Quality vs Quantity
Here’s a topic not too many people get into concerning the internet beat leasing community. But I’m about to put it out there…. Quality! No matter how bangin’ a beat is, if it lacks in quality as an instrumental alone, your final product with vocals laid over the beat are going to suffer. Just what do I mean by quality? Well, when it comes to quality, I’m speaking of engineering skill, the overall sound. That is the major difference between a professional sound and an amauter one. When you’re shopping beats, quality is one of the utmost important aspects to take into consideration. Why? Ask yourself, “will people take me more seriously as a professional, or as an amatuer?” Because people will only take you as serious as you take yourself.
To touch on some points here, the 100’s of beat buying websites with 1000’s of beats aren’t necessarily in it for delivering quality to you. You have to look at it like this… Actual songs for albums take months, sometimes even years, and these are professionals. It’s obvious that if industry pros are taking their time to produce a song that is sonically correct, almost to perfection, what kind of time and effort are your joe shmoes, who have 1000’s of beats to choose from putting into their beat quality? Not much.
One red flag you need to watch out for is if you come across a website that claims it’s instrumentals are mastered. That there is the #1 sign the composer has no clue about engineering. Mastering is the last process involved when it comes to engineering. It’s like the wax over the polish. The #2 sign would be tracks that have no range. What I mean by that are tracks that sound muddy, muffled, no distinction between the lows, mids and highs. The #3 sign to look out for are the beats that come through too loud. Often times beats like that leave no headroom. Headroom is basically the space between the loudest parts of a track and 0dB. This is also very critical because if you have a beat that’s tiptoeing in the red, when you lay your vocals, it’s definitely going to go into the red, in turn causing distortion.
Last but not least I’ll leave you with a few pointers to properly audition beats made available for download. MP3’s will do the job, but for full on quality, a .wav file is the way to go. MP3 is a compressed file format that came about to save on space when it comes to MB, storage and files and so forth. So by definition, it is a lossy format. That loss is in the actual sonic quality, but if it’s engineered correctly, it’ll be mostly unnoticeable. Finally the last point for shopping beats is, you never rely on laptop, smartphone or tablet speakers when listening for quality. Never ever! Why? Because they have no range, point blank. They get the point across, predominantly the feel of a track, but to truly HEAR what’s going on, you need some good speakers and headphones. Preferably monitoring speakers, but if those aren’t available, a set of good speakers can work. Make sure your computer or whatever you’re using to listen with, if it has an EQ setting, it is set to flat. The track should be comfortable to listen to at mid volume with everything blending nicely. Nothing too dominant when it comes to the bass, mids or highs. With a good set of headphones, you wanna listen for audio separation. What that means is checking to make sure that the instrumentation doesn’t sound like it’s all coming right up the middle. The rhythm section will usually sit between both speakers. Other parts of the beat you should hear to the left or right. Panning, which gives a beat room to breathe. This ensures your vocal frequencies won’t be fighting for position within the beat.
So remember, if you’re serious about being an artist, improving your chances of standing out from the crowd, sounding professional, a professionally engineered beat is a very important factor. Buying beats should always be looked at as an investment. After all, you’re spending hard earned money on something to potentially further what you may have established. Don’t do it with sub par beats. Do it with it pro sounding beats.
Till Next Time…. Rhyme On!!!