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The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, Second Edition

Book Description

Secrets of the top mixing engineers are revealed in this second edition of the bestselling Mixing Engineer's Handbook. In this edition, you will learn about the history and evolution of mixing, various mixing styles, the six elements of a mix, the rules for arrangement and how they impact your mix, where to build your mix from, and mixing tips and tricks for every genre of music. You will also learn the secrets of EQ and the "magic frequencies," along with tips and tricks for adding effects, EQ'ing reverbs, effects layering, calculating the delay time, and much more. A lot has changed in the recording industry since the last edition was published seven years ago, so the new edition provides completely updated information on tips for a loud mix, hypercompression, mixing for Internet distribution, warning signs of an amateur mix, MP3 encoding, streaming audio, audio codecs, de-essing, gating, surround sound mixing, and more. There is also a completely new chapter on how to get the most from mixing inside your computer, as well as a new section on the bass/drum relationship and how to make this difficult part of the mix easy. The book wraps up with insightful interviews with the top engineers in the fi eld, including George Massenburg, Allen Sides, Bruce Swedien, Elliot Scheiner, Andy Johns, Nathanial Kunkel, and several others. Join the tens of thousands of engineers who have used this book to master the art of mixing.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Foreword
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. About the Author
  5. Introduction
    1. What You’ll Learn in This Book
    2. Who This Book Is For
    3. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Meet the Mixers
  6. One. Mixing in Stereo
    1. 1. Some Background: The Evolution of Mixing
      1. Mixing Styles: LA Versus New York Versus London
        1. The New York Style
        2. The LA Style
        3. The London Style
        4. Other Styles
    2. 2. The Mechanics of Mixing
      1. Hearing the Final Product
      2. The Overall Approach
      3. Tall, Deep, and Wide
      4. The Six Elements of a Mix
    3. 3. Element 1: Balance—The Mixing Part of Mixing
      1. The Arrangement—Where It All Begins
      2. Arrangement Elements
        1. Bob Seger’s “Night Moves”
        2. Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U”
        3. Garth Brooks’ “Two Pina Coladas”
      3. Rules for Arrangements
        1. Limit the Number of Elements
        2. Everything in Its Own Frequency Range
      4. Where to Build the Mix From
      5. What Type of Program Material?
      6. Level-Setting Methods
    4. 4. Element 2: Panorama—Placing the Sound in the Soundfield
      1. Phantom Center
      2. The Three Points of Panoramic Interest
        1. The Center and the Extreme Hard Left and Right
      3. Big Mono
      4. Panning Outside the Speakers
      5. Tricks and Tips
        1. Panning in Dance Music
        2. Panning in Mono (Yes, That’s Right!)
        3. Panning for Clarity
    5. 5. Element 3: Frequency Range—Equalizing
      1. What Are You Trying to Do?
      2. Magic Frequencies
      3. EQ Methods
        1. Equalize to make an instrument sound clearer and more defined.
        2. Alternate Method
        3. Equalize to make the instrument or mix bigger and larger than life.
        4. Equalize to make all the elements of a mix fit together better by juggling frequencies so that each instrument has its own predominate frequency range.
