Forget about that though. Today, I’m here to burst some bubbles, to rain on some parades, and to let you know that that production trick you think is so cool is actually kind of whack. Well, maybe anyway.
Some of the instrumental techniques in this article suffer from the same problem: being obvious attempts at breathing life into a song that just doesn’t feel exciting. Others are cool tricks that can sometimes create problems in a mix, and more novice producers might find themselves doing more harm than good when they employ them. If your favorite production move turns up on this list, don’t take it personally! All of these techniques can be and have been done well — that just means the bar has been raised for anybody who still wants to use them
Mix engineers today are asked to do far more than simply mix the song. In fact, it’s now expected that they clean the tracks, eliminate pops and clicks, adjust the track timing, and replace or augment some of the sounds as well. Another job that falls to many mix engineers today is correcting the pitch of any track that needs it. This process is faster and easier than ever, but like anything else, you still need good fundamental technique to seamlessly pull it off.
Some advice on pitch correction from Bobby Owsinski.
Compressors and limiters are used to reduce dynamic range — the span between the softest and loudest sounds. Using compression can make your tracks sound more polished by controlling maximum levels and maintaining higher average loudness. Here are some compression basics, different compression types, and some tips to try on your tracks.
Mason Hicks does an excellent job of describing compression, compressors, and why do it at all.
Note that the stock compressor in Logic Pro X can be used for each of the compressor types — tube, optical, FET, and VCA. The “Platinum” compressor in Logic is really none of the types listed, maybe more like a Distressor?
When it comes to discussing the fine art of mixing music, I tend to approach the subject with some trepidation. After all, compared to many of the topics I’ve written about, this one is rife with subjectivity — one person’s idea of a great sounding mix may be another’s sonic nightmare. And what works for one genre of music will be decidedly wrong for another.But all those variables aside, there are at least a few general theories, tips, and tricks that apply to most mix projects. So while the idea here is not to give a step-by-step tutorial on two-track mixing, hopefully we can cover at least a few concepts that are useful for everyone.
Daniel Keller’s mixing techniques. The images showing mic placement have decent starting points. The loudness contour frequency chart is especially useful.
Consider this panning of instruments as a preset…