CD Versus MP3
If you have created an audio production (or if you're planning on creating one) you might be wondering if you should sell it as a digital download, a physical CD or both. You’re probably already aware of how popular iTunes and other digital music providers have become, but where do MP3 sales really stand in comparison to CD sales?
The StatisticsWhen I first wrote this article in early 2012, global sales of CDs and digital downloads were just about equal. Most forecasts indicated that – at least in the USA - MP3 downloads would outsell CDs in 2012, and that CD sales would continue to decline as the years go by. They weren't wrong. By 2016, CD sales were at a historic low, with most people shifting to digital downloads and digital streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.
Does this mean the end of CDs?In a way, yes, but does this mean you should abandon the idea of selling your audio production in CD format? Definitely not. There are still reasons to support both digital and CD formats, so let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each and decide what’s right for you.
MP3 – The Pro’sEase of distribution: MP3 downloads are a less time consuming product for you to manage. Customers can order and download from your website without you having to send them anything in the mail. Scope of distribution: Having your audio production in MP3 format makes it easier to sell in multiple locations. There are dozens of online stores that will sell your download for you, iTunes and Amazon being just two of them. With MP3’s you can really spread yourself around. Low Production Costs: In contrast to CDs, MP3 audio costs nothing to produce once your recording is complete. The only real cost that you might incur is the cost of paying a graphic designer to whip up a digital cover image for you. Growing market: As already mentioned, sales of MP3 downloads are already very strong, and there is no doubt that they will only continue to increase.
MP3 – The Con’sCopyright infringement: Some people worry that MP3 audio is easier for people to copy and share with other non-paying consumers over the internet. However, keep in mind that many users of programs like iTunes will convert their CD’s into MP3s anyway, which means that any audio media format can be subject to copyright infringement. So even though I have listed this issue as a negative, you should not let this minor concern put you off MP3 audio.
CD’s – The Pro’sIn person product delivery. CDs only make sense if you operate a business in which it is advantageous for you to be able to hand your audio production to someone in person. For example, perhaps you operate a day spa. CDs on the front counter may still be attractive to your visitors. Some hypnotherapists will keep stock of their most popular hypnosis CDs so that they can give them directly to their patients. CDs have been around for a long time and are still favoured by some people. Let's face it - most people have still got a CD player somewhere in their house. I still receive occasional emails from people who want to purchase my music on CD (unfortunately this is not possible as my music has only ever been available digitally). For some people, the tactile experience of holding their purchase in their hand is still very important, but such people are becoming fewer and fewer.
CD’s – The ConsProduction costs: It costs money to duplicate CDs and keep stock of them in reasonable quantities. You’ll pay for a graphic designer to do your album artwork, and if you plan on keeping stock of CDs on hand then expect to spend around $2-5 per CD (depending on the quantities you order). There are some websites, like CD Baby and Createspace, who will manufacture your CDs "on demand". This means that they create CDs one at a time – only when a customer orders one from you. This is a great way to reduce some of the costs that are usually associated with stocking CDs. These online service also handle the shipping for you. Speaking of shipping, that brings us to the next point... Distribution complexity: If you plan on selling CDs from your website, then unless you utilize use one of the above-mentioned distribution resources, it will be up to you to put the CD in the mail, address it, add postage and then drop it in the mail.
Making a final choiceThe most important factor to consider when choosing between CD and MP3 is HOW you intend to reach your customers. Here are some examples: Example 1: You run a retail business in which you deal with customers face to face. CDs are definitely the way to go. Example 2: You are conducting a seminar, and you want your attendees to purchase your audio production at the conclusion of the event. They’ll buy a CD from you while they are still enthusiastic about your presentation, but ask them to buy an MP3 download from your website and there is a chance that they will be distracted or that their enthusiasm may have waned by the time they arrive back at home. In a situation like this, it's essential to have CDs on hand. Example 3: You have just started a website and you want to keep your operating costs nice and low. MP3s are definitely the way to go. Remember – you can always turn your audio production into a CD in future once you have developed your online business a little further.
Choosing A Microphone
A more accurate title for this article might have been "Choosing a microphone for voice-overs", since these recommendations are specifically aimed at people who want to record a spoken word or singing performance and then blend it with music. This is not a guide for those who wish to record musical instruments.
My number one tip for beginnersIf you are new to recording I recommend that you do not buy your microphone over the internet if possible. Go to a music store or a professional audio shop and ask for help from a real person. If you buy a mic online, then you’re less likely to get qualified support that is relevant to your microphone and your recording / computer setup. There are many different microphone types (we'll cover those in just a moment), there are many different ways to connect your microphone to your computer, and if you are not a particularly tech-savvy person then there are a few potential technical issues that might frustrate you if you don't yet know how to deal with them. You will be better off if you can find someone to show you how to use your microphone properly. So don’t buy a mic until you have been given some instruction on how to use it and how to connect it to your computer. If you get home and run into trouble, then you can always call the shop where you bought your mic and request some after-sales support. Take my word for it – if you are brand new to D.I.Y recording then this one tip alone may save your sanity! If you must buy online, then I recommend that you use YouTube to research the microphone you are interested in. There are often great tutorials available that will help you to "master your mic".
The Right MicThe best type of microphone for a voice recording is called a “large diaphragm condenser microphone”. Don’t let these technical terms scare you if they are unfamiliar. They simply refer to the way the microphone is constructed. Alternative types of microphone like “dynamic microphones” and “ribbon microphones” are not suitable for voiceover recordings in most situations.
The Right PriceMics can cost as little as $10, and as much as $10,000. The trick is to find the right balance between cost and quality. My general advice is this: Do not buy a new mic for less than $100. Sound quality will begin to suffer in a noticeable way with microphones below this price point, so forget about using built-in computer microphones or cheap podcasting mics. They won’t give you a professional sound. There are loads of great mics available between $100 and $350 that will give you a totally professional studio-quality result. You can spend more than $400 if you like, but it's unlikely that you will be able to hear the subtle differences between a $300 mic and a $1000 mic unless you have developed advanced listening skills in a professional recording studio environment.
