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Recording School

Member for

21 years 2 months

I'm about to attend a public music conservatory's sound engineer education. Only 4 gets accepted here pr year, so the competition is rather tough.

One of the assignments I have to go through is mixing a musical piece from 24 tracks to DAT in 20 minutes. The music piece will contain a rythm group with horns and vocals.

Just you would approach this assignment in the most rational, effective and time saving way.
I mean. 20 minutes doesn't allow mistakes, so i'd figure it would be smart to plan the entire thing down to the smallest detail.

I believe the mixer already will be set up when i begin.

See ya



Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Mon, 02/04/2002 - 04:02

I would suggest you start with drums, bass, keybords, metals and vocals to the end. Try not to EQ or compress anything at first, just open the tracks and try to set them to a nice volume , where you find it should be. After this, if you feel something is getting covered by some other instrument, try to EQ or compress that particular track. Use panning a lot, cause pannig gives you space to put lot of instruments toghether. And for the last, put some reverb in the metals and vocals or whatever you feel like need reverberation. Don't abuse of it, cause it can make your mix unprecise (? Sorry, I'm not a english speaker).
Hope you do well, mixing 24 tracks in 20 min. is a difficult task !

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 02/08/2002 - 14:10
A FOH engineer sometimes has to make a decent mix out of 24+ 'tracks' in less than one minute :)

The most important is to know exactly what sound is on what channel.

If you don't know this, solo the channels one by one and write it down on the board.

First make a decent drum sound, add bass first, then guitars?, next keyboards?, horns and next backing vocals. Then the lead vocals.

Now you are not finished yet, cut all guitars and listen to the balance of the mix without guitars and tweak if needed.

If you are very happy with it slowly add the guitars and listen carefully to details.

Try to make the guitars as loud as possible without loosing details from the other sounds.

Have fun!

Member for

21 years 2 months

Guest Fri, 02/08/2002 - 17:06
Not saying anyone else is right or wrong, but personally I would start with drums and bass. Then move right to the lead vocal. Get it to work with the drums and bass. At that point, things should already sound like a song. Then add guitars, keys, horns, background vox, strings, etc. It would seem that the drums, bass and lead vox are usually the three most important elements in a pop song, so that's how I treat them when mixing. Naturally, when everything else has been added, the lead vox often has to be tweaked again, but I sometimes get a better mix by subtracting (via eq, compression, or gain) the subsequent elements, rather than trying to find some room for the lead vox when everything else is already "done".

Also, in a time constraint situation, if you've already automated the fader moves on your lead vocal (or anything else, for that matter), but decide that particular track needs a slight global boost or cut in the mix, don't be afraid to use the makeup gain on your compressor to fine tune the overall volume.