In this new roundup series, I asked a couple of professionals from audio community to share a professional tip from their everyday life. The tips can be related to music, sound design, business or everyday life that improves the quality of their workflow or their life. Check out these great Pro Tips below.

Asbjoern Andersen / A Sound Effect / Composer (interview, web)

If you’re looking to get involved in indie sound effects (and plan to make some money from your sounds), the very first step you should take is to familiarize yourself with what’s out there already. Do some searching, and if 10 other libraries come up with the same type of content you had in mind, it might be worth considering if it’s the right type of library to do. If it’s simply a passion project, by all means go for it – just bear in mind it’s harder to stand out in an already-crowded market, so actually selling anything could be tricky.

Saro Sahihi / Sound designer (interview, web)

To achieve the sounds that you have in mind it’s crucial to know your gear and tools.

Make decisions and Get Shit done:
I know this sounds trivial but it’s very important, especially when working alone in a creative field like sound design / sound effects creation and field recording (also applies to many other creative fields of course).

Often there are no tight deadlines, no bosses, no one who tells you what you have to do.
So, there is just you with some ideas and loads of procrastination possibilities and other distractions. It happens way to easy that you end up starting several projects without any schedules or actual plan about how and when it should be done. Well, sometimes it can be necessary to give a creative project time e.g. when it’s not that easy to gather the appropriate sounds all at once but mostly it’s better to fit a project in a time frame. Especially today with all that total recall and alternative possibilities it can be very hard to come to end.

Also procrastination can be a problem – which I struggle with myself a lot – but it’s not that bad if you can control it at least a bit. t helps to get small step back from your project so you can then re-focus. This often helps you out of a creative dead end.

What also helps is to:
• name your projects
• have a structure (like folders and subfolders in one place).
• use lists or Mindmaps to relieve your brain
• review your projects regularly.
• Make your own deadlines for your projects
• Make Decisions, don’t get too bogged down in details
• try not to lose track

Get. Shit. Done!

Know your Tools
To achieve the sounds that you have in mind it’s crucial to know your gear and tools. Nothing can be more destructive to your creativity and motivation than getting stuck or searching for the right function in your DAW or generally working by selecting functions from the menu.

Example: when I’m doing sound editing /-design in Nuendo and RX5 I use the RX Connect feature a lot. I created shortcuts for this to save time. So when I have a Clip that needs some de-noising it’s like: Cmd+Ctrl+Alt-C (send to RX) —> Cmd+Tab (switch to RX) —> Select Noise Profile —> Shift+Alt+Cmd+4 (learn noise profie) —> Cmd+A (select all) —> Cmd+4 (apply Denoiser) —> Cmd+Ctrl+Alt-C (send back to Nuendo) —> Cmd+Tab (Switch back to Nuendo) —> Cmd+Ctrl+Alt-C (re-open RX-Connect (I hope this isn’t necessary anymore in the next version)) — > Enter (Apply Edited Audio from RX). This all takes about 10 seconds. If I would do by selecting all the steps from the appropriate menus it would take about 6 times as long.

So optimizing workflows and trying to become better helps becoming faster and to stay more
focused on the actual thing. But this tip does not only apply to software. Also to hardware like microphones, recorders, headphones/speakers, signalfow and the room you are working in.

The more you know about and the more you get used to your gear and workflows you become more and more self-confident and experienced. So it becomes more easy to make decisions what plugin to choose or what microphones to take with for field recording and having less trial and error sessions. Having no more trial and error sessions? Of course this will never happen. But it’s good to have most of the daily workflows on a routine level.

This also applies to your own skills since yourself is the most important tool :)

Mikkel Nielsen / Field recordist (interview, web)

Always record several minutes. Preferably above 10 minutes or even more on each location. You never know when you are going to need those extra pieces of roomtone or ambiences, and even more important. You never know what might happen when you have hit the stop button.

Simon Jovanovic / Mixing engineer, producer (web)

The most important thing in the studio is to start your day with clear and relaxed mind + drink a lot of coffee. Take regular breaks. Go for a short walk. Or just stretch a little. Or go check if there is something new on the facebook. That way you’ll reset your mind and start fresh.

Regarding mixing

You can send your whole master buss to (any kind of) saturation plugin and use it in parallel to add some warmth and harmonics to your mix.

If you want to preserve dynamics of a drums and at the same time make them punchier, try some kind of envelope shaper instead of compression. Or even try both, first a little bit of compression and than gentle envelope shaping. You can use it on a drum buss or on separate drum elements. Instant punch without that over-compressed feeling.

George Vlad / Sound designer (interview, web)

Don\t underestimate the power of time off and entertainment. They’re excellent for preventing the dreaded burnout.

Cedric Baravaglio / Composer (interview, web)

To get contracts, be fast and write demos. Demos will show your ability to adapt to a genre and so, its good to have a few templates that are ready to use. It’s good to train yourself to write in different styles and then to have unpublished demos ready to send.

When you work for a game or anything, at the beginning ask for as much information as possible. Ask for examples and ideas from future clients, the more you know, the more you can hit right and show that you can produce the right music that they need and that you can do it fast.