Suitable Mics For Voiceover RecordingsThis is by no means a complete list of suitable microphones, but it is a good cross section of popular microphones from reputable manufacturers. Budget Mics Blue Microphones Snowball USB Samson C01U USB Recommended Mics ($100 - $200) Audio Technica AT2020 & AT2020 USB Audio Technica AT2035 Blue Microphones Yeti USB Shure PG27 and Shure PG27 USB AKG Perception 120 & 120USB AKG Perception 220 Recommended Mics ($200 - $400) Rode NT1A (my personal recommendation - probably the best balance of quality and price of any mic in this list). Rode NT1000 Audio Technica AT 4040 Sennheiser MK 4 Shure Beta 27 Shure SM27 AKG C214 AKG Perception 420
Before you buyRemember – in order to actually record yourself, you will also need the following items: 1. A computer with recording software. 2. A microphone windshield & microphone stand 3. Microphone cable 4. An audio interface. An audio interface is a device that connects your microphone to your computer and converts the analog microphone signal into digital data. Unless you purchase a USB microphone, this item is essential. Audio interfaces are a mystery to most newcomers to D.I.Y recording – all the more reason to take my advice and buy your microphone & accessories from a retail music store, not an online store.
Protecting Your Copyright – Essential Facts
If you have created an audio production, it's natural for you to want to protect it from illegal copying and distribution, so what must you do to ensure that it's properly protected? It might surprise you to know that once your audio production is complete, it's already protected! Most people mistakenly believe that their work will not be protected unless they register it with a special government organization that manages copyrights. This is not the case. While there are plenty of government organizations and privately owned copyright registration companies that can offer you "peace of mind for a fee", you should know that copyright protection is automatic under international law. When you create something, you own it, and no one can change that regardless of whether your work is registered or not. However, it is advisable that you take the following steps to protect your work. 1. Keep evidence of the development of your audio production. Should someone infringe upon your copyright it helps to have some evidence that your audio production is in fact yours. Keep a hold of any materials that you created during the development of your audio production. For example, if your production includes a voiceover then the script you wrote would serve as evidence. Burn a copy of your production and keep it in storage. Even something as simple as the receipt for the royalty free background music you used will also serve as additional evidence. 2. Deter infringement. Make it clear that your work is protected under copyright law by adding appropriate notifications to your CD cover, CD disk, MP3 meta tags and to any web pages from which your audio can be purchased. At the very least this notification should include the copyright symbol ©, followed by the year the work was completed and your name. For example: © 2017 Your Name. All Rights Reserved.
A word or two on the problem of illegal sharing of audio productions.In this digital era, illegal file sharing is quite common. If you create an audio production and release it to the public then the chances are that someone, somewhere, is going to copy it and share it with others. Some people find this disheartening and I can understand that. After all, you may have invested a large amount of time and energy creating your wonderful recording, not to mention the money you may have spent on recording equipment, graphic design and royalty free relaxation music. Don’t let this thought immobilize you! Don't let it stop you from creating what you want to create, and don't waste too much time trawling the internet looking for offenders. One could argue that obscurity is a much bigger problem for most artists than copyright infringement is. I’m not suggesting for one minute that you ignore copyright infringements – you should definitely address any instance of infringement, but take heart in the knowledge that some sharing of your work might actually help to make you more well known. At the end of the day, the vast majority of people are honest, and it's simply unproductive to worry too much about copyright infringement matters. Take appropriate steps to protect your work and then make your peace with the fact that a small percentage of the population will share your work with others. It's an inevitability.
Links to government operated copyright resourcesUS Copyright Office UK Intellectual Property Office Australian Copyright Council
"After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963) Psy•cho•acous•tics / adjective: A branch of science dealing with the perception of hearing and sensations produced by sound. As a composer, whenever I create royalty free meditation music I always take the principles of psychoacoustics into account. Essentially, psychoacoustics is the study of the perception of sound, and the ways in which it affects you mentally, emotionally and even physically. You could think of it as a form of music psychology. But what does psychoacoustics have to do with meditation and deep relaxation? Let’s find out... The fundamental reason why we enjoy listening to music is because it is mood altering. Music can stimulate or sooth you. It can relieve stress and it can induce stress. It can elevate you or depress you. Music can be extremely powerful in this regard. Have you ever been so touched by a beautiful piece of music that you cried? Have you ever cringed at the sound of fingernails being dragged down a chalkboard? Most people answer “yes” to both of these questions. So if sound can have such a strong effect on us, then how can we use this to our advantage? What can the study of psychoacoustics teach us about creating music that encourages states of meditation and deep relaxation? Some types of meditation music are certainly more relaxing than others. Some sounds are particularly hypnotic, some cause trance - like states, and some types of music, like those containing binaural beats, can even alter the frequency of your brainwaves in such a way that your mind is coaxed, quite directly, into a state of deep meditation. Let's get to know what some of these sounds are and how they are used to create music for deep meditation...
Sonic Mantras“Sonic mantras” are the name that I give to repetitive sounds that can be used in place of a traditional meditation mantra. As long as they are tonally pleasing, repetitive sounds can really help to lull the mind of the listener into a state of deep relaxation and they are wonderful for hypnosis. Music that contains Sonic Mantras is what I sometimes call “true” meditation music, because it embraces the time-honoured technique of using mantras to induce a state of meditation. You can hear a brief example of music that contains a sonic mantra below. Music Example: Deep Within For the best experience, please listen to these samples at a soft volume and use high quality speakers or headphones if available. [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Deep-Within-Preview.mp3"][/audio]
DronesThe word “drone” may sound a bit dull and uninspiring to you, but drone sounds can be very relaxing and are most suitable for deep meditation music. A classic example of a drone-like sound that has been used for meditation for thousands of years is the sound of the “Om” mantra. Music Example: Om Mantra Chanting [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Om-Mantra-Preview.mp3"][/audio] In essence, drones include any sound that is: 1. Unbroken - the sound does not stop and start, and 2. Relatively unchanging in pitch. Drone sounds are not usually melodious, and they have no obvious tempo, but they do have other important qualities that must be musically pleasing. For example, drones often have a “texture” that can be described with words like “smooth”, “fine”, “soft” or “coarse”, and a timbre that can be described with words like “celestial”, “warm” or “complex” just to name a few. The pitch of a drone must not be too high or the drone may become shrill and tiring, and it must not be too low or the drone may become imperceptible on some stereo systems. A drone may also be made up of many layers of sounds, and when these sounds harmonize with each other they become deeply hypnotic and most pleasurable to listen to. Drones may also be used to provide a hypnotic foundation to a piece of music that contains other elements such as chimes, nature sounds or instrumentation. Here is just one example: Music Example: Ascension [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Ascension-Preview.mp3"][/audio] When it comes to meditation music, drones can extremely useful. Their constant, soothing tones seem to fill up all the space in your mind and wash away your thoughts. Unlike music that is melodic and dynamic, drones will not overstimulate your mind or distract you while you are trying to relax. On the contrary....drones can actually draw your mind into a very deep state of relaxation.
