Music Tips: The Basics of Mixing


If you're a musician, it is only natural that you will soon want to record your stuff. Luckily, you don't have to own a million dollar recording console to come up with some solid recordings. Still, you'll need to know what you're working with. Below, we take a look at a vital component of recording -- the mixer.


The Basics Of Mixing

After recording the tracks the processes of their editing and mixing is started by an engineer. The main aim of mixing is to shape and combine all the tracks into a unified unit. On a single guitar amp, the engineer uses four microphones but the listener listens only one recorded sound as all the four tracks are ultimately mixed together.

You will have to consider several things while mixing the music, whether you have worked on hundreds of albums or new in this field.

You should ensure that you are satisfied with the tracks before starting mixing. You will have to fix the tone coming from the amp if you do not like it. You can also try another take if you are not satisfied with its playing. Your performance cannot be changed in mixing. Instead of spending lots of time in manipulating the track to make something different it is better to record the sound again.

No formula can make a mix great as this trial and error method takes much time. Only you can assess whether the mixing is complete or not.

In mixing every track has its own prominence. There must be space between the instruments as crowding can affect the quality of the mixing. You can achieve this with the help of few tools briefly discussed below.


Common Mixing Settings

Equalizer: AKA EQ is the process that balances the frequencies in your recorded track. In fact, a sound contains various types of frequencies measures in terms of Hz or Hertz. The human hearing range can vary from 20hZ to 20,000hZ i.e. at extremes they are inaudibly low and high respectively. In order to equalize the range of frequencies on x and y-axis, many EQ plugins are used. There is a Subtractive EQ that removes or lowers the frequency of a recorded track. Some of the too much high frequencies can be scooped out from the signals of a guitar to get rid of the hissing sound produced by it. additive EQ is another tool that increases frequencies of a recorded track as it can give a deeper tone to a very thin drum sound by boosting its low frequencies.

Panning: It is the process of spreading the sound within the field of the stereo system. It includes a Mono Audio track which contains a channel recorded with a single microphone. The track of a stereo audio has two channels to be panned completely towards the right and left. You will hear this track only in the left headphone if you pan a mono track completely towards left. Similarly, you will hear it only in your right headphone if you pan it towards the right. Panning allows each instrument to be heard more clearly and help in making the image of the stereo wider as it adds clarity to the mixes. Some engineers use the perspective of the drummer while panning the part of a drum kit by panning it a bit towards the left and the tom of the floor nearly half towards the right.

Compression: This process decreases the dynamic range of your track between its softest and loudest parts. In short, it eases the louder signals and improves the gentle signals. Though you can find different types of compressors few denominators are common among them. the required loudness of a signal is decided by the threshold of the compressor before applying it. The signal should be loud to activate the compressor if the threshold is high. You can choose the extent of compression required on your track with the help of the ratio of a compressor. The speed of working of the compressor can be decided with the attack of the compressor after it has been activated. After the signal dips down the threshold the release will help in determining the time of stopping the compressor. You should remember that making a track quieter is not identical to compressing the dynamic range. You can gain the lost signals while listening to a dynamic range with the help of various compressors.

After mixing a song the starters should listen to it through different devices like speakers, headphones, in your car stereo or laptop. Though these tools are basic ones but can support your track very much. This process is beneficial and intimidating both as there is no wrong or right way to mix the tracks. In order to make the sound of your project the best, you will have to practice frequently and sharpen your ears.


Final Thoughts ...

While it might seem tough at first, mixing is actually pretty straight forward. Sure, it might take years to master, but by knowing the basics, you should be able to come up with some pretty good recordings of your own.



Your Turn to Sound Off!

How many facts did you already know from the five listed above?

Let us know in the comment section below!



Other Stories You Might Like ...

Leave a Reply