You should be able to get to demo quality pretty quickly with faux drums. Probabaly DI bass? Played like a guitar player…
Mix translation is a combination of experience, monitor chain, and the room you’re listening in. And mixing and mastering are what engineers “graduate into”. I really wouldn’t worry about it. How bad does it translate? If its always a certain aspect, you can work around it.
Ex: low end issues are typical of bad monitoring…
Advice? KISS. You’re recording bass, sampled drums…and Egtr (with an amp or modeller?)…anyway, the two should be a no brainer. EZDrummer, and the like just sound done and like a record. Stay away from the more realistic instruments like BFD–they require you to know how to mix real sounding drums. when you go to mix, get the drums and bass sounding good…and then bring in the guitars with the “rule” that you’re not allowed to touch the bass and drums anymore. So they are your foundation you build on–and drum machine+bassDI is hard to mess up. Just don’t get fancy. Just because you have 9000 tools in the drop down doesn’t mean you need them. Don’t compress and EQ and slather FX…one reverb. High pass filters only for EQ. No automation. Get everything panned and balanced…“save as” Project-Hour1.cpr. Then expand from there…and always keep that file as the baseline.
Advice2…don’t look at it more than you can help. For a demo, the only editing that should need to be done is midi…and doing big block edits like “cut the verse and paste it after the solo cause I want to write a third verse”…or…“what if I change the key” (likely only valid if working with a singer). Who cares what the waveform looks like? Let me just say, you shouldn’t.
Advice 3–you’re not mastering. It’s worthy to spend a few minutes learning how to properly peak normalize and dither your mix to burn to CD. Otherwise, “translation” will always be off, because the volume will be horribly low. Steps:
Export audio mix down selecting 32bit, into pool and audio track
Now you have a new audio track of your mix
Select audio of the track and “audio>process>normalize”
Set normalize to -.04dbfs
Insert plug in ON SLOT 7 of the (new) channel UV22hr
Set it to 16/high/autoblack
Export audio mix down again, this time NOT into the pool/track…and to 16bit/44.1
THAT file is the one you make an audio CD out of.
That will get you a full scale redbook audio file of the mix you’re listening to…there are ways to export it from the first export, but they involve maximizing plugs ins that, by functional design, do alter what you’re hearing. The above with get what you’re listening to to full scale 16bit for CD losing as little as possible.
I don’t know whether to envy or pity someone learning now. While there’s no doubt you have exponential power to manipulate audio that I had learning (tape…midi sync…actual desks and patch bays)…everything being virtual, makes it harder to learn signal flow–since there’s fewer and fewer actual wires for it to flow and you to touch. I remember people complaining about learning the signal flow of the mixing console because it was inside the board…they had to know it in theory…now, it’s like everything’s “inside the box”…but, you still need to know signal flow.
Alright…sorry for being “sobering”…good luck. Demo quality isn’t hard with what you’re doing…you’ll get it soon enough. DO listen critically to music you like. You will need to be paying attention to the sound rather than the music…the balances…the panning…what’s bright…and not…I admittedly get a little reactionary to the concept of “I bought a virtualized recording studio software…where’s the preset for ‘make it sound like a record’?”