The Music of NatureSince the dawn of time, we have been surrounded by the wonderful sounds of Mother Nature. It’s only been during the last few decades or so that man-made music has become commonplace…and along with it has come all the noise and cacophony of modern industry and media. We have become cut off from the sounds of our natural environment, and bombarded by sounds that create stress. Listening to the sounds of nature reminds us that we are a part of a greater whole. The sound of birds in the morning, the sound of crickets in the evening…these are just some of the sounds that remind us that our life extends beyond the four walls that surround us at our home or office. The ebb and flow of waves on a beach, the sound of wind in the trees…these soothing sounds are innately peaceful, and listening to them can help reconnect you to "the bigger picture" of life. Take a moment to appreciate just how relaxing the sounds of nature can be: Example: Gentle Rain [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Gentle-Rain-Preview.mp3"][/audio]
Brainwave Entrainment MusicI’m sure you have already heard of the word “brainwaves” and you may already know that brainwaves can be measured with a machine called an electroencephalograph (EEG). When you are awake and alert, your mind operates at a higher frequency than when you are drowsy or asleep. An EEG allows us to measure these changes, just as it allows us to measure the brainwave frequency of a person who is in a deep meditation. With this in mind, we come to the whole point of brainwave entrainment music... Certain sound frequencies, when combined in specific ways, can be used to alter your brainwaves so as to induce a state of meditation. Brainwave entrainment is more simple than it might sound at first. Think of it this way...imagine you are holding two tuning forks of the same pitch. If you strike one of them and hold it close to the other, they will both vibrate at the same frequency. Brainwave entrainment or "brainwave synchronization" is similar to this. It relies upon the "frequency following" response, a naturally occurring phenomenon that explains how the human brain tends to change its dominant frequency towards the frequency of an external stimulus. As you might expect, brainwave entrainment doesn’t just work with any old sound. To give rise to the frequency following response, specific types of sounds must be used. Here is a brief introduction to the two most common types of sounds for brainwave entrainment. Binaural Beats Binaural Beats or “binaural tones” are an auditory effect that is created in the brain when two tones of slightly different frequencies are played separately into each ear. Your brain is very sensitive to small variations in the frequency of sounds, and to the way those sounds reach your ears. When you listen to binaural beats, your brain is subjected to an effect that it perceives as a constant fluctuation in the directionality of the sound. The rate of this fluctuation can be controlled by the use of specific sound frequencies. For example, by playing a tone of 200 Hz in the left ear, and 210 Hz in the right ear, a fluctuation of 10 Hz is detected by the brain. The difference between the two frequencies could be called a “sub harmonic” – a sound that is below the threshold of human hearing. However, this sub-harmonic binaural frequency may still be detected as a slight pulsing sound. This pulsing, or beating, is why we call them binaural “beats”. Binaural beats cause the brain to adjust its dominant frequency to match the sub harmonic frequency of the beating sound. This is what is known as the “frequency following response”. In order to control the way the frequencies reach your ears, music that contains binaural beats must be listened to with headphones. Binaural beats make a wonderful addition to royalty free meditation music because they can actively induce a state of deep relaxation. In order to control the way the frequencies reach your ears, music that contains binaural beats must be listened to with headphones. You’ll notice that when binaural beats are played on open speakers, they sound vastly different – the beating sound becomes very obvious when the sound waves from each speaker interact with each other. Here is an example of a pure binaural tone with a delta frequency of around 1.5 cycles per second. First, try listening with headphones, and then compare this to the way it sounds when you listen on stereo speakers. Provided that your speakers are evenly spaced in front of you and are of a reasonable quality, you should be able to hear a much more pronounced beating sound. Pure Binaural Beats Example: [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Binaural-Sample.mp3"][/audio] Binaural beats make a wonderful addition to music for hypnosis because they can actively induce a state of deep relaxation. They can also be useful when dealing with dealing with clients who are particularly resistant to relaxing. In their raw form, binaural beats are rather plain sounding, so they are usually embedded within a piece of music. Drone music makes a perfect home for binaural tones. Here is an example of some drone music with binaural tones: Music Example: Untold Depths (Delta) [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Untold-Depths-Delta-Preview.mp3"][/audio] And here is an example of some more melodic music that contains a foundation of binaural tones: Music Example: Letting Go (Delta) [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Letting-Go-Delta-Preview.mp3"][/audio] Isochronic Tones Like binaural beats, isochronic tones can also used to stimulate the frequency following response. In contrast to binaural beats, isochronic tones can be listened to without the aid of headphones. Isochronic tones are simply a repetitive pulsing sound that encourages the frequency of your brainwaves to synchronize with the frequency of the pulsing. Much like the hypnotic effect of a pendulum clock, isochronic tones are a simple but effective way to encourage brainwave entrainment. In the example below a theta frequency of around 7 Hz is used (quicker than the delta frequencies demonstrated above). The effect is subtle but you should be able to hear the quick, pulsing sound of the isochronic tones. Music Example: The Temple Gardens (Theta) [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/The-Temple-Gardens-Theta-Preview.mp3"][/audio]
White noiseWhite noise has a special role to play when it comes to relaxation, but it is often overlooked as a sound-source for inducing altered states of consciousness. Just as white light is the aggregation of all visible light frequencies, white noise is the sound that is produced when all possible sound frequencies are played at once. It is a pitch-less drone sound. When you think of white noise, you probably think of the nasty hissing sound that comes from your TV or radio when it’s not properly tuned in. In its raw form it sounds like this: Caution: Play Quietly! [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/White-Noise-Sample.mp3"][/audio] Sounds a bit nasty doesn’t it? That’s white noise alright, but it’s just one type of white noise. The sound of ocean waves – that’s white noise. So is the sound of rain, the sound of wind and the sound of your hairdryer. These are all forms of pitch-less sound that we can categorize as white noise. Raw white noise can be manipulated – sculpted if you will – to create sounds that are deeply hypnotic. By reducing certain frequencies and modulating the tonality of the white noise over time, raw white noise can be transformed into very soothing sounds that can be quite soporific. Like this for example: Music Example: Constellation [audio mp3="https://royaltyfreemeditationmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Constellation-Preview.mp3"][/audio] White noise sounds help to absorb the attention of the listener, but without stimulating any particular emotional response. White noise recordings have some very practical real world applications. For example, white noise is wonderful for masking background noises, and so many people use white noise as a sleep aid, or to drown out distracting sounds so that they can concentrate on a specific task. White noise can also be used to enhance meditation, to relieve tinnitus, to cure insomnia, and even to prevent eavesdroppers from listening in on private conversations!
