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Once you've obtained good takes on all the vocals, drums and various other instruments for each track, the next step is to mix them. Here's some tips to help produce the best mix possible.
Watch The Levels
Dont monitor too loud during the audio mixing process! You shouldnt really need to monitor at more than 90dB because at about this level your ears are at their optimum listening capability. Go any louder and you start to tire your ears sooner and could even cause long term damage. Whats more, monitoring at levels of 100dB and beyond will tend to give you a false sense that the mix sounds good because of the loudness!
Close Your Eyes And Open Those Ears
Try to monitor with as little visual distraction as possible at least once or twice during your audio mixing process. So, turn your computer monitor off, turn the lights off, close your eyes and just listen.
Youll be amazed at how much objectivity this can bring to the table. We tend to attach a lot of conscious importance to what we see, so when we take the visual stimulation away we allow our conscious mind to focus more on what we hear.
High Resolution Recording
Work at higher resolution wherever you can, as this will improve the quality and definition of the end result. You want to of course set this at the recording stage of the game, as increasing a sessions resolution after recording by converting all recorded media tends to waste time and processing better spent on other aspects of your audio mixing job.
Mixing Do's & Dont's
(1) Don’t try to mix on the same day you record. Always try to allow a little time between tracking and mixing.
(2) Know what sound you are trying to achieve. One way to do this is to bring in a CD that has the sound you like and use it as a reference.
(3) Always mix at a moderate volume level. Some people think that listening at a loud volume will produce a better mix, but the opposite is actually true. Plus, you'll have less ear fatique as well.
(4) Avoid chatter and noise. Listen carefully during the mixing process. Never distract the engineer or even your band mates while their trying to listen.
(5) Take occasional breaks of ten to fifteen minutes. Leave the control room and go somewhere that it's quiet to give your ears a break.
(6) Listen for random noises, such as foot tapping, lip smacking, pops and other noise. Eliminate them when you find them. Those sounds can become amplified in the final mix.
(7) Listen for overall balance between instruments. It's natural for each musician to want their own levels to be higher. However, every instrument can't be the focal point. Mixing is all about compromise. Mix with the sound of the entire song in mind.
(8) If the band will be present for mixing, try to appoint someone to be the spokesman. If you don't have a producer, you should pick a member of the band to be the decision maker. Discuss your ideas among yourselves before coming into the studio and discuss ideas with the engineer at the beginning of the mix session.
(9) Don’t expect to get the mix right the first time. Take home a CD of your mixes and listen to them on the car stereo, boom box, home stereo or as may different systems as possible. As you listen take notes about what you hear and what needs to be fixed. Then you can tweak the mix during the next session. You may have to repeat this process two or three times to obtain the best possible mix.
(10) Limit mixing sessions to no more than 8 hours to ensure your ears stay fresh.
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