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.
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.