ImKeN

I wanna learn how to mix!

31 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

 

So... recently I've been contemplating on learning how to mix, but I don't know where to start?

 

Do I have to go school to learn how to mix? Do you think it's possible to learn most things for free from sites like this and even youtube? 

 

Any advice would be a tremendous help, guys.

 

Thank you,

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of good places to start is youtube. I love these two channels. I recommend the first one for more basic training:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/recordingrevolution

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/WarrenHuartRecording

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, TPistilli said:

A couple of good places to start is youtube. I love these two channels. I recommend the first one for more basic training:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/recordingrevolution

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/WarrenHuartRecording

 

Thank you so much, TPistilli! Love those channels, Im definitely subscribing to them.

 

Thanks again,

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I won't dispute that having a general knowledge of digital audio recording has value - proper input levels and sampling rate, distance from mic and mic settings, etc.  That's the first thing you need to know.  But, in my opinion, the most valuable information you can have with respect to producing and mixing your audio and MIDI tracks once you've recorded them well, is knowledge of the capability and functions of your particular DAW and your specific plug-ins.  One you have that knowledge, then you can learn a whole lot more by simply applying it with a learn-by doing, trial-and-error approach, and judging the results with your own ears.  That's how I learned, and continue to learn.  Plus, when you learn the functions and capabilities of your specific digital "gear,"  you'll invariably also learn about general digital mixing concepts like EQ, compression, limiting, editing digital audio clips, editing MIDI events, editing tempo and pitch, automated mixing, cross-fading, etc.

 

Edited by HoboSage
4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This section of the site can also serve as a resource - http://www.songstuff.com/recording/article/

It deals with the entire production process.

 

Tom

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, tunesmithth said:

This section of the site can also serve as a resource - http://www.songstuff.com/recording/article/

It deals with the entire production process.

 

Tom

Tom,

This is great. I guess I never dug deep enough into the site to know that was there.  I will definitely benefit from this.  

Thanks,

Tony

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ken,

 

Just get stuck in and have fun. 

 

I can't can't claim to be brilliant at mixing/producing but I'm a lot better than I was a couple of years ago (when I knew pretty much nothing). I learned by doing things myself and just picking up odd tips as I went along. You'll find info here or there and a lot won't even make sense until you try things out yourself. 

 

I think you just have to want to do it... to be into it... Just go for it. But I recommend you begin by using a good DAW which will last as you develop. I use Reason, it's not the 'pro studio' standard but it comes with a lot of (perhaps ALL) the production gear you'll need (without shelling out for plugins)...although if you get hooked you'll still end up with more plugins and maybe more DAWs. Production/mixing is a lot of fun.... and a right pain in the arse too! Love it! 

 

Of course it's possible to learn for free. Just like it's possible to learn to play the guitar or sing without a lesson. You just use your ears and get into it, make a mess, and then keep improving. 

 

Dek

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, guys. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the detailed replies and encouragements! This is a pretty daunting task, that's a given, but I really want to up my songwriting game a little more. By the end of May, I'll probably be in full "student mode" trying to learn a bunch of different skills at the same time, nothing fancy but just the basics of; singing, recording, producing and mixing. My immediate concern is my singing, I tend to lose my voice every time I record a rangy song so I'll have to really look into that.

 

I'll reply to your individual posts, soon.

 

Thanks again :)

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年3月10日 at 9:07 PM, HoboSage said:

I won't dispute that having a general knowledge of digital audio recording has value - proper input levels and sampling rate, distance from mic and mic settings, etc.  That's the first thing you need to know.  But, in my opinion, the most valuable information you can have with respect to producing and mixing your audio and MIDI tracks once you've recorded them well, is knowledge of the capability and functions of your particular DAW and your specific plug-ins.  One you have that knowledge, then you can learn a whole lot more by simply applying it with a learn-by doing, trial-and-error approach, and judging the results with your own ears.  That's how I learned, and continue to learn.  Plus, when you learn the functions and capabilities of your specific digital "gear,"  you'll invariably also learn about general digital mixing concepts like EQ, compression, limiting, editing digital audio clips, editing MIDI events, editing tempo and pitch, automated mixing, cross-fading, etc.

 

 

That's exactly right, David. I have LogicPro10 but don't know much about it's capabilities. Im thinking of learning and applying at the same time, and just familiarizing myself with the DAW. My short-term goal is to stop relying heavily on my digital recorder and let the DAW take center stage! :)

 

I need all the advice I can get so thank you so much, David.

