In this tutorial we will look at blending all of the elements that make up a track by using some basic EQ separation between individual tracks in a mix. We also touch upon using sidechained multiband compression to further distinguish parts in the mix which may otherwise conflict with eachother.
In particular, we look closely at separating the Kick Drum from the Bass Instrument so that each can stand out and be clearly defined in the mix.
In this tutorial we look at the basics of compression, and how to effectively use the different compressor settings common to all compressors. Attack, Release, Ratio, and Threshold are explained and our example shows how to properly listen for the changes produced from these settings, focusing on the importance of Attack and Release settings in particular.
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about mid-side processing and are thinking, “great, one more thing I have to learn just to make my tracks presentable.” Well, not really. MS processing is just another tool you can use to add depth to, or clean up, your mixes and in practise it is just another way to apply the fx and mixing routines you are allready familiar with. MS processing at its base is simply a different way of splitting up a stereo signal. Ordinary stereo signals are split between a left and right channel, whereas an MS processor takes a stereo signal and splits it between the sum and difference channels. The sum channel would be any audio signal which is equivalent in both the left and the right channel, or in other words, the mono audio material which is dead center in your stereo field. The difference channel would be all other audio content. The terms “sum” and “difference” are just another way of understanding “mid” and “side” processing.
Once you have your mix separated by its middle (sum) and side (difference) audio content, it will sound exactly the same as your usual left/right channel stereo mix with the notable exception that you can separately process the middle of your mix from the sides of your mix. This is useful in a myriad of ways, but here are some common uses of the technique:
She’s a thing of beauty ain’t she? Believe it or not, this unassuming little plugin can totally change the sound of your mix.
Have you ever found yourself building an elaborate sampler or keyboard patch made up of layers upon layers only to be disappointed when bringing it into your mix? You find out that either it stands out over top of everything else, or else you need to bring it way down to a barely audible level, making you wonder, “dude, where’s my sound?”
This doesn’t only happen with synthesized sounds; you may have layered your drum hits, vocal takes, bass or guitar parts and come to the same conclusion.
This article will help you understand why this happens, and what you can do to avoid it, or if necessary, fix it in the mix. You will come to learn one of the central tenets of mixing: sounds that appear great in isolation don’t necessarily sound good in the mix. The most common reason for why this happens is as follows:
Listening fatigue is a concept familiar to almost anyone with longterm mixing experience. Even if you are not familiar with the term, chances are you have experienced it in your music making journey. It is often subtle (you have trouble determining what is wrong with your mix) and insidious (you think your mix is going great only until coming back to it with fresh ears, realizing the balance is way out of whack). But, no matter the case the result is always the same: lost time and energy, and shitty sounding mixes.
Listening fatigue is technically considered a physiological “problem” with the inner ear or the brain while being exposed to constant, repetitive frequencies (especially those with loud amplitude, percussive envelopes, or saturated mids). Due to the nature of music mixing, there is no escaping the fact that you will have to keep listening to looping portions of your recorded material over and over again, although determining the precise moment you reach diminishing returns, despite the more time spent, is difficult to gauge.