The Four Main Elements Involved in Making a Mix
This involves balancing the level of each sound with respect to the other sounds.
Carefully adjusting the timbre of each sound can make the difference between a muddy mix and a masterpiece.
Stereo allows us to create a soundstage for our instruments. Proper stereo placement results in an open-sounding, full mix.
Applying ambience, such as reverb and echo, adds a third dimension-depth-to the otherwise two-dimensional left/right soundstage created by stereo placement. Special effects include limiting, compression, phase shifting, pitch shifting, and other outboard goodies that add more character and/or animation to a sound.
What makes mixing so complex is that these four elements interact. Changing a sound's EQ also changes the level, changing the amount of ambience alters the soundstage, and so on. In a way, a mix is a "combination lock", in which once all four elements click into place, you have the perfect mix.
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