mixing tips by alendar


									                                      MIXING TIPS - 1

Here's a good way to FORCE yourself to mix tunes correctly. Stick with this method, and
soon you'll be dialing in killer mixes in no time.

First: Strip all the compression, EQ, everything from all your tracks and get back to
ground zero.


   Mute everything.

   Unmute vocal and crank it to a good hot level. Leave yourself a little headroom.

   Unmute kick drum. Get a good mix with Kick and Vocal.

   Unmute bass. Blend it in with the Kick/Vocal mix you just did.

   Unmute snare. Blend it in...

   You've got all the MONO information covered by now. All of these instruments
    generally share the center of the mix, and you want to make sure EVERYTHING is
    heard and mixed to perfection before going on. Start adding envelopes where things
    disappear from the mix or get too hot--don't use any compression yet. Get a good
    balance with the envelopes on literally every note of the mix before proceeding. You
    should have a super-punchy sound on these instruments when you've gotten it right.

   Unmute rest of drum kit. Blend...and make sure you pan things to interesting
    locations, either imitating the natural soundstage or some fantasy layout. It doesn't
    matter, just create an interesting space and keep the center of the mix uncluttered
    from here on out.

   Unmute instrumental lead lines and hooks...ditto

   Unmute background vocals

   Unmute instrumental "comping" and rhythm guitar

   Unmute instrumental pads.

By this time, you should have a killer mix. If the vocals are covered, start muting tracks
backwards down the list until your mix sounds good again. Now add them again, paying
closer attention to the balance. Notice what makes the balance "go bad" and either dump
that element, take the volume way down, or do some corrective EQ to get it in the mix.

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Hopefully by the second time everything is added in, the tune is well balanced. Now it's
time to start dealing with the subjective issues like compression and EQ. Use
compression to get sustain and intimacy--NOT to correct unevenness of volume. That's
why we took all the time after step 5 to get the bones of the tune perfectly mixed. Now
you can use your compressors for musical effect instead of technical corrections.

This should get you well on your way. You've mentioned that your instrumental voices
come from MIDI. All of the above should still work even at that. Be sure to break your
drum tracks into separate instruments, so you can use the velocity setting in the track
pane to control their relative levels. And I would consider cutting audio tracks of the
Bass, Kick, Snare tracks at least, so that you can really tweak those into the mix. You'll
get a lot more control that way.

                                     MIXING TIPS – 2

If you recorded all of your tracks properly, you shouldn't have much fixing to do.
However, tracks either don't come out perfect, or you'll be mixing a song that someone
else recorded. In either case, there are a few basic guidelines to follow.

   First, bring up a rough mix to hear if there are any major audio malfunctions. The
    kick drum should be punchy (if that's the sound you're going for), the snare and toms
    should cut through, and the cymbals should be crisp and clear. Listen to the bass. It
    should provide a punchy low end and still be articulated enough to determine the
    pitch of the individual notes. Now, listen to the guitars. They should have plenty of
    midrange. Listen to the vocals. Can you hear every word? Does it sound like the
    singer is right there in front of you?

   After you know that there is nothing extremely wrong with your tracks, start bringing
    them up in pairs to check for conflicts. Solo the drums and the bass. You should be
    able to distinguish a kick drum and a bass guitar. If you can't hear these two equally
    when playing together, you have a frequency conflict. Try boosting the kick at 80 Hz,
    cutting it at 200 Hz, and boosting the bass at 150 Hz. If this doesn't work, try other
    frequencies. To solve frequency conflicts, you want to create sonic holes for the
    instruments, or they'll just end up covering each other until you have a big mess.
    Remember that the sound of the kick drum and bass guitar will usually establish the
    low-end for the entire song, so make it sound good.

