Strategic Mixing

The concept of a good mix is subjective, but there are certain outlines that are quite efficient and widely used in the modern music industry. Recorded music and sequenced music stages are different. It’s worth mentioning that stages in recorded productions begin when they get close enough to the previous stage. Stages in sequenced music involve a producer that is capable of flipping between features of songwriting, arranging, recording, editing, and mixing stages throughout the creation process.

The overall mix is the priority, so focusing on individual elements is worthless. It’s essential for the user to take a step back and observe the whole scenario, as well as the effects and changes of the whole mix. Since human beings tend to naturally separate elements of a combination of sounds, creating a single component against other components is quite as effective as treating it separately. When treating the elements in combination, there is a higher chance of achieving a good sound in the long run.

To begin, the user must get specific information from the producer. After analyzing the material, the user should listen to the song as a whole and each part individually. Finally, it’s important for the user to get or make a rough mix. 

Technical tasks are used to organize and optimize the workflow, so they require little sonic knowledge and they don’t affect the way the song sounds. These tasks include normalizing the equipment, as well as renaming, ordering, coloring, and consolidating. They also include phasing, grouping, and restoring damaged audio. It’s worth mentioning that when the aim is to affect specific sounds, technical tasks transform into creative tasks. Creative tasks require awareness and high concentration levels. Creative tasks include dynamic processing, equalization, embellishment, and modulation. 

There are several approaches to add instruments to a mix. The first one is the serial approach, which involves adding a couple of tracks and continue to add some more as desired. Another approach includes rhythm, harmony and melody. Here, drums, percussion, and bass are usually the first added instruments, followed by pads, guitars, and keys. After that, vocal and solo instruments enter the mix. Another approach involves adding instruments in order of significance. With this method, the most important instruments are able to grow. The parallel approach brings all faders up and sets a balance before altering specific sounds. This process can be done until the overall sound is tuned.

Mixing is a correlative process, so the user will have to retouch the overall song every time something new is added. Sections of a song are usually mixed separately, either chronologically of with the course-to-fine approach. When using the course-to-fine approach, sound engineers begin working with the most obvious and drastic changes and continue with the more specific and subtle alterations. It’s worth mentioning that accommodation and balance are key elements.