Mixing and Mastering Vocal /Song

Mixing and Mastering Vocal /Song

Before getting into the whole process of mixing and mastering of a song let’s us first know what is mixing and mastering .

  • Mixing is the process of blending all the individual tracks in a recording to create a version of the song that sounds as good as possible – the “mix”. The process can include: Balancing the levels of the tracks that have been recorded. Fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using equalisation (EQ).The process can include
  • Balancing the levels of the tracks that have been recorded
  • Fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using equalisation (EQ)
  • “Panning” the tracks between speakers to create a stereo image
  • Adding reverb, compression, and other effects to enhance the original recording
  • Mixing often also includes a good deal of editing – choosing the best bits of every take of a song, and sometimes even building musical elements from scratch. Sometimes there is so much editing involved it forms a separate stage in between tracking and mixing.
  • Mastering is the final step of audio post-production. The purpose of mastering is to balance sonic elements of a stereo mix and optimize playback across all systems and media formats. Mastering also ensures uniformity and consistency of sound between multiple tracks on an album. In mixing you are balancing the instruments to get a great mix of each song, in mastering you are balancing songs against each other to get a great sequence. This can vary from being a very subtle process, involving minor tweaks to polish the existing mixes, through to occasionally being a complete rescue mission for problem songs, or where detailed restoration is needed.

The process can include:

  • Balancing the levels of the tracks that have been recorded
  • Fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using equalisation (EQ)
  • “Panning” the tracks between speakers to create a stereo image
  • Adding reverb, compression and other effects to enhance the original recording

Mixing often also includes a good deal of editing – choosing the best bits of every take of a song, and sometimes even building musical elements from scratch. Sometimes there is so much editing involved it forms a separate stage in between tracking and mixing.

Tracking

Tracking is essentially the process of recording songs. The name comes from the fact that each instrument is recorded individually and given it’s own “track” in the mix, so that the balance and sound of each can be controlled later. Originally, “track” referred to a thin width of analogue tape, today it usually means a file on a hard drive. Performances can be “live”, with all the musicans playing at once; one instrument at a time; or a mixture of the two.

The most important goals of tracking include:

  • Record in a great space – often a recording studio
  • Get the best sound for each instrument or voice via a good choice of microphone and it’s placement
  • Avoid “spill”, ie. get good separation between the instruments to allow plenty of control in the mix
  • Most importantly – get a great performance !

10 TIPS FOR ACHIEVING OUTSTANDING MUSIC MIXES

  • Use the best monitoring speakers you can find – and even more importantly, learn what all your favourite music sounds like on them
  • Find a great-sounding space
  • Use the best mics you can lay your hands on
  • Find great players, and make sure they have decent instruments
  • Rehearse, and make sure the arrangement is sound
  • Take time to get the mics in the best positions
  • Make the monitor mix sound as good as possible – keep it simple
  • Record until you get good takes
  • Spend time mixing and editing
  • Remember – attention to detail is the key.

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