Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Music Mixing Process 1 - Levels

February 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 165

I will split this explanation up as I believe it will be easier to tell you about everything involved, so let's get started!

Mixing: The process of creating sonic balance and harmony by:

Gain Staging (levels)Compression (taming instruments)Equalization (shaping instruments to live in their own space)Automation (used for automatic, real-time changes)Effects (creating spaces and more)

Gain staging is the first process involved with mixing after cleaning up any silence on tracks. What this accomplishes is two things:

Establishes proper headroom in this digital domainStarts the mix

Headroom is significant in mixing due to the fact that there is so much room dynamically that you do not need to record or mix very hot as one might do using tape machines and big consoles for pleasing saturation. If levels are too hot in the digital realm, you risk clipping and destroying the integrity of the audio. You really only want to reach clipping with older consoles that saturate nicely, otherwise, avoid clipping at all costs unless for specific creative purposes.

Here, you can see the levels of all the tracks which are hovering around -18dB, this particular level offers the most benefit while mixing as it leaves plenty of headroom for the mastering stage and establishes proper gains for the instruments to avoid clipping and distorting.

Essentially, the goal of gain staging is to begin the "rough mix" which is just a term for general mix balance. Once established, compression and EQ come into play to really begin shaping the sound field. Mixing is truly the art of balance because as engineers we are constantly going back and forth between various EQ plug-ins, fine tuning levels and effects to achieve the best spectral balance we possibly can with the material given to us.

There isn't too much more to say with gain staging except that it is necessary in a lot of cases, especially in those cases involving tracks that come in around -5dB all over. That's just way too hot and completely unnecessary in today's production world. That being said, all of us engineers mix completely different from one another and have different views, a lot of audio is subjective but a lot is also generally agreed upon.

In short, compression simply tames loud spikes to get a more even and smooth level response. It can also be used to bring lower information UP as well.

Connect with me:

Subscribe on YouTube

Josh Hayward is a recording/mixing engineer currently located in Sacramento, CA, trained in Austin, TX at Arlyn Studios by those who have worked with Willie Nelson, Prince, The Black Crowes and more.

Paired with a recording arts degree from Mediatech Institute and extensive studio experience, your sonic sculpture is in the right hands.

To learn more about the author and hear examples or have any questions vist

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Music Mixing Process


Mixing Process


Music Mixing


Gain Staging


Music Production


Music Mixer





It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a camera but you will never run short of photographs if you think of photo hire.It is true that a photo booth hire cannot actually replace a

By: Simon Liva l Arts & Entertainment > Photography l November 21, 2012 lViews: 268

Well-known director Pascal Laugier is once again all set to frighten his fans with another dreadful affair, The Tall Man. The spooky thriller has been produced by Clément Miserez, Kevin DeWalt,

By: rose jasmin l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 02, 2012 lViews: 262

The Good Wife is an American legal drama series. It was first broadcasted on CBS on 22nd September, 2009. It is the creation of Robert King and Michelle King. It is produced by the Kings, Ridley and

By: Monu Mani l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l November 01, 2012 lViews: 258

ICarly in an American teens show created by Dan Schneider who is also the executive producer of the show. this show is about a girl named Carly Shay who along with her best friends Sam and Freeddie

By: elvis l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 265

Love stories are supposed to be full of romance, seduction and enduring love. As these funny love stories show, however, these stories can also be filled with laughter. Fortunately, shared laughter

By: Jasmine Montford l Arts & Entertainment > Humor l October 25, 2012 lViews: 311

Lost is an American television science fictional series that is full of mystery, adventure and supernatural drama. It was originally broadcasted on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010,

By: ramandeep l Arts & Entertainment > Movies TV l October 25, 2012 lViews: 337

This article discusses what makes a program in audio school more competitive for finding a career. It then looks at the different types of courses and programs a student can take.

By: Michael Zunenshinel Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl July 04, 2012 lViews: 230

Rap instruments and elements in hip hop music are the drum beat, sampling, synthesizers, recording, vocal recording, digital audio workstation and live instrumentation. As time moved on rap

By: Ismael Rudy Quinonesl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl July 01, 2012 lViews: 1305

For an emerging singer, DJ, or band obtaining a 'buzz' about their work is hard to achieve. Besides all of the obvious talent necessary to get fans, you also need product to be distributed. There are

By: Jack W Speldingl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl June 27, 2012 lViews: 203

If you are new DJ or just preparing to invest a substantial amount of money into DJ equipment, you maybe wondering if you should ante up the substantial cash it takes to invest in a pair of CD

By: Jerome A Hutchinsonl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl June 27, 2012 lViews: 207

The National Association of Mobile Entertainers ( NAME) provides everything from DJ Education, DJ Insurance to DJ Certification. Like N.A.M.E. above, the American DJ Association (ADJA), aims to aid

By: Jerome A Hutchinsonl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl June 25, 2012 lViews: 201

Building up a career in music can be difficult. With the help of the right professional audio equipment, though, you can be on your way to success. Learn more about it by reading this article.

By: Lincoln Schwarzl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl June 25, 2012 lViews: 281

I get a lot of questions asked about auto-tune, quantization, etc and I feel that there is a general confusion by musicians about what part of work is actually what part. I will explain the

By: Josh Haywardl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl February 21, 2012 lViews: 176

Automation can also be used as manual compression which is what we will focus on. Manually going in and taming peaks for a more natural, smoother response from the particular instrument that is being

By: Josh Haywardl Arts & Entertainment > Music Industryl February 21, 2012 lViews: 185