Establishing Your Mix.Written by Richard Dolmat
Now that you’ve spent hours and days and weeks and months recording your musical masterpieces (and you’ve also read my article “Tips for a Great Recording Session”), you have arrived at my favorite time in studio; The Mixdown. But don’t think your job is done yet! The mixdown is just as important as recording. As an artist, you have to approach mixdown from an artist’s point of view and stay on ‘creative’ side of fence where it’s still possible to shape and mold your songs throughout mixdown process. Remember old “Yin-Yang” principle which states, “whenever you turn something up, something else disappears. Furthermore; whenever you turn something down, something else gets louder”. This applies to EQ, levels and almost anywhere you have two or more tracks.
The Beginning Of The End
STOP!! Don’t even think about starting your mixdown on same day you finish tracking. Take a day off, have a break and then come back refreshed with a new perspective.
Now back to business...
First of all, let’s “zero board”. This is simply action of bringing all faders to bottom (-∞) and centering all pan knobs and effects sends. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “but our mix sounded good when we were tracking!”. OK, but did mix actually sound good or were you just accustomed to hearing it that way? That’s why zero-ing board is important. It flushes your memory and allows you to start from scratch. It might even be better to mix a song that you finished recording a while back.
1.Get Kicked. This is where I prefer to start. Other people like to start with vocals and build around them. But I’m more rhythm based and prefer to start with kick drum. One tricky part of any mix is getting a good gain-stage structure where you don’t clip master faders at end of your mixing session when all your instrument faders are raised. We must be careful to keep watching master bus clipping lights to make sure they never get into red. Here is why kick is a good place to start. Play your songs and watch master bus VU meters. This is probably only time you will “mix with your eyes”. As you’re watching master VU meter, slowly raise kick fader until master meter reads about -7dB. If you are a four piece band, then you can leave kick there and move on. But if you have a really dense tune, then you may have to lower kick to -8dB or so (to leave room for all other instruments as they come up). Now you are set to mix. The kick should be only channel that you set levels by watching. Every other channel mixed into song will be with your ears relative to kick.
2.Moving On From now on, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. Some people like to move on to bass next, in order to find balance for low-end of song. Other people like to keep working on drum kit “as a whole” before moving to other instruments. I prefer to move onto drum kit over-head mics. They say that a great drum kit sound can be captured using only two over-head mics, and a kick mic. And it’s true. Some of my tunes only use three mics on final mixed versions, even though we had used up to ten mics for recording of kit. If you placed your over-head mics properly (i.e.: so snare sounds centered in stereo image, and not skewed to left or right speaker) then you will have a better stereo image of drum kit when mix is finished. Otherwise you might have to do some fancy panning or EQ to get a balanced image with drum kit. You can now bring in rest of kit underneath over heads to fill out sound. I prefer to leave EQ and effects to very end of mix, after all of instruments are playing. Try to place your toms in same panning position as overhead mics recorded them. If your floor tom in overheads is to right at 3 o’clock then pan your individual floor tom fader to same position. And don’t forget to check your phase between your mics pointing down and your mics pointing up.
Top Twelve Music Moneymaking Artists for 2004Written by CD Duplication Plus
If you would like to put together a mixed CD using some of songs from top money making artists of 2004, try using CD duplication. I would hope you own CD’s that you plan to use for CD duplication. Copying them illegally is not recommended.
Start CD duplication mix using a few tunes from Prince’s bestselling Musicology. Prince sold 1.9 million copies of this CD so there should be more than one song you could use. Next on CD duplication mix I would suggest some music from Madonna. She earned more money in 2004 than any other female artist. Although her newest album only sold 650,000 copies, it contains some good tunes.
Metallica has a couple of older albums that have songs you might add to your CD duplication mixed tape. The Black Album and Master of Puppets have songs worth duplicating.
Elton John is a favorite musician and you should consider some of his music for CD duplication project. A good one is Ray Charles’ version of “Sorry Seems to Be Hardest Word”.
Guess who sold 1.3 million copies of his first-ever country album in 2004? Jimmy Buffett, and License to Chill has some tracks that would be good for CD duplication mix.
Rod Stewart did quite well in 2004 and was sixth biggest moneymaker is music field last year. Rod does really well with some of his vintage albums so take a look at one of them and choose some songs for your CD duplication mixed tape.