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Guide For Learning How To Mix FOR NEWCOMERS

Discussion in 'Recording' started by gwin_7, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. gwin_7

    gwin_7 Active Member

    Feb 22, 2010
    I wanted to create this post for people who are new to mixing and have a desire to learn about it. This is more so a guide as to how you should be learning how to mix rather then teaching you about mixing itself. It is simply my opinion and you can take what you want from it. I am no pro, but I believe I have passed the "newb" stage and this guide is designed to get you in the right mindset so that you can get past the "newb" stage as quickly as possible.

    I would assume if you are reading this, you are musician, performer, or artist with little or no schooling about audio, mixing or mastering, and most of you are creating music out of your bedroom or basement. Most of you want fast results and ultimately just want your mixes to sound as good as they possibly can.

    The first task I believe is to determine what you want to accomplish with mixing. Do you just want to be able to make demos that sound "ok" or are you looking to get a sound that is as professional as music that inspires you? If you are taking the time to read this I am assuming you have enough passion to want to be the "best" or at least pretty dang good.

    There are principles and science to the way audio and hardware work. Understanding those things is, in my opinion, the best first step. A book that I would recommend is "Mastering Audio, The Art and Science" by Bob Katz. It is a great book filled with tons of great info about the way audio works and mastering and mixing. You can also do the research on your own, or another idea is to enroll in a class on recording audio.

    Many goals and accomplishments in life can be attained in several different ways. The same goes for getting a "pro" sounding mix. The standard for music (and any art form for that matter) is based on several different opinions. Therefore, there are bound to be many arguments as to what is right and what is wrong, even on the professional level. It makes it very difficult to find the correct answers on these forums when you see two people saying complete opposite statements.

    It has been said many times before, but it always remains true: "your ears are your best weapon." That, and a creative thinking brain. You like a certain kind of music and you have your own opinion of what "sounds" good (or at least I would hope so). Therefore, if you want to "sound" the "best," go to who YOU think is the best for guidance and see what they are doing to get "that sound." You should have a list of top albums or songs that you admire and respect the mixes. Check to see who mixed, mastered, produced them and do your best to get in contact with those people. Many of the "bigger" producers are very down to earth and will help you out if you simply ask. (You should have a decent knowledge of audio and hardware before you go doing this to keep you from sounding like a moron from time to time).

    These forums are a great way to learn as well. Just try to be wise about what you are asking. If you as a vague questions that could have multiple answers such as, "how can I make my mix sound good?" don't except useable answers. Once you understand the science of audio and how certain hardware works, such as EQs, compressors, reverb and such, then you will be able to ask more in depth questions and most likely receive more answers that you can use.

    Make sure your ears are well trained. Since your ears are the best weapon it is wise to have the best ears you can. There are several ways to train your ears. You need to get knowledgeable about what you should be listening for and how you can practice training your ears. Much of this is explained in the book I listed above. Try to focus on why you like a certain recording or mix and how it differs from the mixes you have done.

    Never stop learning new things. If you goals are high enough and you have enough motivation and creativity you will find ways to learn how to accomplish a great sounding mix and will constantly be learning new things.

    Learn form everyone. It is a common thing in the music industry to feel that you are better then everyone else. Having this mindset will cause you to pass up many learning opportunities. Even if someone does not have as "good" of sounding mixes as you, there may be certain things about what they are doing that you can learn from. Try to listen to others work with an open mind and take what you can from them.

    These are a few steps I have taken and/or am currently still taking. They have helped me out a lot and I hope they will help you out as well. I hope this post has helped you get a more clear mindset as to how to attain your goal for mixing.

    Best of luck,
  2. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "I would assume if you are reading this, you are musician, performer, or artist with little or no schooling about audio, mixing or mastering,"

    Well correct in part, incorrect in other parts. Many will follow me that can multiply this base.

    But I did appreciate your willingness to teach what you have already learned from Bob and your own personal experience.

    When I mix, it's usually 4 to 12 tracks with a cold beer...but that's just me and shouldn't be taken as a scientific approach. Although, in my defense, beer is made from a continuing scientific developmental process so, hop on the train is what I say!

    Good reading and hopefully you won't burn out in the coming years and be able to stay in the business long enough to say..."what the heck was I thinking?"


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