All posts tagged “Mixing”
By Ernie Rideout
Of all the tools we talk about in the Tools for Mixing articles here at Record U, reverb is unique in that it’s particularly well suited to make it easy for you to create clear mixes that give each part its own sonic space.
Reverb derives its uniqueness from the very direct and predictable effect it has on any listener. Since we humans have binaural hearing, we can distinguish differences in the time between our perception of a sound in one ear and our perception of the same sound in our other ear. It’s not a big distance from ear to ear, but it’s enough to give our brains all they need to know to immediately place the location of a sound in the environment around us.
Similarly, our brains differentiate between the direct sound coming from a source and the reflections of the same sound that reach our ears after having bounced off of the floor, ceiling, walls, or other objects in the environment. By evaluating the differences in these echoes, our brains create an image accounting for the distances between the sound source, any reflective surfaces, and our own ears.
The good news for you: It’s super easy to make your mixes clearer and more appealing by using this physiological phenomenon to your advantage. And you don’t even need to know physiology or physics! We’ll show you how to use reverb to create mixes that bring out the parts you want to emphasize, while avoiding common pitfalls that can lead to muddiness.
By Ernie Rideout
It feels great to finish writing a song, right? It feels even better when your band learns the song well and starts to sound good performing it. And it’s even more exiting to get in a studio and record your song! What could possibly be better?
Mixing your song, of course. Nothing makes you feel like you’re in control of your creative destiny as when you’re in front of a mixing board — virtual or physical — putting sounds left, right, and center, and throwing faders up and down.
Yeah! That’s rock ’n’ roll production at its best!
Except for one or two things. Oddly enough, it turns out that those faders aren’t meant to be moved all over the place. In fact, it’s best to move them as little as possible; there are other ways to set the track levels, at least initially. And those pan knobs are handy for placing sounds around the sound stage, but there are other ways to get sounds to occupy their own little slice of the stereo field that are just as effective, and that should be used in conjunction with panning.
By Ernie Rideout
Mixing a song that you’ve lovingly composed, arranged, performed, and recorded can be a tremendously satisfying experience. But if you’re unfamiliar with the tools and techniques available for creating a mix, you might feel a bit of anxiety as you sit at your computer or in front of your mixer, staring at all those faders, knobs, and processors, wondering what to do.
Be anxious no more! You’ve come to the right place. Record U will provide you will clear explanations and practical advice for making your music sound amazing. The good news is that whether you’ve recorded your tracks in computer software or in a hardware multitrack recorder, you have all the tools you need to create everything from a rough mix to a final mix. Let’s survey these tools briefly:
EQ types: high pass and low pass filters
You’re probably very familiar with the simplest type of EQ:
Fig. 9. Though an electric guitar’s tone knobs can be wired to apply many different types of EQ to the sound of a guitar, at its most basic, turning the knob applies a low pass filter to the sound, gradually lowering the level of harmonics at the higher end of the frequency spectrum.
Here’s a low E on an electric guitar, with the tone knob at its brightest setting. This allows all the frequencies to pass through without reduction:
Crank the tone knob down, and higher frequencies are blocked — or rolled off — while lower frequencies are allowed to pass through; hence the name, low pass filter:
Just as the low pass filter attenuates (reduces) high frequencies and allows low frequencies to pass through, there is another EQ type that rolls off (reduces) low frequencies while allowing high frequencies to pass: the high pass filter. It’s not just guitars that utilize this simple EQ type. When you’re mixing, usually you’ll use high pass and low pass filters that are built into each channel of your mixer, which allow you to set the frequency at which the attenuation begins (also called the cutoff frequency).
By Ernie Rideout
For a songwriter or a band, is there anything more exciting than having finished recording all the tracks for a new song? Hardly. The song that existed only in your head or in fleeting performances is now documented in a tangible, nearly permanent form. This is the payoff of your creativity!
Assuming that all your tracks have been well recorded at fairly full levels, without sounds that you don’t want (such as distortion, clipping, hum, dogs barking, or other noises), you’re ready for the next stage of your song’s lifecycle: mixing.
If you haven’t mixed a song before, there’s no need to be anxious about the process. The goal is straightforward: Make all of your tracks blend well and sound good together so that your song or composition communicates as you intended. And here at Record U, we’ll show you how to do it, simply and effectively.
Regardless of whether you’ve recorded your tracks in computer software or in a hardware multitrack recorder, you have several tools that you can use to create everything from a rough mix to a final mix.