Pop music mixing & dynamic range

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by timblaze, Apr 10, 2006.

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  1. timblaze

    timblaze Guest

    I'm getting a little ferklempt, I'll give you a topic...

    Mixing methodology. How do we normally tackle the mix? Build up a drum mix, followed by bass, and up to guitars and vocals? Or start off with solo vocals / lead element at a certain volume (?), and bring up the other elements around that?

    Beyond leveling and panning, do you for example sit down and apply all of your equalization followed by dynamic processing? Or work at it track by track? Things of this nature.

    I would be happy to see some parts of your "mental checklist" shared here, and will be glad to share any of my own method. I realize that all of this is program-dependant and subjective in nature, just looking for any "in general" thoughts for discussion...

    Also, what's a mixer to do for a reference nowadays? So much of today's popular music has it's dynamic range severely reduced in mastering. How much dynamic range are you going for in a pop / rock context? Are you mixing to your 2-track as hot as possible, or leaving some headroom for the ME?

    tawk amongst yaselves.
  2. Bridge

    Bridge Guest

    I'll give my take on what you are asking.

    For me there is no "normal". For example if a jazz outfit comes in with vocal richness I'd almost certainly start from that point and make everything "fit" around it. If a vocally weak outfit came in, I'd look for the strong elements and build around that, which could mean bad vocal technique with very good emotional delivery, I'd look to capture that.

    Before I begin I'll set up three reverbs and three delays and chorus or something on distinct aux channels, so they are ready to bring up as and when needed, even if they'll be tweaked later.

    I'll also often slap two mono compressors on each L and R respectively and mix through them, sometimes also with a valve emulator also. So I'm building my mix up through that in place, rather than sticking it on after. This is usually in "pop" jobs, for classical I'd steer clear of all that, crank up the sample and bit rates and look for transparency.

    I actually check out some older mixes, I enjoy looking to create that vintage sound with digital gear. I leave mastering to a mastering engineer.
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    It depends on whether I'm mixing someone elses' screwed up tracking or my own......

    It usually goes like this......(track by track btw....)

    Does this sound good (insert instrument name).....Y= dont fuk wit it.....N= fuk wit it till it do...

    Life is short. Work fast and you'll have more time for golf and other really important pasttimes.

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