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Why Mixing Is A Worthy Tool To “Master”?

Why Mixing Is A Worthy Tool To “Master”?
This article is mostly for those thinking of (or have already decided to) “converting” their audio hobby into profession. It’s not a “DAW-specific” thing, whatever DAW you run just have a read. At the same time, being a BIG Ableton fan, I can’t but mention that according to recent EMDranks and Ask.Audio opinion surveys  —  Ableton Live is leading the global race as the most popular DAW.
This time I’d like to share some extra reflections on the most complex subject in sound production domain, and yep its all about the everlasting science (& art) of mixing audio.


Ain’t trying to deliver the ultimate truth here, but still have an opinion on the subject, having spent over a decade studying, experimenting, digesting “the hardest part” of the formula both with a tutor that I took in 2013 (ca 10% from overall time spent) and via self-education both prior and after the course (ca 90%).
I wish I could have learned it faster — but I’m still staying VERY positive that I’ve finally made it at all, having multiple panic attacks through the years that I. Will. Never. Ever. Make. It.
So here we go and hopefully you’ll make a good use of it and will reach you professional destination faster.

7 Things You’ll Improve Dramatically Having Learned The Concepts Of Mixing (random-ordered):

1 Your arrangement and production skills (that in turn will make you stronger as a producer). You will understand how to get more spending less. Doing less. Redoing less. How to save tons of time properly planning things in advance and going step by step, steadily approaching the goal — a balanced, well-crafted mixdown.

2 It will make you stronger as a live performer (even a great production may get ruined by terrible PA setup in the venue ) — and I’m sure you meet it multiple times when going out. What’s the point spending hundreds of hours producing and perfecting it and then having it ruined by a drunk (or non-qualified) guy responsible for PA set-up in the club? Understanding mixing will allow you to double-check the settings yourself during sound-check and if something goes wrong — to introduce the corrections necessary.

3 Understanding mixing makes communication with mixing/mastering engineers you may still want to place the orders to — FAR easier. That saves your time, money and improves the final quality of your artwork. Sounds big, right?

4 Without a doubt it will make your message to the world far more powerful, especially when you got vocals in your productions — personally I’ve been to dozens of concerts where I could hardly grab what the vocalist is singing. PSHT! I got dozens of communications with venue PA/FOH people trying to deliver this simple message to them during the show with 50/50 success at best.

5 Right, it’s a long way to go, it won’t happen in weeks (you’re lucky to get it within months) — hence there still will be a need to hire pro mix/mastering engineers for your projects for a while but still: starting from the very first hours you spend learning, your communication with the pros will be improving steadily — and what could me more important than mutual understanding inside of the team working over the same project?!

6 There is a high probability that one day you’d like to move on and switch from producing/performing music to something else, more complex like sound design, spacial audio tech, creating Max4Live devices, doing game audio or music for film. With mixing concepts learned, digested and implemented on practice… Wait — have your chances to get there just DOUBLED? TRIPLED?

7 Yep, working with the goodies a-la factory loops from the favorite label is nice and fast, and for some it will surely do, but if you’re aspiring to get a taste of the picture as a whole — and use it for creating your unique sound signature (apart from other things) — you MUST learn what is mixing and how-to-do-it properly, so just think about it.

More than this — actually it’s hard to imagine a person calling himself “a sound producer” and having no solid understanding of this subject.


Source:, Author Unknown

Once again — every mix is a (VERY) complex 3D structure (some say — even a 5D one). We have dozens of components that should be added to the formula in a specific order and/or proportion while the parts of our equation (eg. COMP/EQ/REVERB units) may have up to a dozen tweakable parameters (or more).
No big deal to imagine the myriads of probable combos. And we did not even touch the gain staging, monitors setup, HP nuances, etc.
Hopefully I’ve provided you with some “organic” meditation food — to make you start thinking in that direction. I highly recommend you to invest time and effort digging the subject and it will “pay you out” pretty soon.
Take care.
Article by Andrey Romanenko

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