Mixing: Levels?



On a really basic level, I'm grappling with the
dynamic differences between foreground tracks and
background tracks. Looking at today's releases, it
seems as though background elements are way up in
volume. So you have a vocal track that finishes
it's phrase and then immediately the following
non-vocal section is also way up there in volume.
During the lead vocal part, the average RMS value
of the entire mix, might only be slightly higher than the rhythm track section, even when there is
no lead instrument fill.
So what strategy should I have where every
section of music along the timeline is almost the
same volume? I could be wrong, but it seems to me
that current albums are alternating the focus
between lead vocals, and rhythm tracks that are
big walls of sound with, hopefully, interesting
textures and complexity. So if the music is in
our faces, during the time when the vocal has
paused, it's up to us as mixers, to make sure the
loud rhythm tracks are interesting, 'musical',
and support the emotion of the vocals.
As an aside, I have to admit liking more
dynamic mixes, because there is more of an emotional range, and more 'drama' in general.
Anyone have some good strategies for handling
(relative)track levels? -doug


Well-Known Member
Feb 27, 2001
Allot of today's records are overcompressed, and overlimited. They have no dynamic range, and everything sits static in the mix.

Seeing as you have come to the realization that dynamics are more dramatic, why strive to bring your work down a few notches in quality?



That makes sense, Mixerman.
I guess I'll just go with my instincts,
and use as much dynamics as I feel is
appropriate for the tune/album.


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2001
Originally posted by John Heals:
I like compression
And?.......I like girls...so....? my point is on my head...where's yours.

Sorry all...I'm in a silly mood tonight. (lack of sleep recently)


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2001
Little Rock, AR
dugstervision..... listen to anything by stained. You can totally hear the mix compressor breathing on everything. When your vocal is a little or a lot too loud and you comp and limit the mix real hard, you will hear the mix swell up whenever the vocal is not going. It reminds me of when all I had was a yamaha 8 track cassette recorder and I got an alesis 3630. I ran everything through it and then mixed through it. The result..... ass. Todays modern rock sound.....ass.

"I dont mean to sound cruel or cold about this issue, but I am... so that how it comes out."
-bill hicks


Well-Known Member
Dec 10, 2001
Pacific NW
someones in the vault diggin up old old old threads....still viable as questions but the folks that posted this in the first place are no longer here...........

Still.....Todays Mixing/Mastering Strategy.....

Everything is LOUDER than everything else.

Alécio Costa - Brazil

Well-Known Member
Mar 19, 2002
so much efforts to record at high sampling frequencies, top convertes, mic pres and so and finnally your product shall end up like a bright pancake.