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June 14, 2014 editorial: comments


Mike Levine

Mike Levine
1064 posts

1 Posted on 06/14/2014 at 09:55:52

No matter what kind of music we're into, one of the major things recording musicians have in common is that we all need to mix our material. If you’ve got your own studio, you know how challenging mixing can be. There’s so much going on in a mix — so many possible ways to approach it, so many effects to choose from and so forth. I know I always appreciated it when I read or heard about some little tip or trick to help make mixing easier. This week, in the short space of my editor’s note, I thought I’d pass along a few.

One that's pretty basic but very important is to try to keep your monitoring level moderate most of the time. Crank it up occasionally, to see how the song sounds loud, especially if that's how it's going to be listened to mainly. But if you keep it loud the whole time, you’ll lose your “ears,” (aka your perspective) a lot more quickly. What's more, in the long term, regular loud (over 85 dB) listening sessions are not good for your hearing health.

Here’s a trick I learned from interviewing renowned engineer Charles Dye: If you have two sets of monitors, place your secondary ones perpendicular to your mix position, so you have to spin around in your chair to listen when you switch to them. Why is this good? Because their 90 degree difference in orientation means they’ll interact with the room acoustics differently, and give you a different perspective. 

Finally, if you have a mix element that’s panned past 3 or 9 and you want to add some subtle space to it, route it via a bus to a mono aux track on your mixer with a 100-percent wet delay inserted. Pan the aux track opposite the instrument or voice on the track, and turn the bus send up ever so slowly until the delay is just barely perceptible. This "ghost delay" adds both ambience and excitement to the track without being over the top.

There you go. Three mixing tips to help you on your next project. If you’ve got tips of your own, I’d love to hear them.

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Have a great week.

Mike Levine

U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine

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