A Word on TempoStudies have shown that the tempo of a piece of music can have an effect on the respiration rate and heart rate of the listener – a fact that with important implications when it comes to music for hypnosis. However, I think it is worth mentioning that the importance of tempo is sometimes overstated. I’ve come across numerous websites that boldly claim that “60 beats per minute is the perfect tempo” and that anything other than this particular tempo is unsuitable for hypnosis. I get the impression that this assertion is a flimsy attempt to assert a point of difference; more a marketing tactic than real fact. In most cases the tempo of any music that you use for hypnosis should be less than 70 beats per minute. Most of the music that I compose will usually fall somewhere between 48 and 65 beats per minute. However, some music has no discernible tempo whatsoever, and in these cases tempo is irrelevant! Drone music is a great example of this.
To Bell or not to Bell? – That is The QuestionRelaxing new age music is often known for being laden with bell sounds, chimes and bell-like instruments such as electric pianos. These sorts of sounds sure do add plenty of atmosphere to music, whether they are used instrumentally, or as an occasional feature sound. However, bells can be distracting to some listeners once a deep state of relaxation has been reached. This occurs for two reasons: 1. Bells (and bell like instruments – even pianos fall into this category) have a short “attack time”, meaning that the sound they make is emitted almost instantly when played. The sudden, percussive nature of bell sounds can be a little intrusive. 2. Bells can be quite shrill and inharmonic, depending on the type of bell that is struck. These issues are usually not a problem during hypnosis, so long as the composer has been careful to manage the volume and tonality of the sounds that he or she has used.
Silence“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”. Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) One of the principles that many top masseurs adhere to is “never take your hands off the patient once you start the massage”. Even if the masseur moves to another part of your body, or moves around the table you are lying on, he or she will keep at least one hand in contact with you at all times. I used to think of meditation music in a similar way. Just like a soothing massage, the music should never fall completely silent and break its bond with the listener. Nowdays I view things differently. Moments of complete silence can be a wonderful addition to meditation music but it must be approached very gently. Fading to silence should happen very slowly. Likewise, returning from silence to audible music should be a very slow and gentle experience with no sudden jolting sounds. It’s interesting to note that music can be composed in such a way that it impresses the sensation of spaciousness or silence upon the listener, without actually falling silent. This is a highly desirable effect that can really help the listener to sink into a deeper and more open state of mind. The simplest way to achieve this is through a combination or foreground and background sounds. For example, imagine a soft drone sound (background sound) over which a gentle instrument plays a melodic passage (foreground sound). As a listener, your attention will tend to follow the foreground sound. By allowing the foreground sound to fade out very gently and slowly, the sound that held our awareness a moment ago gradually gives way to an empty space that opens up a gap in the listener’s awareness. The background sound remains – it is ever present – like the unmoving hands of the masseuse, holding the space but never leaving you unaccompanied. The above explanation takes on even more meaning if you substitute the word “subconscious” for “background sound” and the word “conscious awareness” for “foreground sound”. Using music in this way is very much a balancing act. The music must provide enough stimulation to engage the listener, but not so much that it becomes a distraction. It must absorb the listeners attention, and then quietly recede for long enough to allow the listener to sink into a deeper state. It’s all about balance…
Meditation Music - It’s Deep Stuff!Meditation music is sometimes regarded as being “simple”. Sure enough, most meditation and hypnosis music is not as complex as say, a full orchestral composition, but like many things in life that appear simple, there is often great care and finesse involved in crafting such an art form. Music and meditation can go hand in hand, and as you have by now come to realize, meditation music can be a pretty deep subject! Not only is meditation music something that you can appreciate on a sensory level, it’s exciting to realize that it can be crafted in such a way that it has a direct effect on the activity of your mind. It is with this excitement that I apply the principles of psychoacoustics to music for meditation and hypnosis ... to bring you the most relaxing music possible. Christopher Lloyd Clarke B.Sc, Msc.D. Music composer and founder of Royalty Free Meditation Music.com
Recording a Voiceover – Tips & Techniques
Getting a fantastic vocal recording requires the right equipment and the right technique. Pay close attention to these simple tips and you’ll not only improve the sonic quality of your recordings, you’ll also improve the way you express yourself vocally.
Tip 1. Choose a microphone that was designed for voice recordingAs mentioned in this article, Choosing a Microphone, not all microphones are suitable for recording voiceovers. You really must use the right type of microphone if you are intent on capturing a professional quality sound.
Tip 2. Use a microphone windshieldWithout a microphone windshield you will probably ruin your recording with "plosives". Plosives are small blasts of air that escape from between your lips while you are speaking. Many microphones come with a soft foam windshield that covers the head of the microphone. These do provide some protection from plosives, but In many cases they are insufficient, especially when you’re up close to your microphone while recording spoken words. You will need a standalone nylon windshield like the one shown here: This type of microphone windshield is constructed of a sheath of nylon material that is stretched over a circular frame. These windshields provide an air buffer between you and the microphone and will completely eliminate plosives. D.I.Y Tip: It is possible to create a makeshift windshield by stretching a nylon stocking over a coat hanger. Open the coat hanger out so that it offers you a large surface area and then tape the windshield to your microphone stand. It might not be pretty, but it will be 75% as effective as a professional windshield.
