How to attain mixing consistence?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by jarjarbinks, May 23, 2012.

  1. jarjarbinks

    jarjarbinks Misa want to learn! Active Member

    Sep 27, 2010
    Hello all,

    Brief question,
    What do you do to ensure mixing consistence all throughout a studio album?

    I know every song must be treated differently from a creative stance during the mixing process, but what do you do to bring consistence to this process?

  2. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    Vashon Island, Washington
    Home Page:
    90% of a good mix occurs during tracking. When I'm working on a project with a particular artist, I be sure to be consistent in my choice of microphones, placement, and preamps. I track at consistent levels. I plan ahead by knowing what elements will be present in the final product which informs my choices in these regards.

    I will usually also be consistent in the choice and application of reverb, EQ etc. It's never exact from track to track, but it can give you a starting point.

    The most important thing is to train your hearing to be able to hear very subtle sonic differences and thus know exactly what is needed to bring the consistency your are seeking.

    audiokid likes this.
  3. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    I agree with the above - as long as the songs are all recorded at the same time then you get a consistent bass and drums tone/loudness that carries through. Once you get the rhythm section set just leave it the same for most of the songs. Another approach is to have an already mixed song set up to play so you can A/B the two songs and see how well they flow into one another. I used to do this all the time.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    So, are you actually talking about consistency or, an engineering style sound? I mean if the entire album is death metal, then, yeah, you probably want some kind of consistency throughout? But that's only assuming that the band can only play one style of song for an entire album. Where's the consistency when one song rocks out and the next song is a light weight acoustic number? Well, that's a job, the Mastering Engineer is actually paid to take care of. They really aren't there to fix a mediocre mix. Even though that's what most people mistakenly believe they are supposed to do. What you might be confusing is the consistency of density as opposed to dynamic range? Density is frequently governed by compression/limiting and how fast of a released time has been dialed in. Which also affects what is known as " apparent loudness ", by increasing the release time to faster, which also increases the density of the sound. That doesn't mean you set your released time to its fastest. Heavens no. While at the same time, this can also increase listener fatigue/ear fatigue. So your release time is a bit of a juggling act on your dynamic range limiting and compression. Because if you make it too fast, it will get grainy and rough sounding, turning most of your listeners, off.

    So it's really not about the gear but how you use it that counts.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. Paschalis I.

    Paschalis I. Guest

    Spend more time recording properly.

    Then start from Drums and Bass, EQ and compress to taste.
    Add rhythm guitars, vocals.

    Some people like to start from vocals, drums and bass and then add the final rhythms like guitars and synths.

    When you add a new instrument make sure you make some room for it by cutting unwanted frequencies from instruments that dont really
    need them and create space for the ones that actually need them.
  6. naomi_beats

    naomi_beats Active Member

    Sep 17, 2013
    Consistence in perceived volume/amplitude is normally done n the mastering process, but for the mixing you'd most likely use the same mixing engineer for the entire album for starters if you'd like it to remain consistent. Using the other tracks as references for mixing each new one, and applying similar techniques...I would say keeping mixing very similar on every track of an album would be pretty bland, you might want to "mix it up" a bit lol
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    Room, instruments, mics, preamps, converter, monitors, all that, make all the difference.. If you can accuratly record what the band wants to create.
    There's little to do at mix time.. If in that process something is wrong. Let's say the room emphasis certain frequencies and all the instruments suffer from it, you might have consistence. But it may sound wrong consistently !! ;)

    It's like a cake recipe, one ingredient not properly produced or mixed and your cake won't go up or will taste weird!!
  8. flatrat

    flatrat Active Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    Puyallup, Washington
    Home Page:
    It don't hurt to have templates ready to go if the instruments are similar across the songs. I have a template for my drum kit that just takes a lot of guessing, time and set up time right out of the picture. My plugs are already loaded, my buses are set up, pretty slick for consistency sakes!thumb
  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:

    Templates are good when it's the same instrument on a single installation. (I meen the setup is done once and all the songs are recorded without disturbing any mic placement and you have consistent tunning (for drums).

    Usually I'll do a ruff natural mix that will become a kind of template for the album (not many effects yet, just fixing basic problems for all the songs and making them sound natural.)
    Then, I'll ask the band for any artistic vision they have about each songs and the album.
    Often there's not much to do, just a bit of reverb and volume automations. Other times, the band ask for special effects, so it's time to put out the pluggin inventory and try to match their vision. You just need to be carefull not changing how the instruments sit in the mix and their frequency response..
  10. lbeasley

    lbeasley Active Member

    Jan 20, 2014
    Mixing consistency comes with time and experience. A very well set of trained ears and a understanding of sound and frequency is key here. Even the best of us engineers are not perfectly consistent on every song, however the more you understand and the better set of trained ears....the closer you'll become to consistency.

    I'm not sure if there is a single answer to your question. Loudness, body and frequency is 3 of many things I pay attention to. I think I would have to write a book to answer this question in depth. On that note, I'll leave it at that.smoke

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