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Fade

Beat Scientist
Administrator
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 1


One of the most challenging things about music production is the mixing process. For some, it's not that complicated because they have a lot of experience and knowledge on the subject, but for the rest of us, it's hit or miss. Most of us, including myself, prefer to just make beats and produce music but mixing doesn't seem all that appealing.

This is why it's important to know what you're doing when mixing. Unfortunately, with all the software and plug-ins available today, it makes mixing too easy.

But it shouldn't be.

Keeping it Simple is Key

I have always recommended to everyone that they keep their mixes simple. The best way to do that is to load up all your tracks in your DAW with all sliders set at zero, and don't have any effects loaded. This should always be your base starting point because it guarantees that everything is straight up raw without anything interfering with your tracks.

Once you have that done, start playing back all your tracks and try to get the best sounding mix by adjusting the volume levels of each track. If you can do that, then the rest is simple. Why? Because you're not starting with an overloaded mix (something many producers tend to do), and as such when you finally do start adding in plug-in effects, you'll see that you won't need too many anyway, which is a good thing.

You Still Need the Know-How

Even if you have been trained as an audio engineer, it's always good to still learn something. Just because you have a degree and some experience in a studio doesn't mean you know everything, so acquiring more knowledge on the subject of mixing is ideal.

I recently came across a book titled, "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" by Mike Senior.

51KqC7Iw-TL._SX391_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

This book has some great insight into getting the right mix for the equipment you have. The author recommends that you buy certain gear, but he's also showing you the best way to achieve a great mix with what little you have because he knows a lot of people aren't recording in a professional studio.

Most of the time it's compression that a lot of producers will throw into their mix, when in fact it's an effect that is very easy to overuse. This is why if you start your mix "raw" then you can probably get away with just using EQ and some light compression (but this all depends on your mix and what you want to achieve).

What really caught my attention about Mike Senior's book is that he talks about treating your room. Most producers forget about room treatment and instead focus their attention on what hardware and software to buy. It doesn't mean you need to have eggshell foam all over your walls, but just a few adjustments here and there will make a difference in how you hear your mix.

Also, if you check out the reviews of the book on Amazon, you'll notice that the author actually answers a lot of them. That shows that he cares about helping people out with their mixes.

More Information About Audio Mixing

So if you're having some issues with your mixes, or even if you just want to further your knowledge of mixing, follow the advice I've given above, and check out these links:
 
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Calamity

Member
Battle Points: 3
Love that Mike Senior book. I have yet to read it all the way through but I always flip around it when I'm having mix problems. Dope article Fade
 

eXACT

Newbie
Okay, first, good heads up, Fade. I recommend this book as well. I had been thinking about buying it some while back, even though there is so much information online it's overwhelming, but it turned out, I didn't have to buy it. I came across some guy on a forum some months ago (yes, I'm cheating on you guys at Ill Muzik,) who I had helped out with some producing tips, and he noticed I had commented on the book in a previous conversation. He hit me up with a "Check your email." And guess who had a nice PDF of Mike Senior's book in my email?
This was just something that I thought that I would share because it was done in return for me helping him out; not a pat on the back to me, but there are so fuckin many forums where all people do is talk mad shit, touting their skills and leaving everyone else in their wake to scratch their heads. That is *not* the point of forums. Next time your on, even if you have a question, try and answer someone elses as well. We're all in this shit together.
(Some might consider the act of "sharing" the book, theft or piracy of some sort, but I like to think of it as a small bit of karma for helping people out. On the other hand, I don't believe in Karma, so, I guess, that puts me back at theft or piracy. Meh. I'll get over it.)
 

wizard

ILLIEN
*** ill o.g. ***
Battle Points: 134


One of the most challenging things about music production is the mixing process. For some, it's not that complicated because they have a lot of experience and knowledge on the subject, but for the rest of us, it's hit or miss. Most of us, including myself, prefer to just make beats and produce music but mixing doesn't seem all that appealing.

This is why it's important to know what you're doing when mixing. Unfortunately, with all the software and plug-ins available today, it makes mixing too easy.

But it shouldn't be.

Keeping it Simple is Key

I have always recommended to everyone that they keep their mixes simple. The best way to do that is to load up all your tracks in your DAW with all sliders set at zero, and don't have any effects loaded. This should always be your base starting point because it guarantees that everything is straight up raw without anything interfering with your tracks.

Once you have that done, start playing back all your tracks and try to get the best sounding mix by adjusting the volume levels of each track. If you can do that, then the rest is simple. Why? Because you're not starting with an overloaded mix (something many producers tend to do), and as such when you finally do start adding in plug-in effects, you'll see that you won't need too many anyway, which is a good thing.

You Still Need the Know-How

Even if you have been trained as an audio engineer, it's always good to still learn something. Just because you have a degree and some experience in a studio doesn't mean you know everything, so acquiring more knowledge on the subject of mixing is ideal.

I recently came across a book titled, "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" by Mike Senior.


This book has some great insight into getting the right mix for the equipment you have. The author recommends that you buy certain gear, but he's also showing you the best way to achieve a great mix with what little you have because he knows a lot of people aren't recording in a professional studio.

Most of the time it's compression that a lot of producers will throw into their mix, when in fact it's an effect that is very easy to overuse. This is why if you start your mix "raw" then you can probably get away with just using EQ and some light compression (but this all depends on your mix and what you want to achieve).

What really caught my attention about Mike Senior's book is that he talks about treating your room. Most producers forget about room treatment and instead focus their attention on what hardware and software to buy. It doesn't mean you need to have eggshell foam all over your walls, but just a few adjustments here and there will make a difference in how you hear your mix.

