Guide to Mixing
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:08 AM   #1
nhomas
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Guide to Mixing

Attached is a guide to mixing electronic music. (Production mixing, not DJ mixing.) It is a free download. Feel free to use it for any educational purpose.

From the introduction:
Quote:
This document is a guide to the essential ideas of audio mixing, targeted specifically at computer-based producers. I am writing it because I haven't been able to find anything similar freely available on the Internet. The Internet has an incredible wealth of information on this subject, but it is scattered across a disorganized body of articles and tutorials of varying quality and reliability. My aim is to consolidate all of the most important information in one place, all of it verified and fact-checked.
The guide is attached as a zipped PDF. You can also view it online here: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


You can also download it here, since scribd has apparently now decided to charge money for the content that I uploaded for free:

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Table of Contents


1 Sounds 5
1.1 Frequency Domain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.2 Patterns of Frequency Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.2.1 Tones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.2.2 The Human Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.2.3 Drums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.2.4 Cymbals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
1.3 Time Domain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.4 Loudness Perception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
1.5 Digital Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
1.5.1 Clipping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
1.5.2 Sampling Resolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.5.3 Dynamic Range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
1.5.4 Standard Sampling Resolutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
1.5.5 Sampling Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2 Preparation 17
2.1 Monitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.2 Volume Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3 Plugins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
2.4 Ears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
2.5 Sound Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3 Mixer Usage 20
3.1 Leveling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
3.1.1 Input Gain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3.1.2 Headroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3.1.3 Level Riding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.2 Effects and Routing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.2.1 Inserts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.2.2 Auxiliary Sends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3.2.3 Busses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3.2.4 Master Bus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
3.2.5 Advanced Routing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
4 Equalization 25
4.1 Purposes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
4.1.1 Avoiding Masking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
4.1.2 Changing Sound Character . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
4.2 Using a Parametric Equalizer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
4.2.1 Setting the Frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
4.2.2 Setting the Q and Gain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
4.2.3 Evaluating Your Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
4.2.4 High Shelf/Low Shelf Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
4.2.5 Highpass/Lowpass Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
4.3 Typical EQ Uses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
4.3.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
4.3.2 Kick Drums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.3.3 Basslines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.3.4 Snare Drums . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.3.5 Cymbals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.3.6 Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
4.3.7 Vocals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
5 Compression 33
5.1 Purposes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
5.1.1 Reducing Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
5.1.2 Shaping Percussive Sounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5.1.3 Creating Pumping Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5.1.4 When Not to Use Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5.2 How It Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
5.2.1 Threshold, Ratio, and Knee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5.2.2 Attack and Release . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
5.2.3 Compressor Parameters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
5.3 Procedure for Setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
5.4 More Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
5.4.1 Limiters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
5.4.2 Serial Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
5.4.3 Parallel Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
5.4.4 Sidechain Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
5.4.5 Gates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
5.4.6 Expanders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.4.7 Shaping Percussive Sounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.4.8 Creating Pumping Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
5.4.9 Multiband Compression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
6 Space Manipulation 44
6.1 Panning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
6.2 Stereo Sounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
6.2.1 Phase Cancellation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
6.2.2 Left/Right Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
6.2.3 Mid/Side Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
6.3 Delays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
6.4 Reverb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
6.4.1 Purposes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
6.4.2 How It Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
6.4.3 Convolution Reverb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.4.4 Mixing With Reverb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
7 Conclusion 53
7.1 Putting It All Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
7.2 Final Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
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Last edited by nhomas; 02-23-2011 at 08:49 AM..

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:38 AM   #2
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Re: Guide to Mixing

I can't thank you enough, my friend. This and Bob Katz's Mastering Audio The Art and The Science will be my bible for the next couple of weeks .

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Old 02-09-2009, 04:21 AM   #3
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Re: Guide to Mixing

So... you finished it?

Fuckin' right.

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:07 AM   #4
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Re: Guide to Mixing

You are as they say, a "mad cunt"

reppe'd

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:12 AM   #5
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Re: Guide to Mixing

this is my first post. i need at least one so that i can view attachments, so here it is.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:19 AM   #6
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Re: Guide to Mixing

impressive.
downloaded and saved.
thank you.

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Old 02-09-2009, 06:28 AM   #7
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Re: Guide to Mixing

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Old 02-09-2009, 11:07 AM   #8
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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Re: Guide to Mixing

boooooo yaaa nice work!!

you should get this thing out there.... as you say, there is definitely a lack of an all in one mixing guide on the web. I'm sure u could make a few bob using Google Books or something? [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
the amount of times I have searched for various tips and techniques etc. and found sweet FA after 2 pages of google results.

just a thought.....

great effort anyway!

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Old 02-09-2009, 01:15 PM   #10
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Re: Guide to Mixing

i dont know if the attachment/download works for nonregistered users. i wanted to spam some german boards with it, is it ok to upload it somewhere else?

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #11
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Re: Guide to Mixing

Thanks man.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:23 PM   #12
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Re: Guide to Mixing

thanks Nhomas, awesome work bud!

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:27 PM   #13
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Re: Guide to Mixing

Much appreciated! Keep up the hard work.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:27 PM   #14
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Re: Guide to Mixing

great stuff man - downloading it now
I was jus looking at the Bob Katz book on Google Books (there are actually quite a LOT of pages viewable) - Im deffo gonna order it soon

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:01 PM   #15
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Re: Guide to Mixing

Quote:
Originally Posted by abreaktor View Post
i dont know if the attachment/download works for nonregistered users. i wanted to spam some german boards with it, is it ok to upload it somewhere else?
Feel free to spread it around.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneboxii
you should get this thing out there.... as you say, there is definitely a lack of an all in one mixing guide on the web. I'm sure u could make a few bob using Google Books or something? [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
the amount of times I have searched for various tips and techniques etc. and found sweet FA after 2 pages of google results.
Good suggestion. I'm putting this for free download on Google Books, if that's possible.

Last edited by nhomas; 02-09-2009 at 09:12 PM..

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Old 02-10-2009, 10:36 AM   #16
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Re: Guide to Mixing

wow nhomas , you put a lot of work in it! very good to read, and good knowledge!
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:06 PM   #17
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Re: Guide to Mixing

thanks very helpfu
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:58 PM   #18
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Re: Guide to Mixing

great, thanks
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:41 PM   #19
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Re: Guide to Mixing

Just finished reading it nHomas - really great work man - it almost even managed to make me understand mid/side stuff :p

thanks and Im sure its going to help me in the future

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Old 02-10-2009, 11:58 PM   #20
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Icon13 Re: Guide to Mixing

thanks a ton buddy! + [(rep) ▓ ]│


oh, wait, I'm only able to rep you once. Than may it be a big FAT +REP!

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