 

Ken

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年3月10日 at 11:17 PM, tunesmithth said:

This section of the site can also serve as a resource - http://www.songstuff.com/recording/article/

It deals with the entire production process.

 

Tom

 

That's so cool, Tom!! I never knew that kind of learning material was here in songstuff!? This will help me a lot :)  

 

Thank you so much,

 

Ken

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年3月10日 at 8:25 AM, MonoStone said:

Ken,

 

Just get stuck in and have fun. 

 

I can't can't claim to be brilliant at mixing/producing but I'm a lot better than I was a couple of years ago (when I knew pretty much nothing). I learned by doing things myself and just picking up odd tips as I went along. You'll find info here or there and a lot won't even make sense until you try things out yourself. 

 

I think you just have to want to do it... to be into it... Just go for it. But I recommend you begin by using a good DAW which will last as you develop. I use Reason, it's not the 'pro studio' standard but it comes with a lot of (perhaps ALL) the production gear you'll need (without shelling out for plugins)...although if you get hooked you'll still end up with more plugins and maybe more DAWs. Production/mixing is a lot of fun.... and a right pain in the arse too! Love it! 

 

Of course it's possible to learn for free. Just like it's possible to learn to play the guitar or sing without a lesson. You just use your ears and get into it, make a mess, and then keep improving. 

 

Dek

 

Thank you, Dek. That really put things into perspective for me.

 

I was really stressing over how daunting a task it is to learn production/mixing, but you reminded me why I decided to do it in the first place - it's because I love songwriting...and I want to cut costs for professional demos! lol  I know Im not a singer so I'll probably still pay professionals to do that, but, laying down a track with just one guitar in it - I could definitely do that, right!? With a lot of studying, of course :)

 

Thanks for the support, bro.

 

Ken

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's really not hard to do reasonably well (edit - I mean it's not easy to do it seriously well, but I think that has to come from experience too...I'll let you know when I get there). There's nothing daunting. 

 

If you use Reason then you'll have my support on that anytime... just shout and I'll share any info I've picked up specific to that DAW.

 

If you're recording real instruments (e,g, acoustic) or vocals then you need some recording gear...mic...audio interface... but I presume you already have that.

Edited by MonoStone
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MonoStone said:

It's really not hard to do reasonably well (edit - I mean it's not easy to do it seriously well, but I think that has to come from experience too...I'll let you know when I get there). There's nothing daunting. 

 

If you use Reason then you'll have my support on that anytime... just shout and I'll share any info I've picked up specific to that DAW.

 

If you're recording real instruments (e,g, acoustic) or vocals then you need some recording gear...mic...audio interface... but I presume you already have that.

 

Thanks, Dek.

 

Im familiar with Logic Pro and fruity loops(don't use it anymore), I also have cubase but still haven't figured how how to use it, yet. I don't think I'll get another DAW for a while lol

 

I do have some basic recording gear: Roland Duo-Capture EX and a Rode NT1-A mic. I plan on using them on a regular basis in the near future :)  I also have a semi-acoustic guitar which you've heard me playing already, I also have a semi-acoustic bass guitar which I only play when I get together with friends. That's all the tools I have right now, which I think is enough to begin my learning?

 

Ken

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that's about all you need. Logic is used by a lot of studios I think... I plan to get it soon too as a producer friend uses it and we want to do some stuff together.

 

In fact... if you're familiar with Logic already and have used another DAW in the past then how have you not done any mixing ;)  ?  How did you resist!!?

 

Oh, you obviously need something decent to listen with...depending on what kind of quality you intend to produce.... decent monitors or at least some decent headphones... but I'm guessing you already have both.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a cheap USB MIDI keyboard as a controller for the sounds in your DAW, Ken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年3月19日 at 10:35 AM, MonoStone said:

Yeah that's about all you need. Logic is used by a lot of studios I think... I plan to get it soon too as a producer friend uses it and we want to do some stuff together.

 

In fact... if you're familiar with Logic already and have used another DAW in the past then how have you not done any mixing ;)  ?  How did you resist!!?

 

Oh, you obviously need something decent to listen with...depending on what kind of quality you intend to produce.... decent monitors or at least some decent headphones... but I'm guessing you already have both.

