The Process of Audio Mixing (6)
Here are the steps involved in audio mixing a project. However, note that these often interact to a large extent, and at times you may find yourself going back to previous steps or anticipating future ones.
9. Listen Selectively for Elements that Don't Belong in the Mix
Think about any changes in arrangement that will be made via mixing. One of the worst thingsyou can say about a mix is that it's "cluttered". The mix is your last chance to drop out parts that aren't necessary, as well as record any last minute emergency overdubs. Generally, less is more when it comes to mixing. The fewer the number of competing parts, the easier it is for the listener to focus in on the most important parts of a tune. If you have a mono part that you've mutated into stereo, try having just one channel active at first and brining in the second channel of the stereo pair when the song needs a bit of a boost. Always be conscious of anything you can do to increase the clarity, definition, and effectiveness of a tune.
10. Try mixing subtractively
Instead of listening for elements that are too quiet, and raising them in level; try listening for the instrument that stands out too far, and bring this element back in level to tuck it "into the pocket", or bringing it back into balance. This approach can go a long way towards cleaning tip clutter. Apply this method especially to all those little overdubs, which may not be absolutely essential to the mix
With present technology, it's tempting to stuff a multitrack full of tracks on the asuumption that any excess can be eliminated in the mix, but it's important to ask yourself whether a part adds to the song, or merely to the clutter. Then act accordingly. If you're absolutely sure that a part isn't needed, erase it from the tape (or sequence) so you don't have to remember to turn on the mute or pull down the fader when mixing.
*A brief side note about the politics of erasing tracks:
When the occasion arises that you are going to record over ANY previously recorded track, so should be sure to first confirm this with the person in charge (the producer or the artist) before doing so. This can be assimple as saying: "We're going to erase this track? Is that right? O.K. we're going over it." And say it in front of witnesses.
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