Tip 3. Silence is goldenMicrophones are very sensitive and will pick up all the ambient sounds around you, not just your voice! The sound of your computer humming, the sound of the traffic outside, the sound of your air conditioning unit – these are all examples of sounds that can ruin a good recording. Your microphone will record the sound of your chair creaking, the sound of your necklace jingling and even the sound of your stomach grumbling if you don't address these sounds in advance. You can eliminate many of these problems by: a. Moving as far away from your computer as possible, and/or using some pillows or furniture as baffles to muffle the sound that it emits (be careful not to block all the air vents in your computer’s case for too long. Without airflow your computer can overheat. Nasty problems may ensue!) b. If external noises are a problem, relocate yourself to a more quiet location, or record late at night when the hubbub of the world has died down. c. Remove any jingly jewellery and/or “swishy” clothing. Either that or you’ll have to master the art of sitting VERY still. Professional recording studios usually use isolation booths for vocal recordings. These "silent spaces" are ideal for recording, but you can still capture a good quality recording at home provided that you take every reasonable measure to eliminate ambient noises.
Tip 4. Check your levelsOne of the most common mistakes that people make when recording their voice is recording either too quietly or too loud. It’s essential that your recording signal is reasonably strong, but does not exceed the maximum volume allowed by your recording software (a problem referred to as "digital clipping"). You’ll need to understand how to use the volume/gain controls of your particular recording setup in order to ensure that a good strong signal reaches your computer, without clipping. If your voice has been recorded too quietly, then you’ll find yourself compensating for this by adding loads of volume after it has been recorded. Doing so will cause any other ambient background noises to become louder too. If your voice recording is too loud, then you’ll hear distortion. This must be absolutely avoided. Do some test recordings and watch the level meters on your recording software. Aim for a maximum volume of around 5-6 decibels below maximum at the loudest point in your recording.
Tip 5. Perfect positionA good starting point for microphone placement is to sit or stand with your mouth approximately 6-12 inches from the head of the microphone. Getting nice and close to your mic (6 inches or even less) can give you a really nice intimate sound, but be very careful. Most voiceover microphones experience what is known as the "proximity effect" and can result in an overly bassy sound if you get too close. Standing too far away will make your voice sound a little thin, and will also allow more ambient background noises to sneak into your recording. Try to keep relatively still (if possible). If you are recording at a close distance, even small shifts in your position can make a dramatic difference to the sound. If you move around a lot then the volume and tonality of your recording will constantly change, making your performance sound unnatural.
Tip 6. Relate to your listenerWhile you are recording yourself speaking, do your best to imagine that the microphone is a real person and that you are speaking directly to them. Talk as if you were relating to a friend, rather than as someone who is reading from a script. It's so important to master the art of speaking naturally, or you'll end up sounding robotic and stilted. Express your emotions. Have an opinion. Get your point across. Relax and be the real you, speaking fluently to another real person in this moment. Remember - you are not practicing dictation, you are just having a very one-sided conversation with someone who cares about what you have to say.
Further reading (highly recommended)Much more in depth information on this subject is available in the free ebook, "How to Create Professional Hypnosis & Meditation Recordings". It's available from our parent website (Enlightened Audio) via the following link: https://www.enlightenedaudio.com/how-to-create-professional-hypnosis-and-meditation-recordings
Recording Equipment Requirements
So you want to create your own audio production without the help of a professional studio? In this day and age, it's more achievable than ever. This article will introduce you to the equipment you will need in order to record your own voiceover, mix it with music and then create a finalized audio file for CD or MP3. You may find that you already have some of the equipment you need!
A computerBoth Macs and PCs will allow you to create a professional quality audio production. The good news is that you do not need a particularly powerful computer. Almost any computer that was built after 2005 will have the processing power necessary for you to create a recording and mix it with music.
A microphoneA good quality microphone is very important. Don’t even think about using built-in computer microphones or cheap podcasting mics. You will need to invest in a microphone that was designed for use in voiceover recordings. See the following article for more information on choosing the right mic.
A microphone standI don’t recommend holding your microphone in your hand while recording. The slightest movements can cause loud thumps and bumps in your recordings. Microphones are very sensitive and they need to be held safely in a stand that eliminates vibrations.
A Microphone WindshieldA microphone windshield is absolutely essential to a quality recording. Windshields eliminate “plosives” – small bursts of air that come from your mouth when you pronounce words with P’s and T’s in them. Words like “prism”, “stutter” for example. These lead to popping/thudding sounds in the microphone that can ruin a recording. See the following article on voiceover recording for more information on windshields.
Sound recording softwareYou will need a program that is dedicated to the task of recording and editing audio. Most Macs come with a free program called Garageband - a very capable audio program indeed. Most Windows PCs include a recording program called "sound recorder", but this program is far too basic for most users. It will allow you to record sounds, but will not allow you to edit them or mix them with music. Audacity is a very popular free program for Windows that will allow you to do everything you need to record and mix your own audio production.
