You are previewing The Art of Mixing: A Visual Guide to Recording, Engineering, and Production, Second Edition.
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The Art of Mixing: A Visual Guide to Recording, Engineering, and Production, Second Edition

Book Description

Get ready for an in-depth exploration into the aesthetics of what makes a great mix! David Gibson's unique approach to mixing gives you a visual representation of the dynamics of the sounds involved in creating a musical mix. Through this three-dimensional, colorful explanation, you are introduced to a framework that will help you understand everything that an engineer does-- enabling you to not only recognize what you like, but how to achieve it in your studio. Expand your recording techniques by learning what your recording equipment does and how it all works together in a simple, visual manner. From bluegrass to big band, new age to heavy metal, classical to hip-hop, jazz to rap, and alternative rock to techno, Gibson has mapped out everything that can be done to create various effects in all standard mixes. Once you have a perspective on what can be done, you have the power to be truly creative on your own: to make art out of technology.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Prefaces
    1. Preface to the First Edition
    2. Preface to the Second Edition
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. About the Author
  5. List of Visuals
  6. Introduction
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Appendices
  7. The Best of the Color Visuals
    1. Styles of Music
      1. Visual A. Electronica Mix
      2. Visual B. Blues Mix
      3. Visual C. Rap Mix
      4. Visual D. Reggae Mix
      5. Visual E. Heavy Metal Mix
      6. Visual F. New Age Mix
      7. Visual G. Alternative Rock Mix
      8. Visual H. Acoustic Jazz Mix
      9. Visual I. Folk Music Mix
      10. Visual J. Bluegrass Mix
      11. Visual K. Big Band Mix
      12. Visual L. Orchestra Mix
      13. Visual M. Balanced Orchestral Mix
    2. Actual Mixes
    3. Surround Mixes
    4. Favorite Visuals
    5. Mix Perspectives
    6. Favorite Visuals
    7. Favorite Visuals
  8. 1. All Aspects of a Recorded Piece of Music
    1. Aspect #1: Concept or Theme
    2. Aspect #2: Melody
    3. Aspect #3: Rhythm
    4. Aspect #4: Harmony
    5. Aspect #5: Lyrics
    6. Aspect #6: Density
    7. Aspect #7: Instrumentation
      1. Problem Sounds
      2. Quality Sounds
    8. Aspect #8: Song Structure
    9. Aspect #9: Performance
      1. Pitch
    10. Timing
      1. Technique
      2. Dynamics
      3. Greatness
        1. Budget
        2. Deadlines
        3. Purpose of a Project
        4. Expertise of Musicians
        5. Apparent Musical Values
        6. Determination
    11. Aspect #10: Quality of the Equipment and the Recording
    12. Aspect #11: The Mix
  9. 2. Visual Representations of “Imaging”
    1. Section A
    2. Physical Sound Waves versus the Imagined Placement of Sounds between the Speakers
      1. Physical Sound Waves
      2. “Imaging”
    3. Section B
    4. The Space between the Speakers
      1. Mapping Volume, Frequency, and Panning Visually
      2. Panning as Left to Right
      3. Volume as Front to Back
      4. Pitch as Up and Down
      5. Defining the Boundaries of the 3D Stereo Field of Imaging
    5. Section C
    6. Visual Representations of Sounds
      1. Size as a Function of Frequency Range
      2. Size as a Function of Volume
      3. Size as a Function of Stereo Spread
      4. Size as a Function of Reverb
    7. Notes on Design of Visuals
      1. Shape
      2. Color
  10. 3. Guides to a Great Mix (Reasons for Creating One Style of Mix or Another)
    1. Section A
    2. The Style of Music
    3. Section B
    4. The Song and All of Its Details
      1. Concept
      2. Melody
      3. Rhythm
      4. Harmony
      5. Lyrics
      6. Density
      7. Instrumentation
      8. Song Structure
      9. Performance
      10. Quality of the Recording Equipment and the Recording
      11. Mix
    5. Summary of Section B
    6. Section C
    7. The People Involved—Who’s Mixing This Anyway?
    8. Values of the Engineer
    9. Values of the Clients
    10. Values of the Mass Audience
      1. Tradition versus Inspiration and Creativity
  11. 4. Functions of Studio Equipment and Visual Representations of All Parameters