 

lol  I just didn't know how to go about it, and on top of that, it wasn't a real necessity at the time, either. But now I gotta learn if I want to cut costs for a demo tape :)

 

I have one of those sony studio headphones...I'll start using those to make tracks. I don't trust my monitors lol

 

Switching to a new DAW is a big step but logic is definitely worth investing in ;)  Does your producer friend have a soundcloud account, I would like to hear his/her music?

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年3月19日 at 11:35 AM, HoboSage said:

Get a cheap USB MIDI keyboard as a controller for the sounds in your DAW, Ken.

 

Thanks for the tip, David! I'll start looking for one :)

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎2016‎-‎03‎-‎17 at 8:08 AM, ImKeN said:

 

That's exactly right, David. I have LogicPro10 but don't know much about it's capabilities. Im thinking of learning and applying at the same time, and just familiarizing myself with the DAW. My short-term goal is to stop relying heavily on my digital recorder and let the DAW take center stage! :)

 

I need all the advice I can get so thank you so much, David.

 

Ken

 

A great youtube tutorial series by MusicTechHelpGuy that I use to learn Logic Pro X.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXmi76euGSyzX8KMPAHJPyOSZy5w4CsV9

/Daniel

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, zzeb said:

A great youtube tutorial series by MusicTechHelpGuy that I use to learn Logic Pro X.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXmi76euGSyzX8KMPAHJPyOSZy5w4CsV9

/Daniel

 

Hey, Daniel.

 

I, actually, came across that channel a week ago and subscribed. I found his teachings very detailed and easy to understand coz he explains everything step by step! :D

 

Thanks for the help, anyway!

 

Ken

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ken, I also use Logic Pro X and found it very daunting to begin with, but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Try and get a midi controller that allows you to mix (m-audio do this), so you can use the functions on the controller and it has a more tactile feel than using the logic app.

 

you will probably end up looking at various plugins to help with mixing and mastering. Waves do a good range and some of their newer ones are so good, you hardly have to put much effort in. I am looking at and demoing the Greg Wells plugins and because all the magic is done in the background, their is just one knob and maybe a couple of other things to tweet to get a really good sound. They can be quite expensive, but they are constantly doing deals on their website and do a weekend deal where they have 3 plugins for sale on the Saturday and a different 3 on the Sunday. You should have a look if you really want to get into this a bit more.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2016年8月1日 at 4:58 AM, Richard Tracey said:

Hi Ken, I also use Logic Pro X and found it very daunting to begin with, but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Try and get a midi controller that allows you to mix (m-audio do this), so you can use the functions on the controller and it has a more tactile feel than using the logic app.

 

you will probably end up looking at various plugins to help with mixing and mastering. Waves do a good range and some of their newer ones are so good, you hardly have to put much effort in. I am looking at and demoing the Greg Wells plugins and because all the magic is done in the background, their is just one knob and maybe a couple of other things to tweet to get a really good sound. They can be quite expensive, but they are constantly doing deals on their website and do a weekend deal where they have 3 plugins for sale on the Saturday and a different 3 on the Sunday. You should have a look if you really want to get into this a bit more.

 

Sorry for the late reply, Richard. 

 

I ended up getting a MASCHINE back in July, it's much much easier to make beats with it. I've also started taking an online Coursera course for production, which I find quite difficult but Im hanging in there lol

 

I looked up the Greg Wells and came across his Mixing Plugin MixCentric video. It sounded pretty amazing and looks pretty easy to use(for a greenhorn like myself)! Thank you for the valuable information.

 

Ken

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My goal in creating this guide is not to teach every single individual DJ skill, in great detail. Rather, you can use this guide as a resource while establishing yourself as a happy and successful DJ.

I’d also like to invite you to listen to my weekly talk show: The Passionate DJ Podcast. Featuring exclusive interviews, tips, stories, entertainment, and inspiration for DJs… it is the first (and only) show of its kind. We would love for you to join us in our journey to become better DJs through passion and purpose.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the great things about the web is all the info you can obtain either for free or for not a lot of money.

 

I get around to a few other boards and sometimes I run across a jewel to share. One site that a few of my fellow mixers really like is MixbusTV. This guy uses pro tools which really doesn't matter because the concepts are the same in any DAW. Check it out! He is a very good mixer.

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/mixbustv

 

I am using a Presonus interface with Cakewalk Sonar software. I just downloaded about 30 new free skins for it created by users. I can make my software look like Logic or Reaper or anything else. Cool huh? I can't wait to try the new skins!

