Mixing Tips and Techniques
- What is mixing
- What does it mean to have something "mixed"
- How can I be a mix engineer?
What is mixing
Mixing is simply the art of combining multiple sound sources into a single stereo audio file. Whether it be an MP3, WAV or other file type. Generally it's a WAV file that you'll notice that gets uploaded to an aggregator or copied to CD's or cut onto a vinyl for distribution. Mixing requires a balance (scuse the pun) of technical and creative decisions that combine to create this final stereo audio file. Mix engineers are often born out of necessity due to musicians not being able to afford professional mix engineers, this is a long and arduous journey where you may feel as though you are progressing, but that progress may be sideways instead of forwards sometimes. Either way, it's a skilled profession that is sometimes overlooked in the music industry.
What does it mean to have something "mixed"
What does it mean then, to have something "mixed". Well, the best way to describe it is, as a mix engineer you are imparting a sense of "taste" onto someones audio recording, or let's call it "art". As a mix engineer you are responsible for representing the sonic landscape of the art and presenting it in the best light you see fit. Different mix engineers may approach this sonic landscape differently, which is why it's such a subjective matter. One person's "good" mix may be "bad" to another's ears.
It is the mix engineers job to:
• Listen to the artist and interpret their intentions with their art and
• Give a sonic representation of what they are after
How can I be a mix engineer?
It's a funny question to ask, some people start out with a laptop, a usb interface, one microphone and a good attitude. Others spend 4 years at uni learning from industry professionals. It all depends on what you want to get out of it.
At the end of the day, just respect the person sitting at the desk, they have put in a lot of hard work and time to be where they are. So say thanks and be appreciative of their efforts :) If you don't like what they do, that's totally cool... Just communicate it directly and no-one will get hurt.