    1. Section A
    2. Volume Controls
      1. Faders
        1. Fader Level
        2. Waveform (or Harmonic Structure)
        3. The Fletcher/Munson Curve
      2. Compressor/Limiters
        1. Compressor/Limiter Functions
          1. Better Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Less Hiss
          2. Stabilizing the Image of Sounds: More Presence
          3. Sharper or Slower Attack
          4. More Sustain
          5. Less Resonance
        2. Compressor/Limiters: How to Set Them
          1. Ratio Settings
          2. Threshold Settings
          3. How Much Compression?
          4. Mastering
      3. Noise Gates
        1. Noise Eradication
        2. Bleed Eradication
        3. Shortening the Duration
    3. Section B
    4. Equalizers
      1. Types of Equalizers
        1. Graphics
        2. Parametrics
          1. Paragraphics
        3. Rolloffs
      2. Frequency (Pitch)
        1. Frequency Ranges
          1. Low Bass: Less Than 40Hz
          2. Bass: 40 to 100Hz
          3. Oohzone: 100 to 800Hz
          4. Midranges: 800 to 5000Hz
          5. Highs: 5000 to 8000Hz
          6. Hi-Highs: More Than 8000Hz
        2. The Complexities of Frequencies: The Harmonic Structure of Sound
      3. Using Equalizers
        1. When to Equalize
          1. Equalizing in Solo before Recording onto the Multitrack
          2. Equalizing in the Mix before Recording onto the Multitrack
          3. Equalizing in Solo During Mixdown
          4. Equalizing in the Mix During Mixdown
          5. Equalizing the Entire Mix During Mastering
      4. Using an Equalizer: Step-by-Step Instructions
        1. The Step-by-Step Process for EQ’ing a Sound
          1. Cut Muddiness (150–800Hz)
          2. Boost Lows (40–150Hz)
          3. Cut Irritation (800–5000Hz)
          4. Boost Highs (5000–8000Hz)
          5. Pull Up the Equalizer and Reset to “0”
          6. Boost the Volume All the Way
          7. Sweep the Frequency Setting
          8. Set the Bandwidth
          9. Return the Volume Knob to “0”
          10. Boost or Cut the Volume to Taste
          11. Check to See If You Like What You Did
          12. Common Terminology for EQ Frequencies
    5. Section C
    6. Panpots and Stereo Placement
    7. Section D
    8. Time-Based Effects
      1. Delays
        1. Delay Times versus Distance
        2. Different Delay Times
          1. More Than 100ms
          2. 60 to 100ms
          3. 30 to 60ms
          4. 1 to 30ms
          5. 0 to 1ms
        3. Panning of Delays
      2. Flangers, Choruses, and Phase Shifters
        1. Rate, Speed, or Frequency
        2. Width, Depth, or Intensity
          1. Feedback
          2. Negative Feedback
      3. Reverb
        1. Room Types
        2. Reverb Time
        3. Predelay Time
        4. Diffusion
        5. EQ of Reverb
        6. High- and Low-Frequency Reverb Time
        7. Reverb Envelope
      4. Harmony Processors
      5. Pitch Correctors
  12. 5. Musical Dynamics Created with Studio Equipment
    1. The Dynamics in Music and Songs
    2. The Dynamics Created by the Equipment
      1. Level 1—Individual Settings
      2. Level 2—Overall Patterns
      3. Level 3—Movement (Changing Settings)
      4. Invisible versus Visible Mixes
    3. Dynamics Created by Studio Equipment Categorized by Emotional Effect
    4. Section A
    5. Volume Control Dynamics
      1. Fader Volume Levels
        1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Volume Placement and Settings
      2. Ranges of Apparent Volume Levels
        1. Apparent Volume Level 1
        2. Apparent Volume Level 2
        3. Apparent Volume Level 3
        4. Apparent Volume Level 4
        5. Apparent Volume Level 5
        6. Apparent Volume Level 6
      3. Vocals
        1. Apparent Volume Level 2
        2. Apparent Volume Level 3
        3. Apparent Volume Level 4
      4. Snare
        1. Apparent Volume Level 2
        2. Apparent Volume Level 3
        3. Apparent Volume Level 4
        4. Apparent Volume Level 5
      5. Kick Drum
        1. Apparent Volume Level 1
        2. Apparent Volume Level 2
        3. Apparent Volume Level 3
        4. Apparent Volume Level 4
        5. Apparent Volume Level 5
      6. Bass Guitar
        1. Apparent Volume Level 1
        2. Apparent Volume Level 2
        3. Apparent Volume Level 3
        4. Apparent Volume Level 4
      7. Tom Toms
        1. Apparent Volume Level 2
        2. Apparent Volume Level 3
        3. Apparent Volume Level 4
        4. Apparent Volume Levels 5 and 6
      8. Hi-Hat
        1. Apparent Volume Level 2