 

When a person is getting into mixing it's best to take it one stage at a time. Don't let it intimidate you. The new person usually starts out getting the right input levels or gain staging, getting a clean signal into the DAW. Which instruments to trim certain frequencies off of through use of EQ. Realizing and accounting for the cumulative effect of multiple tracks either stand alone or fed into buses. Establishing a good monitoring environment. Monitor placement. Making corrections for how the song will sound on different systems.

 

Secondly, what types of plug ins are best for any given situation. There are many different reverbs / compressors / limiters. Some are better than others.Should you route tracks to a bus? Should you make use of more than one reverb? There are  application specific plug ins that can help get the mix to the next level. Some plug ins are reactive based on input. There are some really cool routing tricks pro mixers use to get better results.

 

I recommend learning all you can about your DAW and watching some of those videos. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@jenellegarrett, thanks for the help. I'm not really looking to become a DJ but I will take a look at your site. Cheers!

 

@starise,

 

Thank you for that piece of info, I took a quick glance at one of the videos and it looks very good! Your DAW is now a chameleon!? Haha. I'm going with a hands on approach to learning new skills. For example, if I want to create a cool a hip hop drum beat then I go online and search for free tutorials on making a hip hop beat, I watch what they do and if I like the sound of it I apply it to my own beat. This way, I'm productive and learning new skills at the same time :)

 

I have found a few LogicProX tutorials on youtube so I'm regularly following those videos in my free time.

 

Thanks again for your help, Starise.

 

Ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, ImKeN said:

Thank you for that piece of info, I took a quick glance at one of the videos and it looks very good! Your DAW is now a chameleon!? Haha. I'm going with a hands on approach to learning new skills. For example, if I want to create a cool a hip hop drum beat then I go online and search for free tutorials on making a hip hop beat, I watch what they do and if I like the sound of it I apply it to my own beat. This way, I'm productive and learning new skills at the same time :)

 

This sounds like a very good approach. There are things I'm picking up now that make me want to re visit mixes I made awhile back. Not sure if Logic includes drum replacement. Sonar has it. I can take a whimpy drum sound and replace it with something HUGE. Since this isn't usually my genre I don't do it often, but I love playing with this stuff! 

 

When it comes to drums, another thing I've done, that was from a recommendation over on the Cakewalk site, is buy EZ player from Toontrack. EZ player will route drum midi loops to any drum engine. I typically use software drum programs instead of drum loops in acid or rex format. EZ player is also a drum construction platform with multiple tracks.

 

 

I have Addictive drums 2, BFD 2, BFD ECO, Session Drummer, at least 5 drum kits in my NI Komplete. I can take ANY midi drum loop, load it into EZ player and route it to ANY one of my drum kits. Since midi drum software companies don't map their kits all the same, having a program to "centralize" all drums is amazing!  For a short time you can get all the midi drum loops from looploft for only 81.00! 

 

Probably TMI for you right now. Something to consider later maybe.

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ken

 

When I was young I just experimented with little foundation in knowledge, and emulated the approach and techniques of other mix engineers. It wasn't until I was older that I reapproached mixing based upon an understanding of what I was doing to sound. In fact, when I reapproached mixing I had a far, far better understanding of what sound was, and what is looked like. It made a world of difference.

 

I found that training my ears was, of course, very important. But the big difference for me was in visualising sound, and visualising what I was doing to sound, with every tweak and every effect.

 

Effects and processors can do quite complex things to sound across 3 aspects: amplitude, in the time domain and amplitude in the frequency domain. Use DAW tool spectrum analysis to help with understanding frequency domain, and use a wave editor to understand the time domain.

 

I found using 4 test wave forms helped with time domain effects and processing, including EQ. I used sine, square, triangle and saw. To help with getting what was going on in the frequency domain I tried both known wave forms at mixed frequencies mixed together and white/pink noise. Each had different benefits. On top of that I learned and understood the maths involved... but that was because I was learning about designing digital and analogue effects! So I don't recommend most people fo this!. I also learned what theoretically Each effect and treatment should do in the digital and analogue domain and the limitations of electronic circuitry.

 

All that did improve my understanding. It helped me visualise what is going on, whether that is cutting an EQ hole in a pad to allow other instruments to cut through, or applying a chorus effect etc. One of the reasons I love Isotope tools is their visualisation.

 

My point here (yes there is one) is that anything that improves understanding is good. Experimentation using your ears is necessary, an absolute minimum... trial and error. But you can greatly improve the speed and accuracy if your understanding of what is going on is developed in parallel.... and as part of the experimentation. Simple waves like sine, square, triangle and saw make visual change pretty obvious. Different waves also let you see the effect that quicker transitions can have.