   If the drums and bass didn't introduce any conflicts, solo the drums and guitars. You
    won't usually find any problems here since the fundamental of guitar is very different
    than that of the drums. But, if you do, use the same techniques mentioned above,
    but with different frequencies. The guitars will sound best when you boost the low
    mids around 400 Hz for warmth and around 3 kHz for the edge necessary to punch

   Now, solo the drums with the vocals. The only possible problem here is with the
    presence of the voice and the cymbals. The cymbals should be EQ'd at 12.5 kHz with
    a shelving EQ. The vocals will sound good when boosted between 1 and 5 kHz for
    presence. I usually boost closer to 5 kHz, as this is the range that sounds more

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   Here's a better idea: don't EQ the vocals at all. When you equalize a sound, you
    increase the chances of it conflicting with another sound. Besides, vocals sound more
    natural without EQ. Maybe roll off a little low end to remove non-vocal sounds such
    as microphone stand rumbles and loud music from the next room. Unless the person
    paying you wants you to EQ the vocals, keep your equalizing little paws off of them.

   Anyway, you should now have no conflicts with the drums. Try bringing up the bass
    again and solo it with guitars. Is the midrange articulation of the bass separate from
    the midrange of the guitars? The midrange of the bass can be anywhere from 800 Hz
    to 2 kHz. When you solo the bass with the vocals, you shouldn't get any conflicts. If
    you do, it's probably the top end clicks, pops and fret noise of the bass. This area can
    usually be cut without ruining the bass sound.

   Here's a tough one. Solo the guitars with the vocals. The combination of heavily
    distorted guitars and the musicians that play them can cause the guitar sound to take
    up huge amounts of sonic space. On the other hand, the vocals are usually the
    track's main feature, so they should sound huge. Well, if you used 3 kHz to enhance
    the guitars and used a low frequency roll off while recording, you shouldn't have
    much of a problem. The fundamental of the guitars will be between 400 Hz and 800
    Hz. The fundamental of the vocal will be between 800 Hz and 1 kHz.

   You should have a well-balanced mix. Now you can concentrate on things like
    compression, reverb and other effects.

   Make a copy of your mix and listen to it in different environments - on your car
    stereo, on cheap speakers, on good speakers, on headphones. Get other people's
    opinions of your mix.       This will simulate the different environments that your
    recording will be heard in.



For EQ, a lot of the bass's definition lies somewhere around 750-900 Hz. Keeping a
relatively medium Q and boosting this range 3 db or more is a good start. Roll off the
bass pretty strongly below 150 Hz or so as too much bottom can make the mix "washy"
and notes unclear. Also, pay attention to 5 kHz and above: you may find that you can
settle the bass in the mix better by lifting lightly with narrow-medium Qs at specific
points for part intelligibility. Start tailing your curve off lightly above 8 kHz or so, and pay
attention to areas where string buzzing is apparent.


Think of three things always: low pass filter, high pass filter, and the 1-8 kHz range.
Gradually start to roll off EQ at around 80 Hz, and again at 12 kHz or so, depending on
the singer you're dealing with. The 1 or 2 kHz to approximately 8 kHz range is where
most vocals' intelligibility comes from. Adjust your Q (the adjustment in an EQ that
decides how wide of an EQ curve you are going to create) to a moderately wide setting
(affecting most frequencies in that range, but no more) and play with lifting within the
range of 3-6 dB+ or so. Another range you should peek at that will help with the natural
sound of the vocals is around 350 Hz to 1 kHz. Give this range a touch of lift, say 2-4 dB.

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Most of the other areas are very dependent on the type of singer you have: male,
female, deep and low, high and airy, etc., and always bring frequencies DOWN before
you bring others up. Overcompensating can make the voice end up sounding very
artificial. If you have a particularly sloppy singer (the loogie kind of sloppy), pay attention
to the higher silibant-laden frequencies (3-4 KhZ and higher). Throw a de-esser on the
track if you need to to reduce some of the harsh impact of touchy consonants such as "S"
and "T".

For the "radio effect", as some call it, you'll exaggerate everything for the most part.
This is that low bandwidth effect that is sometimes synonymous with store PA speakers
or walkie-talkies. It's also a common vocal effect in music. You can tweak this easily, but
it all starts with hard cut-off low and high pass filters, thus lowering the bandwidth. You'll
bring your high pass up much further: 2-300 Hz or so, and the low pass down to 5-6 kHz.
Keep a lift on the higher end to allow the vocal to cut a bit. Obviously, these are very
generic ranges, but it gives you a place to start if you are looking for something different.

See over for EQ chart.

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