        2. Apparent Volume Level 3 and 4
        3. Apparent Volume Level 5
      9. Cymbals
        1. Apparent Volume Level 2
        2. Apparent Volume Levels 3 and 4
      10. Effects
        1. Apparent Volume Level 1
        2. Apparent Volume Level 2
        3. Apparent Volume Levels 3 and 4
        4. Apparent Volume Level 5
      11. Other Instruments
      12. Summary of Section A
        1. Level 2 Dynamics: Overall Patterns of Volume
        2. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Volume Levels
      13. Compressor/Limiters
        1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Compressor/Limiter Placement and Settings
        2. Level 2 Dynamics: Overall Patterns of Compressor/Limiter Settings in a Mix
        3. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Compressor/Limiter Settings (Levels and Parameters)
      14. Noise Gates
        1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Noise Gate Placement and Relative Settings
        2. Level 2 Dynamics: Patterns of Noise Gate Placement
        3. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Noise Gate Settings (Levels and Parameters)
    6. Section B
    7. Equalization Dynamics
      1. Equalization Dynamics
        1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Equalization Settings and Placement
      2. Natural EQ
      3. Kick
      4. Snare
      5. Hi-Hat
      6. Bass
      7. Guitar
      8. Vocals
      9. Piano
      10. Organ
      11. Horns
      12. Acoustic Guitar
      13. Interesting EQ
        1. Level 2 Dynamics: Overall Patterns of Equalization
        2. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Equalization
    8. Section C
    9. Panning Dynamics
      1. Panning Dynamics
        1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Panning Settings and Placement
      2. Kick Drum
      3. Snare Drum
      4. Hi-Hat
      5. Tom Toms
      6. Overheads
      7. Drums as a Whole
      8. Bass Guitar
      9. Lead Vocals
      10. Background Vocals
      11. Piano
      12. Guitars
      13. Horns/Strings
      14. Effects
        1. Delay
        2. Flanging, Chorusing, Phasing
        3. Reverb
        4. Level 2 Dynamics: Patterns of Panning Placement
      15. Natural Panning
      16. Balanced versus Lopsided Panning
      17. Crowd Control
        1. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Panning
    10. Section D
    11. Dynamics Created with Time-Based Effects
      1. Level 1 Dynamics: Individual Effects Placement and Relative Settings
      2. Level 2 Dynamics: Patterns in Effects Placement
        1. Sparse Mixes
        2. Full Mixes
      3. Level 3 Dynamics: Changing Effects (Types, Levels, and Parameters)
  13. 6. Styles of Mixes
    1. Using Combinations of Multiple Settings to Create High-Level Dynamics
      1. Creating a Context Or Style of Mix
      2. Changing the Style of Mix in the Middle of the Song
  14. 7. Magic in Music, Songs, and Equipment
    1. Putting It All in Perspective
  15. 8. 3D Sound Processors and Surround Sound Mixing
    1. Effects
    2. Vocals
    3. Background Vocals
    4. Drums
    5. Bass
  16. 9. Mixing Procedures
    1. The Mixing Process
      1. Equalize Each Instrument Individually
      2. Bring Up the Mix
        1. Bring Up Fader/Volume
        2. Pan to Taste
        3. Add Effects
      3. Refine Volumes, Panning, Equalization, and Effects
      4. Automation—Plan Out and Practice Moves to Be Done During the Mix
    2. Automation
      1. Poor Man’s Automation
      2. Automation Procedures
        1. Automating Mutes
        2. Automating Volumes
        3. Automating Panning
        4. Automating EQ
        5. Automation Effects
      3. Mastering
  17. A. Using an Equalizer: The Step-by-Step Process
  18. B. Mastering: The Step-by-Step Process
  19. C. Homework for the Rest of Your Life: An Overview
    1. Critique the 11 Aspects
      1. Listen to Other Styles of Music
      2. Which of the 11 Aspects Is the Mix Based On the Most?
      3. Amount of Bass on Kick Versus Bass on Bass
      4. Critiquing Compression Levels
      5. Critiquing All Four Tools On Each Instrument
      6. Where Is the Magic?
  20. D. The Virtual Mixer™ (Patent #5,812,688)
    1. A 3D Visual Interface for Displaying Mixes and Controlling All Mixing Functions
      1. Background
      2. What It Does
      3. Basics
      4. Formats
      5. Pricing
      6. More Engrossing
      7. More Intuitive
      8. More Conducive to the Creative Process
      9. More Information About the Mix
      10. More Perspective
      11. More Relationships
      12. Better Communication
      13. More Fun