      4. Easy-to-Remember Golden Rules of Equalization
      5. The Relationship Between Bass and Drums
      6. Tricks and Tips
        1. General Tips
        2. For Snare
        3. For Drums
        4. For Kick
        5. For Bass
        6. For Fatter Guitars
        7. For Vocals
    6. 6. Element 4: Dimension—Adding Effects
      1. EQing Reverbs
      2. Sonic Layering of Effects
      3. Calculating the Delay Time
        1. Tape-Based Delay
      4. Re-Amping
      5. True Tape Flanging
        1. The Vintage Method
        2. The DAW Method
      6. Tricks and Tips
        1. For Fatter Lead or Background Vocals
        2. For Out-of-Tune Vocals
        3. For Electronic Keyboards
        4. For Fatter Guitars
        5. Tommy Lee “Thunder Drums”
        6. Robot Voice
        7. Exploding Snare
    7. 7. Element 5: Dynamics—Compression and Gating
      1. Dynamics Controllers
      2. Compression
      3. Limiting
      4. De-Essing
      5. Gating
      6. Why Add Compression?
        1. Compression to Control Dynamics
        2. Compression as an Effect
      7. The New York Compression Trick (Parallel Compression)
      8. Compression on Individual Instruments
      9. Compression on the Mix Buss
      10. The SSL Mix Buss Compressor
      11. Setting the Compressor
        1. Amount of Compression
      12. Tricks and Tips
        1. For Snare
        2. For Drums
        3. For Piano
        4. For Vocals
        5. For Bass
        6. For Guitar
    8. 8. Element 6: Interest—The Key to Great (As Opposed to Merely Good) Mixes
      1. The Direction of the Song
      2. Develop the Groove and Build It Like a House
      3. Find the Most Important Element and Emphasize It
    9. 9. Monitoring
      1. Basic Monitor Setup
        1. Check the Distance Between the Monitors
        2. Check the Angle of the Monitors
        3. Check the Mounting of the Monitors
        4. Check the Setting of the Monitor Parameters
        5. Check the Position of the Tweeters
        6. Check the Console
      2. Mixing Volume
      3. Listening in Mono
        1. Phase Coherency
        2. Balances
        3. Panning
      4. Choosing a Monitor
        1. Things to Listen for in a Monitor
      5. Listening Tricks and Tips
    10. 10. The Master Mix
      1. Competitive Level
      2. Hypercompression
      3. Mastering
        1. Purpose of Mastering
        2. Things to Remember Before Mastering
      4. Mix-Down Formats
        1. Analog Tape
        2. Digital
          1. Standard Audio File Formats
          2. Data Compression
          3. Lossy Codecs
            1. MP3
            2. AAC
            3. MPEG-4
            4. Windows Media Audio (.wma)
            5. Ogg Vorbis (.ogg)
            6. μ-Law
            7. Dolby Digital (.ac3)
            8. DTS Coherent Acoustics
            9. Dolby-EX or DTS-ES
            10. Dolby Digital Plus
          4. Lossless Codecs
            1. FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)
            2. MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing)
            3. DTS-HD
            4. Dolby TrueHD
            5. Apple Lossless
      5. Mixing for Internet Distribution
        1. MP3 Encoding
          1. The Source File
          2. The Encoder
          3. Bit Rate
            1. Bit Rate Settings
            2. Constant Versus Average Versus Variable Bit Rate
            3. Other Settings
        2. Streaming Audio
      6. Alternative Mixes
      7. Stems
    11. 11. Mixing in the Box
      1. Driving the Desk or Gain Staging
      2. Headroom
      3. Interview with Gannon Kashiwa, Digidesign’s Professional Products Market Manager
      4. DAW Controllers
  7. Two. Mixing in Surround
    1. 12. Surround Basics
      1. A Bit of History
      2. Types of Surround Sound
        1. The LFE Channel
      3. Bass Management
      4. Other Types of Surround
    2. 13. Why Is Surround Better Than Stereo?
      1. Surround Mixing
        1. Differences Between Surround for Picture and Surround for Music
      2. Surround Mixing Schools of Thought
        1. “Audience” Versus “Middle of the Band”
      3. What Do I Put in the Center Channel?
        1. No Center Channel
        2. Isolated Elements in the Center Channel
        3. The Center as Part of the Whole
      4. What Do I Send to the LFE (Subwoofer) Channel?
      5. Do I Need to Use a Bass Manager?
      6. Surround to Stereo Compatibility
      7. Surround Master Recorders
      8. Surround Master Track Assignments
    3. 14. Data Compression Used in Surround
      1. SRS Circle Surround
      2. SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound)
      3. Surround Encoders During Mixing
      4. Dolby Digital Encoding
      5. Surround Master Media Prep
        1. Slate the Master
        2. Print a Test Tone
        3. Other Things That You Should Document
  8. Three. The Interviews
    1. 15. Joe Chiccarelli
    2. 16. Lee DeCarlo
    3. 17. Jimmy Douglass
    4. 18. Benny Faccone
    5. 19. Jerry Finn
    6. 20. Jon Gass
    7. 21. Don Hahn
    8. 22. Ken Hahn
    9. 23. Andy Johns
    10. 24. Kevin Killen
    11. 25. Bernie Kirsh
    12. 26. Nathanial Kunkel
    13. 27. George Massenburg
    14. 28. Greg Penny
    15. 29. David Pensado
    16. 30. Elliot Scheiner
    17. 31. Ed Seay
    18. 32. Allen Sides
    19. 33. Don Smith
    20. 34. Ed Stasium
    21. 35. Bruce Swedien
    22. 36. John X
  9. A. Glossary
  10. B. Delay Chart