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What is Mixing in Its Core – Mixing Tutorial

Mixing Tutorial: What is Audio Mixing

Have you ever thought about what audio mixing really is? “Mixing in its core” means that every instrument present in a song is balanced.

So, practically that’s mixing in a nutshell. There isn’t a particular secret or a well-kept strategy when it comes to mixing, but if the need for defining a secret behind mixing exists as such, there is a factor that defines every single mix: balance.

What to Use in Every Mix?

That’s the question that is asked many times, what to use besides fader movements and panning.

And the answer to this question is not simple, the main thing that is to notice is that every month on the market is presented new plug-in bundle that you can buy, and the firms are claiming that their bundle will make our mix shine, and authentic.

But really, two things that make your mix come to life, and being used by every sound engineer around the world is EQ and Compression. Of course, that is not the only plug-ins that engineers use, this is two best ones to start the mix, and mostly that is how the mix is defined, in relations of EQ and Compressor actions.

What are EQ and Compressor?

Most people in our branch know what EQ, but just in case I am going to define it here:  EQ is one of the most important processes of manipulation with the sound source. EQ is generally a process of manipulation of audio “frEQuencies”, so we can pull some frEQuencies down or up, as we want to, manipulating sound along the way.

The compressor works in a different way: it reduces the loud parts of the song, so the peaks are similar as much as we can make it similar.

How to use EQ and Compressor?

This is the question I get the most from producers that are new to the profession, and the answer is humorously simple: use your stock EQ and Compressor.

By suggesting to use your stock, I actually mean you should use your plug-ins that come from your DAW, such as Pro Tools, or Cubase, or Reaper, FL Studio, etc. They all have EQ and Compressor, so if this is new to you, you can use this instead of buying new bundle pack – that is if you are not familiar with the stock ones.

Check out Best Free EQ Plugins

…and Best Free Compressor Plugins

When you enter a whole marketplace of plug-ins, people often go off the road, losing the entire point of mixing by spending more and more time to reveal the glory of a specific plug-in – and although I am sorry to tell you this, but there’s isn’t a shortcut and there’s no easy fix for the mix.

This is what you need to ask yourself: “Do people who are listening to my mix are actually able to hear everything they need to hear?”

Take note that when your song is being listened to, it is usually by using cheap headphones or laptop speakers, so if this is the case – and it often is, the answer to that question is NO.

The majority of people won’t hear every aspect of your mix, but the thing they will most likely notice if your vocal is buried in the background. In this case, the guitars are not noticeable and we go back to the core of the mixing, which is “balance“.

Here’s a word to the new producers:

Study good songs: and by that, I mean that you should study well recorded and neatly produced songs, so you can spot some important aspects of various mixes and try to imitate the things you hear, transferring it to your mix. Also, record your tracks as well as you can, take your time and think about the levels, panning position, tone of the instrument – it’s always better if you can deal with that now, don’t leave it for the post!

Keep your mind and ears fresh and make great music!

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