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Mixing is an art form.

 

Mixing is where a talented recording engineer can take a mediocre performance and make it sound inspired.

 

 

When beginning a mix always simplify.

Start with one track such as a lead vocal or bass drum or snare drum.

 

It is good to focus on core elements of the structure first.

 

In simplifying a mix break it down into core structure.

 

Here are some elements of core structure:

 

The core of rhythm - Bass guitar, bass drum, and snare.

 

Core melodic - Main melodic instrument such as guitar or keyboard.

Core vocal - Lead vocal.

 

Secondary core items - background vocals, secondary musical parts such as accompaniment instrumentation.

 

The three main core parts should always be the items you begin with.

 

The core of rhythm first..

 

So begin with a snare or bass drum.

 



Begin to conceptualize the core structure and how you want to present it.

 

We know that the vocal will create a center point of concentration for the listener.

 

So as we begin working with the snare and bass drum we will want to turn up the vocal from time to time to mix around it.

 

What i mean by this is because we will conceptualize the mix before we do it, we will have an idea of what musical parts we will create as focal points.

 

The key to success in any mix is having a mix that is not to bogged down by to many parts that distract the listener.


The brain can only understand so much audio at one time.

 

A good mix will clearly direct the listener threw the progression of the song.

 

Even if the musicians didn't know how to do this you can.

 

Think of all the elements of the mix in the four core categories:

 

The core of rhythm - Bass guitar, bass drum, and snare.

 

Core melodic - Main melodic instrument such as guitar or keyboard.

Core vocal - Lead vocal.

 

Secondary core items - background vocals, secondary musical parts such as accompaniment instrumentation.

 


 


After you get a good sound on the bass drum and snare work on the lead vocal.

 

Because the lead vocal will be the major focal point of the listener you will want to mix around this.

 

This means you will want to use the vocal as reference when working on the main melodic core such as the main guitar or keyboard.

 

Make sure that the main melodic core instrument supports the vocal.

 

Of course the way you will do this is with equalization and compression as well as correct levels.


As we mention in the equalization section we want to make sure that the frequencies of each part support each other but don't compete with each other.

 

So when working with the vocal and main melodic part make sure the tones compliment each other.

 

The tones between these two elements will be a major part of the sound of the song you are mixing.

 

The vocal and most important melodic instrumental part

Are what most listeners focus on.

 

In a mix you always want to direct the ear of the listener.

 

Be very aware of this when you work on these items.

 

Don't even begin on the secondary core items until you get the 3 main core items working well together.

 

This structure will allow you to begin to think in an organized way to mixing.

As you develop on this structure you will begin the understand how a mix works and how the hear hears sound.

 

Remember simplicity is a must.

When mixing make it easy for the listener to hear the music.


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