Microphone CablesYou may need a cable to connect your microphone to your computer. The type of cable you need will vary depending on the type of microphone you use and the way in which you connect your microphone to your computer (see below). Connecting your microphone to your computer This section will give you some valuable insight into how to connect a mic to your computer, but it’s not a truly comprehensive resource. If you are new to recording then I recommend that you read the following information with the goal of expanding your knowledge, but be sure to consult with an audio professional at a retail music outlet before making any purchasing decisions. What do microphones actually do? Think about it for a second…. They convert sound energy into an electrical signal. When you speak into a microphone, a small electrical signal is generated. But before your computer can understand what this signal is, it must be converted into digital information. Some microphones handle this conversion for you while you are speaking (USB microphones), but many do not. Let’s briefly get to know the two types of microphones. 1. USB Mics I HIGHLY recommend USB microphones to newcomers. With USB microphones, you simply plug the microphone into a spare USB port on your computer, install some software (usually included with the mic) and you’re up and running. 2. Microphone + audio interface. This might be the first time you’ve ever heard the term "audio interface". Don’t let it scare you. An audio interface is simply a device that connects your microphone to your computer. The interface provides power to your microphone and then converts the microphone signal into digital information which is then fed to your computer. Here's an example of an audio interface: There are many different types of audio interfaces. Some slot into your computer, whereas others are freestanding and may sit on your desk. Some will allow you to connect dozens of different microphones at once, whereas others might only provide for a single microphone input. If you only need to record your voice, then an audio interface with a single microphone input will be sufficient. USB Mic or Microphone + Audio Interface? Audio interfaces can be expensive, and you can completely bypass the need for an audio interface by using a USB microphone. USB mics are a relatively recent invention and are quite a popular option for amateur and semi-professional recording enthusiasts who want to keep things simple. USB microphones draw power directly from your computer and feed it to your microphone, and then convert the microphone’s signal to digital information. They require no other cables, whereas an interface powered microphone will require a standard XLR microphone cable. So why would you consider using an audio interface? In general, a microphone that is powered by a professional audio interface may provide higher sound quality than a USB microphone (the analogue to digital conversion process is usually cleaner). Playback of any audio on your computer will also be higher quality when processed through an audio interface. Audio interfaces also give you quick access to volume control features and they may allow you to record multiple microphones at once (essential if you are recording with more than one microphone at once, but unimportant if you only ever intend to record your own voice with a single mic). Much more in depth information on this subject is available in the free ebook, “How to Create Professional Hypnosis & Meditation Recordings”. It’s available from our parent website (Enlightened Audio) via the following link: https://www.enlightenedaudio.com/how-to-create-professional-hypnosis-and-meditation-recordings
Recording your voiceover – professional studio or D.I.Y ?
Recording a Voiceover? Start HereIf you are in the process of creating any type of audio or video production that includes spoken word, then getting a top quality voiceover recording will be essential to your success. For many people, the whole idea of recording a voiceover is a bit daunting. It's one of those technical processes that people seem to have a lot of questions about. Do I need to visit a recording studio? Can I record myself at home? What equipment will I need? What's it all going to cost? By the end of this article you'll know how to find the right recording studio for you, and you will know exactly how to prepare for a recording session. For those of you who are feeling a bit adventurous (and ready for some technical challenges), I've also included some introductory tips on how to record your own voiceover at home.
Recording at a StudioUnless you are fortunate enough to have the equipment and technical skills necessary to record your own voice, you’ll need to organize a trip to a recording studio. Most recording studios charge by the hour, so it goes without saying that the more organized you are, the less time (and money) you’ll spend on studio fees. What do I mean when I say "organized"? Well there are a few things you can do to ensure that the recording process is smooth, efficient and enjoyable... 1. Bring along 2 or 3 copies of your script. The recording engineer may want to read through the script while you are speaking it, and it will help him/her with any editing processes that might be needed after your recording is finished. 2. Rehearse your guided meditation script a few times before you go to the studio so that you’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable when speaking it into a microphone. 3. If possible, decide on what background music you want to use in your recording BEFORE you visit the studio. There are two reasons why this is important: Reason 1. If you can present your background music to the recording engineer on the same day you record your voice, then it is possible that he or she may be able to blend your voiceover with the music and complete the production of your recording right then and there. This means you may save time and money and avoid repeated trips to the studio. Reason 2. If you have chosen the background music you want, and if you have it with you when you visit the studio, then you can listen to it while you record your voiceover. This can really help to put you in the right frame of mind while you are speaking, and it can really help to improve the synergy between your words and the music. Tips on choosing a recording studio Some of the people I speak to are quite particular about where they record. For example, they don’t want to record a guided meditation in a space that was occupied by a heavy metal band earlier that day! The internet is the best way for you to research recording studios in your area. Many studios focus on recording bands, but there are studios that also specialize in voiceover recordings. A little online research will steer you in the right direction, but if you are still unsure, don’t hesitate to ask studios if they have any experience recording voiceover productions.
“Mates Rates”...Getting a friend record your voiceoverMore and more people are competent with computers and recording techniques these days, and it’s possible that you know someone who has a home recording studio. Perhaps you’ve asked them if they can help you, or perhaps they have offered their assistance. Recording with a friend will probably be more comfortable and cheaper than going to a studio, but if you intend to sell your recording then you must ensure that the person you are working with has a suitable level of technical skill and good quality recording equipment. Obviously this can be a little hard to asses, but as a rough guideline, the minimum requirements for recording at home include: 1. A (very) quiet recording space. 2. A good quality microphone. 3. Knowledge of correct vocal recording techniques. 4. The ability to mix your vocals with your music and to produce a properly mastered audio file. Tactfully ask your friend if they can answer "yes" to these requirements. If they can, then you may well be able to record your guided meditation in the familiar comfort of a home recording studio.
Recording Your Own VoiceoverRecording your own voiceover and blending it with music to create a professional recording can be quite a complicated procedure, especially if you have no previous experience. To be successful at this, you'll need to have: 1. A quiet recording space. 2. A good quality microphone (a large diaphragm condenser microphone is one of the most common types that voiceover artists use). 3. Sound recording software. 4. Good microphone technique. 5. A microphone "windshield" - a device that shields your microphone from small blast of air from your mouth while you are speaking. 6. The ability to mix your vocals with your music and to produce a properly mastered audio file using your sound recording software. The content of this article has been expanded greatly since it was first published. For more in-depth information, be sure to explore the free e-book "How to Create Professional Hypnosis and Meditation Recordings from our parent website, Enlightened Audio. https://www.enlightenedaudio.com/how-to-create-professional-hypnosis-and-meditation-recordings
Resolving YouTube Copyright Notifications
If you use royalty free music to make a YouTube video, it's inevitable that at some some stage you will receive a “Copyright Notice” from YouTube. It will probably arrive in your YouTube video manager page in the form of a text notification titled "Matched Third Party Content". Everyone seems to receive these kinds of third party content matches from time to time, so you should not worry if this happens to you. Having said that, you should not leave the copyright notice unattended either.