Also, if you check out the reviews of the book on Amazon, you'll notice that the author actually answers a lot of them. That shows that he cares about helping people out with their mixes.

More Information About Audio Mixing

So if you're having some issues with your mixes, or even if you just want to further your knowledge of mixing, follow the advice I've given above, and check out these links:
Dope article, You are so right always keep learning and always keep it simple.
I'm still in school and learning, there is stuff i know but still dont know how to apply it, lol but thats what keeps it fun.
And with plugins you are so correct, once you get a good balance you wont need so many plugins
This is so true been in the studio with some good engineer's and i was shocked that some only use plugins on bus channels and very few like no more than 3-5 and the funny part is they don't own every plugin in the world lol
they just have the ones that work well and perform the job thats needed

I am my worse enemy sometime i over complicate things and have to take a step back and tell myself stop it, cut it out and keep it simply/
its my weakness but im getting better, This is a dope article and most should read this despite how much they know

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, much appreciated.
 

Dahmi Mortals

ReZoUnD
Battle Points: 31
Always learning, all big engineers say it all the time. I would like giving some helpful input here. Gain Staging- All faders should be at zero when you load up but it shouldn't stay there, I would look at the master channel of your overall loudness and see if its overloading (clipping). Your individual channels might be ok but everything builds up and your overall loudness could be peaking so I would Drop all faders minus -8db or more and just turn up your monitors or headphones, this method give you headroom. In the "DAW" you mix in 24bit or 32bit and thats massive headroom so we need to be mindful only because when you bounce all that headroom goes away if you're clipping past 0. Mixing should be easy if your productions is good to begin with, theres no need for effect if you produced with it, thats only if your adding vocals after and thats the real need for mixing to balance the feel of the vocals or anything else you add after, because if you mix to "fix" you will change up your original production feel and no longer the same beat, this is why producers hate engineers and when they find one that can do the least damage they stay loyal to them.
 

Dahmi Mortals

ReZoUnD
Battle Points: 31
one more thing, every one likes CLA plugins so heres a tip that he does with all his sessions. keep faders at zero and trim (or trim plugin) -8db or more or drop the gain from the source audio.
 
Battle Points: 26
Hello everyone, I'm gonna chime in on this discussion as well. I think most people's problem from my experience has been listening environment. You can't have your monitors pointed straight out, or one at an angle, and another straight out. They need to be at 30 degrees, and you have to make sure your chair where you sit is exactly at where the sound will reach and crossover or through where you sit. They need to meet at you, and then of course there is monitors or hifi speakers, whatever you choose (Abbey Road Studios uses HiFi Speakers) but good nearfields are fine, just know that if you mix only with nearfields, you will more than likely overcompensate in the bass ranges unless you have a sub woofer in your setup. Now most of us probably mix with cans (headphones), and probably Beats Audio or Skullcandy headphones, some perhaps have Senheisser or however you spell it, and those are fine, but you need to know the freq curve of your headphones, and do your best to "flatten" it out, so you can hear the sound as true as possible. You can do a google search on your headphones and see what the EQ curve for your headphones are, or there is a plugin (I forgot the name) that will flatten out your headphones for you, and you don't need to mess with it, just pick the preset according to your headphones, and it will correct it. Plus there are some plugins that emulate the studio acoustic environment in your headphones which are worth checking out such as ToneBoosters TBIsone, and Waves has something called mixroom or something like that. So that's number one, and will fix most of your problems right there.

When it comes to what plugins are the best, it really is a choice in terms of what you want your plugin to do. You could use Fruity stock plugins, and they get the job done for the most part, but others like CLA2 compressor not only compresses the sound, but also adds a slight stereo widening effect which sounds nice, and the SSL 4000 G Master Buss compressor likes to beef up the bottom end, and warms the sound a bit, of course you could use analog summing plugins like NLS Buss and channel to have the sound colored the way the big consoles do, which sounds good for certain applications when you need to have some analog saturation for that classic feel, or for depth and warmth. There are tape sautration plugins. Maybe you want a really transparent compressor, then you could use RComp or maybe the API series compressors and plugins, Certain EQ plugins gives you more control over how you shape the sound, some like in a channel strip are more analog in terms of control and not so surgical, but then something like HEQ gives you a very surgical way to control frequencies, and of course the most surgical of all is Izotope Neutron 2 from my experience. But don't count out the Fruity plugins, Fruity reverb is pretty solid, and the fruity delay is easy and does the job, Soundgoodizer saturates the sound in a nice way when used "sparingly", I prefer to use it on vocals, and Maximus is good on drums I especially like the NY Compression preset as a starting point, and it does a good job at beefing up drums pretty nice. I could go on and on, another suggestion is to use Fruity Parametric EQ 2 and use the preset 20hz - 18khz cut, on the master buss just to cut those frequencies out that humans don't hear. It makes your overall mix sound cleaner, of course a mastering engineer can do this for you, but if you do your own mastering you should really get rid of those unheard frequencies.
You should be A/B referencing against a track that sounds in the pocket similar to the sound you are aiming for constantly when mixing, and you should do that when mastering.

Yeah less is more, you don't need a shit ton of plugins to fix your sound, the key is to make it sound "natural" as possible, and if you need to sweeten the sound a bit in certain frequencies, or if you think it needs a certain touch, then do it. But don't overdo it. You don't have to compress every sound, you don't have to EQ every sound either. If it sounds good, then it sounds good period. So in conclusion my point is that some plugins are to control your sound, or to give it some depth, and shape, but most of all it is also a creative decision, not an engineering decision to use certain plugins, so be creative, experiment and have fun, and make sure your listening environment is on point.
 
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