 

I realise few would go to the lengths I did, but it doesn't mean doing some of what I did wouldn't be very useful. This at least allows you to experiment with more focus, and with the ability to improve your learning.

 

On mixing itself, times have changed (and with recent development come full circle). When I started mixing there was no automation. Ok perhaps on very high end Neve desks. Mixes had to be rehearsed. Group faders were essential, as were trainee engineers to manage sections of faders. You learned your mix much like playing a musical instrument. It introduced another performance element and level of variation mix to mix. Latest mixing control systems seem to be reintroducing this as a feature. I always enjoyed that, it has to be said.

 

These days you can control and automate your mix to a fine level if detail. All the more reason to understand your console knobs, faders and switches, and the effects and processors you use from VSTs to console EQ.

 

Testing is best done using test signals (many consoles can generate them) and by using reference recordings. Reference recordings are essential for getting to know your system, especially when getting to know the effects of amplifier and monitors on a recording. You know how your reference recordings will sound on different systems, so you can work out how your new mix sould sound (ball park) in order to achieve a similar balance on other systems... Moore of an issue when you do your own mastering.

 

I hope this rambling is of some use! Lol

 

Cheers

 

John 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

21 minutes ago, john said:

Testing is best done using test signals (many consoles can generate them) and by using reference recordings. Reference recordings are essential for getting to know your system, especially when getting to know the effects of amplifier and monitors on a recording. You know how your reference recordings will sound on different systems, so you can work out how your new mix sould sound (ball park) in order to achieve a similar balance on other systems... Moore of an issue when you do your own mastering.

 

Great info John. Regarding reference recordings. here is an example of a plug in that can take your favorite band finished mix and compare it with your own tracks. There might be a free one out there. I  use Ozone Insight because it also shows frequency and stereo image. I haven't been comparing to masters lately because I can't find any that are a good fit for me. If I wanted to, say, have a mix that sounded like Brianna, I could load it and compare at the same db.

 

Though Mcompare isn't injecting reference tones it allows a person to directly compare masters.

 

 

Edited by starise
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Wow! I like the way this thread keeps building up with more and more information on production/mixing/mastering, advice! Thanks to everyone, of course [smiley=hippy.gif]

 

 

@john, that was a lot to take in but I enjoyed it. I'm still training my ears to pick up general muddiness in a track right now but what you said about visualizing the different types of sound has got me curious. I'm also looking up the difference between pink and white noise right now, you've exposed me to a whole different world of sounds and I'm loving' it! Im gonna look up the waves, sine, square, triangle and saw, next.

 

I don't have the monitors for mastering atm, I'll focus on mixing sounds for a while.

 

Thanks a ton :)

 

Ken

 

 

@starise,

10 hours ago, starise said:

Probably TMI for you right now. Something to consider later maybe.

 

Yes, I will definitely consider all the options for quality plugins later on - I need to get my basic knowledge up a whole lot more so I can understand what I'm doing! Haha

 

Mcompare sounds really interesting, though! I'll probably need it for mastering my own stuff in the near future.

 

Thanks man,

 

Ken

 

 

 

Edited by ImKeN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I seen this and thought it would be relavent to this discussion. One way to learn mixing is to listen to truly good mixes and emulate them.

 

Yeah, this is a pitch from iZotope to look at their wares. Admittedly they have great plug ins, especially for mastering work. You can get good mastering plug ins from plenty of other sources too i.e. T-Racks. 

 

Still, these are some finest of the fine mixes :) If you could develop these kinds of mixing chops, you could probably land a decent job in a decent studio.

 

https://www.izotope.com/en/community/blog/izotope-news/2017/03/5-songs-that-are-brilliantly-mixed-and-mastered.html?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=MailChimp&utm_campaign=2017-03+Master+the+Mix&utm_content=MPB1+Oz7Adv+NeutronAdv&utm_term=Bump+5

 

iZotope offer a free mixing guide as a .pdf download. Highly recommended.

 

https://www.izotope.com/content/izotope/en/support/support-resources/guides/mixing-with-izotope.html

Edited by starise
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017/3/24 at 2:10 AM, starise said:

iZotope offer a free mixing guide as a .pdf download. Highly recommended.

 

This is VERY helpful! Thanks, @starise :rolleyes:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.