These notifications are automated...YouTube uses automated software (usually not a real person) to scan the content of many videos and if it detects that the music in your video is the same as some music that is used in a video that belongs to a third party, it may automatically initiate a copyright claim and place a notification in your video manager. As I already mentioned, these copyright notifications are common. In all honesty I have received these notifications on videos that feature music that I composed and produced with my own hands! Thankfully it's not difficult to eliminate these notifications.
A quick word of reassuranceCopyright notifications can be a bit unsettling as they make fool you into thinking that you have breached copyright law by using music in a way that is somehow illegal. Please let me reassure you with the knowledge that if you have purchased royalty free music from us then you DO have the right to use it in YouTube videos. In other words, the "Matched Third Party Content" notification is a false claim, but you must address it anyway or else... For further information about how to deal with these notifications (and make them go away!) please refer to this article at our parent website: https://www.enlightenedaudio.com/how-resolve-youtube-copyright-notifications
Royalty Free Binaural Beats – Insider Insight
An explanation of binaural beats, how they are used to enhance meditation & relaxation, and how we use them to create royalty free binaural music. When a sound reaches your ears, your brain instantly works to determine where that sound came from from. If your hear a noise that originated slightly to your left, then the sound will not only be a little louder in your left ear, it also arrives at your left ear a few milliseconds sooner than it arrives at your right ear. You may not notice this effect on a conscious level, but your brain certainly does. So your brain is very sensitive to small variations in the frequency of sounds, and to the way those sounds reach your ears. When you listen to binaural beats, your brain is subjected to an effect that is perceives as a constant fluctuation in the directionality of the sound. This is really just an auditory illusion. The rate of this fluctuation can be controlled by the use of specific sound frequencies. For example, by playing a tone of 200 Hz in the left ear, and 210 Hz in the right ear, a fluctuation of 10 Hz is detected by the brain. The difference between the two frequencies could be called a "sub harmonic" – a sound that is below the threshold of human hearing. However, this sub-harmonic binaural frequency may still be detected as a slight pulsing sound. This pulsing, or beating, is why we call them binaural "beats". Binaural beats cause the brain to adjust its dominant frequency to match the sub harmonic frequency of the beating sound. This is what is known as the "frequency following response". We can take advantage of the frequency following response by creating binaural frequencies that help to induce specific brainwave frequencies. For example, we know that someone who is in a state of deep meditation may have a dominant brainwave frequency of say, 6 Hertz (6 cycles per second). When you listen to binaural tones that have been programmed to produce a 6 Hertz sub harmonic frequency, your own brainwaves will follow the frequency of the beat, and will naturally adjust in sympathy. In other words, binaural frequencies can be used to adjust the dominant frequency of your own brainwaves, leading to altered states of consciousness, from light relaxation, to deep sleep. Most commonly they are used to accelerate and deepen meditation. By themselves, binaural tones sound rather plain, and for that reason they are usually blended with soothing music or nature sounds, and this is how our royalty free binaural music is created. For a more comprehensive (and very honest) exploration of royalty free binaural music, it's various uses and effectiveness, please following this link to our parent website: https://www.enlightenedaudio.com/brainwave-entrainment-music-information
Royalty Free Brainwave Entrainment Music – Information
What is brainwave entrainment music?Most of our Royalty Free Brainwave Entrainment Music uses an audio technology known as “binaural beats”. These binaural beats are used in such a way that they bring about desirable changes in brainwave activity, so as to induce a state of meditation and deep relaxation. When played with headphones, you may be able to hear the binaural beats as a subtle pulsing sound beneath the music. While binaural beats are our primary technique for brainwave entrainment audio, we do use other brainwave entrainment techniques on occasion, such as isochronic tones, monaural beats and amplitude modulation. If these techniques have been used, you'll find them mentioned in the written description of the audio productions that include them. Binaural Beats or “binaural tones” are an auditory effect that is created in the brain when two tones of slightly different frequencies are played separately into each ear. This effect was discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove and is now commonly used with great effect to create audio technology that enhances relaxation. Binaural beats cause the brain of the listener to adjust its dominant frequency to match the frequency of the binaural beat. This is what is known as the “frequency following response”. Please note that brainwave entrainment music requires the use of headphones, so that each ear receives a specific frequency. If played on an open stereo system, the music will sound vastly different and will not be as effective.
Do binaural beats work?Absolutely. Binaural beats were first discovered over 150 years ago, and have been the subject of a great deal of technical exploration over the last 35 years in particular. Millions of people use binaural meditation to enhance their quality of life and to experience deep relaxation. In fact, binaural meditation technology is now used for more than just meditation. It is also used by a variety of practitioners and private users for improving self-confidence, stress relief, pain management, relaxation, improving and concentration and improving the quality of one's sleep. If you would like to read an objective third party report on binaural beats, please refer to this Wikipedia article.
Uses and EffectivenessMusic that contains binaural beats is an appropriate choice whenever deep relaxation is your goal. Here are some additional ways in which royalty free binaural music may be of use to you... 1. They make fantastic background tracks for guided relaxations to cure insomnia (delta frequencies recommended for this purpose). 2. Binaural music can be of great benefit to hypnotherapists who are working with clients who are particularly resistant to relaxation. 3. Binaural music can really enhance instructional guided meditations. If you are creating guided meditations for beginner, intermediate or advanced meditation, binaural music can help to guide your listeners mind into an appropriate state of meditation. 4. Binaural music can also be used for more esoteric spiritual meditations, especially those in which very deep states of relaxation are required.
