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Thread April 12, 2014 editorial: comments

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1 April 12, 2014 editorial: comments

We’ve got a couple of stories this week dealing with the art of mixing. When you think about it, it really is an art. Sure, there’s science involved —a good understanding of audio theory is helpful, as is proficiency with studio software and gear — but what sets great mix engineers apart from the rest is their creativity, musicality, and amazingly good ears. When you consider all the moving parts involved in a mix it seems even more impressive.

Think of it: you’ve got multiple tracks to deal with — dozens in some sessions, or more — all of which need plenty of attention. You’ve got to balance and pan them, you’ve got to decide which ones to EQ, which ones to compress, and which ones to add effects to. You’ve got to be able to skillfully tweak the plug-ins or outboard gear, make sure nothing overloads, edit breakpoint automation, tighten up timing through editing, decide where to strategically mute tracks, and that’s only part of it.

Luckily, you can practice your mixing as much as you want in your own studio, easily compare your work to that of the pros, and develop your skills until you feel comfortable enough to put your mixes online, or mix for your band or try to get gigs mixing for others. You can fly under the radar until you feel ready.

If you’re just learning to mix or have been doing it for a while but want to improve your skills, get as much information as you can — like from our mixing stories this week and the stories we’ll have in the future — and practice, practice, practice. As long as you have a musical ear, a creative streak, and good attention to detail, you’ve got the potential to become a skilled mixer.

If you have questions about mixing or other music-production-related subjects, our forums are there for you. And not only will we do our best to answer you, but you can tap into the collective expertise of the Audiofanzine community.

Mike Levine