrees with me…
        “IMHO the libraries to go for, whether they be exclusive or not are the ones out there already with a track record.”

    • They have no internet activity, and they only accept submissions through snail mail. They are from Greece.

      • Actually, they do accept by sending a link which I did but I was more concerned about the connection with them and the link I posted an what it means.

        • Hey Pat, It looks like new software they have that connects youtube(or similar site) with their site, which allows the client to test songs in their productions. I don’t think it has anything to do with contentid or similar services. That’s what I got out of it.

          Audiosparx has something called “studio download privileges” not exactly the same but the same concept.

          I don’t think it would devalue the music, just a tool to help the end user.

  5. When a company in general whether it’s exclusive or non-exclusive, gives a brief for a pitch, is it typical you just submit with what you have or should one be asking for demo fee? Or now day and age, is this unheard of asking for a fee? Or is this something you ask when you are just freelancing on your own and dealing directly with client yourself? Just trying to get a feel on this area.

  6. Hi!
    I have a question regarding rf libraries… I’ve had a couple approach me asking for my full catalog but I had been submitting only instrumental pieces or public domain covers to the royalty free libraries. Most of my catalog is singer/songwriter stuff. I didn’t know if it lowers the value of my songs (that are in non-exclusive libraries) to have them in rf collections or if those licensing companies are catering to an entirely different audience. Anyone have any advice on this?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Emma

      All RF libraries are not equal. AudioJungle is NOT remotely the same model as Audiosparx for instance. If you are talking about selling songs or intrumentals for $1 then yes it does devalue your music in liisencing terms. This is why the bigger RF sites won’t use tracks from the “bargain basement ” ones.

    • “I didn’t know if it lowers the value of my songs (that are in non-exclusive libraries) to have them in rf collections”

      That is a tough question. Are the songs that are in non-exclusive libraries earning decent sync license fees?

      My thinking is this, lately, sync fees have dried up. Non-exclusive libraries are making blanket deals with production companies and the only money composers see is backend royalties. My average royalty for a blanket cable TV placement based on the ASCAP statement out a few days ago is $1.56. If I sell the same track on a RF site say for $40.00 and keep 1/2 of that or $20.00 I make more than ten times the $1.56. My reasoning may be flawed and I would want to be the LAST person to devalue music, but the math seems to say that the value favors RF. And, music sold at an RF site could also earn backend money.

      I did have a couple CBS placements earning much more than $1.56. But that was via an exclusive contract. And I do still get the occasional decent sync fee. In the case of those fees, I suppose I could have lost out if they found it on a RF site for $40.00. And I DON’T want to devalue any music by offering it cheap. But until all composers and libraries insist on collecting sync fees, this is where we stand. Isn’t it? Does a track earning $40.00 at an RF site have more value than a track earning $1.56 for the writer and $1.56 for the publisher?

      • @ Mike:
        I’m agreeing with you here.Remember these publishers are making
        deals and getting front end fees as well.None for the writers.
        I’ve seen some articles recently about more royalties for writers though.
        PRO’s have agreed to pay out more.
        I don’t know how many more pennies will be added to writers share of the pie.
        And so the micro money goes.The pennies metal is worth more than the penny itself.

        • @Dan and @Michael – thanks so much for the answer! That makes a lot of sense. I’ve had a handful of good placements from the non-exclusives but nothing very steady. I am pretty new to the whole royalty-free thing so I truly appreciate your input.

          • Hello michael sync fees have dried up for everyone, majors or esclusive included.

            Everyone does blanket licence, every major brodcaster has one, so if you are published by anyone else than you, you will fall into it.

            the only tiny pasture left is royalties (which in my opinion shouldn’t be called backend royalties), one time usage fee (hence the retitling business models) and perhaps the more promising one, fees attached to single downloads through apps…

            Roaylties are dieing a slow death unfortunately

      • Hi Michael

        $1.56 is the reality. (you should know, you wrote the book). Why so many writers see licensing as a path to riches, or even earning a living. I don’t know why.

        About 10 years ago, I placed a cue on Good Morning America, and they used the WHOLE TRACK. It paid a few hundred dollars. However, with a lot of shows today, editors use only snippets of a cue, maybe 10 or 15 seconds. That only pays pennies. The shortest cue that I’ve been paid for was ONE SECOND in Jesse James Hidden Treasure on the History Channel.

        That is why I’ve said, and other have said, it’s a “numbers game.” If you want to make 50K per year, you need 1000 cues that each generate $50 per year. That’s sort of a crude formula, but it’s the general idea. Individual cues that make a lot of money are rare.



        • “About 10 years ago, I placed a cue on Good Morning America, and they used the WHOLE TRACK. It paid a few hundred dollars”

          I’ve probably mentioned it here before but 10 years ago it was the soaps for me. A minute or more feature placement with vocals could earn eight or nine hundred. We can’t live in the past but the $1.56 for 10 seconds reality is depressing.

          “That is why I’ve said, and other have said, it’s a “numbers game.” ”

          It’s kind of ironic. Part of the problem of devaluation is there is too much music out there but the solution is to create more music…

          • @ Michael Nickolas

            Have the PRO rates gone down or is it just less music is used in the States. By what you guys are saying over there it seems that your rates are well below what they are in Europe. I understand you have a lot of cable channels etc.
            An interesting fact is that a big Saturday night show in the UK will get 15 million plus viewers. I dont think your biggest shows (excluding The Superbowl ) get those kind of numbers despite being 5 times the population. Too many channels ?

          • HI Michael,

            There’s a huge difference between 60 seconds on a soap (network broadcast) with vocals and 10 seconds of non-vocal background music on cable.
            1) Network pays far more than cable
            2) Music with vocals pays far more than non-vocal background music
            3) 60 seconds, obviously more than 10 seconds

            60 seconds of vocal music on a network broadcast probably still pays 100’s of dollars. And 10 seconds on a cable channel may be only $1.56.
            I looked at some old statements :01 in Jesse James Hidden Treasure on the History Channel paid from $.01 to $.40, depending on the time of day. :20 in Four Weddings on the Learning Channel paid $.94 to $1.88, depending on the time of day.
            That’s the reality of it. So, if a show airs 10 times, you might make $20.

            • Another reality of this business is that catalogs “age.” Some music has a shelf life. As such, royalties for some music, particularly “trendy” music will diminish over time as tastes change. 10 years from now Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars soundalikes will be gathering dust. Changes in technology will also result in a catalog sounding “old.”

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