Audio Tips (By Carl Rushing)

by Carl Rushing (sound engineer)
Silver Spring, MD

I started out in classical music. I’ve been doing hip hop, rnb, and pop for over 20 years.

WAVs vs MP3s :

Whenever possible, artists and producers should use WAV files (that have never at any point been an mp3).

Quality and file size are the primary differences between WAV files and MP3s. WAVs contain more information that results in a richer sound. At worst, mp3s can sound grainy and thin. MP3s are smaller files because they have less information, resulting in worse quality. Producers use MP3s out of convenience. They can be e-mailed and do not take up much space on a computer. While this is easier, it does not produce the best results.

Pictures are a good example of another media that works like this. Better quality pictures are generally larger files. Have you ever downloaded a small picture that has been scaled down for the internet and then enlarged it? If you did, you noticed it’s obvious pixelation and lack of clarity. When songs are scaled down to mp3 format, a similar thing happens. A file with over 16,000 kbs of information is striped down to become a file with just 320 kbs of information at best. So even if we expand the mp3 back into a larger WAV, the damage is already done.

So unless you are using an industry instrumental or a beat where the only thing available is MP3 format, it is always best for an artist to ask for the WAV files. Producers can e-mail WAV files by using free websites like,,, or

Tracked Out vs Stereo File :

First, let’s look at the terms here. A stereo file is a single file that contains a left and right channel. A song on a CD is a stereo file. When an instrumental is downloaded, that is a stereo file. Tracked out files (or ‘tracked out WAV files’ as they are usually referred to) will contain a single file for each instrument used. If the beat contains a synth, snare drum, kick drum, and hi hat, then there will be 4 files.

The advantage of using tracked out files, is it gives the engineer the ability to polish up the mix. If the snare drum needs a little more sizzle or bass drum a little more punch, it can be done when the tracked out WAVs are available. This is not possible with just a stereo file. It also allows the engineer and producer to collaborate to get the best sound possible.

The advantage of a stereo file is that it requires less work and less mixing time in the studio. If the instrumental was properly mixed or is only going to be used for a mixtape, this might be the best option.

Loud (limited or peaking) vs Clear :

Every artist and every producer wants their song to sound powerful. Volume is a primary factor. However, when a beat has been maxed out either by the overuse of limiting or peaking (going into the red), distortion results. When an instrumental is used in the studio, it should not be peaking or have any limiting on the master fader. The volumes will be maxed out in the mastering stage that is the very last stage of music production. If maxing out is done prior to mastering, sound clarity will suffer.

A Note to Producers on Sound Choices:

Selection of the sounds used to make a beat is extremely important. Take the time to select premium sounds. Bad sounds cannot be fixed in the mix. If an instrumental is being tracked out from a keyboard or beat machine, consider tracking out on a high quality pre-amp and interface. M-Boxes just don’t provide the richness that a quality instrumental deserves. Although some of the best sounds can be expensive and hard to find, it can be the difference in making the instrumental a hit.


Kesha – Blow (Certified Remix)

Kesha – Blow (Certified Remix)

Get familiar with Brad Tanner (Interview)

Brad Tanner – The  Promise (Prod by Certified)

Contact Brad Tanner :

Fleet DJs : The Indy Show 3/22/11

Click to launch player

New music from Steven Drakes & Certified to be showcased on the “Indy Show”, on Tuesday 3/22/11 at 1pm EST. Be sure to tune in & joint the “Chatroom”. Thanks for the support!

Steven Drakes – Dance (Prod by Certified)

Check out this audio from Steven Drakes, “Dance” (Produced by Certified). Steven Drakes is an incredible singer / song-writer, and he showcases his talents to be able to all genres with this pop / dance banger. With a very hard hitting synth bassline, loads of effects & a catchy melody, Dance is a hit for the radio & clubs. Be sure to get familiar with Steven Drakes & Certified doing lots of work together in the future. This record will be featured on Steven Drakes new LP “Inception”, coming soon!


Everyone should know as a producer, it’s great to work with talented singers & song-writers. In the music industry, producers typically work with song-writers on getting songs demoed for placement. It’s common for artists to have other people write material for them. Producers also work with song-writers strictly for writing choruses, bridges, even arrangement of a composition. In my short career, I have been lucky enough to meet incredibly talented song-writers, that have landed me great placements with talented artists. I owe a lot of my placements to the song-writers, without them it’s just a composition! There are very talented song-writers in the DMV area, that up & coming producers should get familiar with.

Singers / Song-writers I co-sign heavily :

Steven Drakes Twitter/steven_drakes1

Mina Leon Twitter/M1NA_L30N


Christopher “Neazee” Neal

Harmony Muzik

Nate Dogg Passes Away

Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011), better known by his stage name Nate Dogg, was an American musician. On December 19, 2007, he suffered a stroke according to a coordinator for his recently formed gospel choir, Innate Praise. Initial media reports suggested he had been admitted to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona, California after suffering a heart attack. However Erica Beckwith told MTV News that Nate Dogg had been released on December 26 after being treated for a stroke and had been admitted to a medical-rehab facility to assist him in his recovery. In January 2008, it was officially reported that the stroke had rendered the left side of his body paralyzed. Doctors believed there would be a full recovery, and his voice was not affected. In September 2008, Nate suffered a second stroke. Warren G later confirmed that since the second stroke, Dogg was undergoing physical therapy in an attempt to return to some normality, but it was unclear whether Dogg would be able to resume his singing career. Nate Dogg died on March 15, 2011 in Long Beach, California. The cause of death has not yet been reported.

“Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out, till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth Till the smoke clears out and my high burns out, I’ma rip this shit till my bones collapse.” – Nate Dogg

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