What frequencies are used in our brainwave entrainment music?Unless otherwise specified, the Royalty Free Brainwave Entrainment Music on this site is produced with three optional binaural beat frequencies: 1. Alpha. Contains a primary binaural beat of 9 or 10 Hertz (or a combination of the two). 2. Theta. Contains a primary binaural beat of 5 or 6 Hertz (or a combination of the two). 3. Delta. Contains a primary binaural beat of 1 or 2 Hertz (or a combination of the two). Alpha This music encourages a state of alpha relaxation. The alpha state is a pleasant state of relaxed alertness. It’s a state that many people experience when they are waking up in the morning or when they are just beginning to drift off to sleep at night. While in a state of alpha relaxation, the mind is quite clear and receptive to information, learning is accelerated and one’s sense of creativity is enhanced. The mind is also very open to positive suggestions during this state. Theta This music encourages a state of theta relaxation. The theta state is a state of tremendous stress relief. The benefits associated with theta level relaxation include improved concentration, reduced hyperactivity and improved memory. While in a state of theta relaxation, one’s blood pressure, breathing and heart rate all slow to a much more restful and healthy level that promotes natural healing. During theta relaxation one may also experience vivid flashes of mental imagery as the mind opens to memories or subconscious information that is not available to the conscious mind during the normal waking state. The theta state is a very deep state of relaxation that is excellent for deep hypnosis and mental programming. Delta This music encourages a state of delta relaxation. Delta brainwaves are most prevalent during deep, dreamless sleep. The delta state is a mostly unconscious state that is essential to one’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. People who are able to achieve a state of delta relaxation through meditation will sometimes describe spiritual encounters and out of body experiences. The delta state is perfect for inducing profound spiritual experiences, healing and deep subconscious repatterning. Delta frequency brainwave entrainment music is also a fantastic cure for insomnia. Please click here to explore our royalty free brainwave entrainment music.
Selecting Royalty Free Hypnosis Music
By Christopher Lloyd Clarke, composer and founder of Royalty Free Meditation Music.com. Occasionally I’m asked, “What is the difference between royalty free hypnosis music and royalty free meditation music?” Perhaps you might have pondered this very question yourself. Both styles of music have the same ultimate purpose – to help guide the listener into a state of deep relaxation and to open their mind to positive suggestions. In my experience, there is no clear line that differentiates between free meditation and hypnosis music, however I have noticed that there are differences in the preferences of various practitioners. These differences seem to vary according to their area of expertise, and according to the way in which they intend to use the music. Here is just one (very broad) example. A spiritual guidance counsellor who is creating a guided meditation for "opening the heart to love" (for example) is perhaps more likely to favour royalty free music that is emotional – maybe a track that contains beautiful choirs and light bell sounds. In contrast, a hypnotherapist who is looking for traditional royalty free hypnosis music may favour music that is less emotional and less colourful. If the goal is not to inspire, but to entrance the listener, then music that is less melodic may be preferred. Perhaps music that consists of a soothing wash of drones and might be used, as opposed to a track that contains flutes or bells (some of the sounds that are sometimes associated with “new age” music). There really are no rules when it comes to selecting music for meditation or hypnosis. Every hypnosis recording is different. Every guided meditation recording is unique. To blur the lines even more, it’s worth remembering that many meditation teachers are also qualified hypnotherapists, and many hypnotherapists/psychologists also teach meditation! When people ask me to help them choose specific tracks for their recordings I often give them the following advice… Really take your time and listen to a variety of different tracks in the Relaxation Music category and let your intuition guide your choices. I know that it can seem easier to have someone make the choice for you, but I believe that it’s always better if you can tune into a variety of tracks and observe your own personal reactions to them. After all, it’s your voice, your message and your energy that will blend with the music, so you will always be the best judge of which music is going to be the best fit for each recording you make. Just about every single track in the Relaxation Music category will work for your guided meditation and hypnosis recordings, so it really comes down to your own personal preference. You’re spoilt for choice and you can’t make a mistake if you limit your options to this specific category of music. Remember, on this website you don't have to wade through any Jazz, Rock, Hip Hop and so on. The options here are limited in a very deliberate and purposeful way, which makes it much easier to find music that will work beautifully for hypnosis and meditation recordings. It’s quite common for people to start with an idea in their mind as to what music they might want, but then they hear a particular track that really reaches them and takes them in a direction they did not expect at first. This can be a really enjoyable process, and one that can only be experienced if you take the time to listen to a number of tracks. Also, keep in mind that if you are not sure about how your voice will sound with a certain track, you can always download the previews and experiment with mixing your voice with them before you purchase anything. Of course, if you find the process of music selection too difficult or if you just need someone to help you make final decisions I’d be more than happy to help. You can always reach out for support. I've helped so many different therapists and healers create their own special recordings, here are just a few of their modalities... Life coaches, reiki healers, psychologists, flower essence practitioners, crystal healers, sound healers, meditation coaches, NLP practitioners, spiritual counsellors, personal development consultants, herbalists, acupuncturists, aromatherapists, breathworkers, homeopaths, masseurs...and of course, hypnotherapists. At Royalty Free Meditation Music.com we offer a wonderful selection of royalty free hypnosis music and meditation music. Click here to listen to examples of our relaxing royalty free hypnosis music.
The Oster Curve
The Oster Curve was defined by Gerald Oster - one of the modern day pioneers of research into the effects of binaural beats. In his well known publication "Auditory Beats in the Brain" (Scientific American, 1973) he identified that the effectiveness of binaural beats can be optimized by presenting them to the listener at specific pitches. For example, if one is trying to use binaural beats to entrain the brain to a frequency of 2 Hertz, the most effective pitches (or "carrier frequencies") to achieve this are 100 Hertz or 1090 Hertz. The Oster Curve is a graph that demonstrates the relationship between binaural beats and their optimal carrier frequencies. It is a great reference tool for anyone who wishes to maximize the effectiveness of binaural beats for brainwave entrainment. It's worth mentioning that binaural beats that do not conform to the Oster Curve still give rise to the frequency following effect, and are still effective. In point of fact, most of our own royalty free binaural music uses binaural beats that do not conform to the Oster Curve. The Oster Curve is simply a tool for those who wish to explore "best practice" principles with regards to their use of binaural beats. Here is The Oster Curve:
|Optimal Carrier Frequency (Hz)||Binaural Beat Frequency (Hz)|
White Noise Music
By Christopher Lloyd Clarke, composer and founder of Royalty Free Meditation Music.com White noise is an incredibly effective sound-source for encouraging deeply relaxed states of consciousness and it has a number of therapeutic benefits, for example:
- It can help to cure insomnia, which makes it fantastic for guided relaxations for sleep.
- It can be used to enhance meditation (especially when combined with binaural beats).
- It can be used to eliminate tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- For restless babies, especially crying babies with colic, white noise is often used as a sleep aid.
- It can help with hypnotic induction – especially with patients who are resistant to hypnosis.
- A Swedish study in 2007 even found that white noise helped children with ADHD to concentrate and pay better attention while learning.