Sienna is a plugin that combines technology by Acustica Audio with artificial intelligence to emulate studio rooms, anechoic chambers, and different environments – right on your headphones. Gone are the days when you have to burn a hole in your wallet to hear how you track really sounds in a studio. The best part? Our new partnership with Acustica allows Beat Lab students and followers (yes – that means you) to get this plugin for less than half price in the month of May. Read on to find out more!
What Is Mixing & Mastering?
Mixing & Mastering are the two “M’s” that intimidate a lot of producers as they prepare their tracks to be release-ready. Here at Beat Lab, we believe that Mixing & Mastering are sonic skills that are absolutely learnable – just like recording or synthesis. And just like you need the right microphone for recording, or the right synthesiser for a particular sound – having the right tools to mix and master your tracks with can go a long way. But first – what do these terms even mean?
The Art of Mixing
The art of mixing is about getting your proportions right. When you’ve recorded all of your music, added beats, and finalised your arrangement – you typically start the mixing process. It’s about listening back to the track with fresh ears, ideally via studio headphones or monitor speakers, and ensuring every element comes together cohesively.
Are instruments clashing? Do the vocals need to pop more? Does the chorus not stand out enough? Mix engineers use tools like EQ, compression, panning, and reverb to ensure that the mix of the track mimics the emotional arc that the producer or songwriter has created.
The Art of Mastering
The art of mastering is about balance. Once you’ve made a solid mixdown that you’re happy with – a mastering engineer takes the stereo mixdown and makes slight adjustments primarily using EQ, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement. The main aim in this final phase is to ensure optimal playback quality across all systems and formats before distribution.
Want to learn more? Our 6-week course on Mixing, Mastering, and the Music Business launches in less than 10 days!
Who Is Acustica?
(Source: Acustica 2021)
Every Mix & Master Engineer needs the right tools for the job.
Traditionally, mixing and mastering is typically done using analog gear such as studio mixing desks, and racks of compressors, limiters and EQ’s. These devices add an element of ‘warmth’ to the track that software can typically struggle to match. Working in these acoustically treated studio rooms also help the engineer understand how a track really sounds.
However, Italian-based company Acustica Audio has made it their mission to emulate that analog flavour and the seasoned ears here at Beat Lab think they’ve come pretty close!
Today, we’re going to focus on their headphone emulation software called Sienna – but you can check out the entire Acustica suite at their website below.
As we mentioned in our previous article that rounds up the top 10 headphones of 2021 – it’s absolutely possible to mix & master your tracks solely on a good pair of cans. Check out this article from Sound On Sound about the same topic.
However, one of the challenges with this route is that you’re limited to hearing how the track sounds on your headphones only. You can’t easily hear how it would sound in a control room, Hi-Fi system, car stereo, TV, radio, or laptop speaker.
Sienna is a plugin by Acustica that corrects your headphones frequency response to accurately emulate these different listening environments. This means you could be sitting at a bus stop with only your laptop and headphones, but hear how your track would sound in a controlled studio environment.
What makes it different?
If you’re a seasoned producer – you might have heard of other plugins that do something similar. You might have also tried them and found that they sound a little bit artificial. We thought so too.
Sienna has gone above and beyond – by recognising that every headphone has its own colouring – and psychoacoustics, therefore, need to be tuned per headphone. For this reason – Sienna is currently only available to 180 headphones. See if your headphone made the cut here.
This combination of rigorous physical measurements of spaces, combined with customised headphone tuning – makes Sienna a product that’s far ahead of its time.
How Can I Get Sienna?
We are excited to share that our partnership with Acustica Audio allows Beat Lab students and followers (yes – that means you), to access Sienna with a 55% discount!
Use discount code: beatlab55
Promo code lasts till May 30th.
If you’d like to learn more about our 6-week Mixing, Mastering & Music Business course, follow the link below.