Creative Audio | What Makes it Sound Professional?
The audio mixing process typically involves several stages, each of which plays a critical role in the final outcome of the mix. In this article, we will take a closer look at the different stages of the audio mixing process, and discuss some of the key techniques and approaches that our mix engineers use to create professional-sounding mixes.
The first stage in the audio mixing process is the preparation stage. During this stage, our mix engineers will review the tracks that have been provided to them, and will make any necessary edits or adjustments to ensure that the tracks are ready for mixing. This might involve things like trimming dead space from the beginning or end of tracks, or making small timing adjustments to align the tracks with each other. It is important to ensure that the tracks are in good condition before moving on to the next stage, as any issues that are not addressed at this stage can cause problems later on in the process.
Once the tracks are prepared, the next step is the arrangement stage. During this stage, our mix engineers will work with the client to determine the overall structure and arrangement of the mix, including the placement of different tracks and elements within the mix. This might involve moving tracks around, adding or removing elements, and making decisions about the overall flow and pacing of the mix. The arrangement stage is an important step, as it sets the foundation for the rest of the mixing process. A well-constructed arrangement can help ensure that the mix sounds cohesive and professional, while a poorly-constructed arrangement can lead to a disjointed and unprofessional-sounding mix.
Once the arrangement is finalized, the next step is the mixing stage. This is where the real magic happens - and where our mix engineers really shine. During the mixing stage, our mix engineers will use a wide range of techniques and tools to shape the sound of each individual track, and to create a cohesive and professional-sounding mix.
Some of the key techniques that our mix engineers use during the mixing stage include equalization (EQ), compression, and panning. Equalization involves adjusting the balance of different frequencies within a track to shape its overall sound. For example, a mix engineer might use EQ to boost the low frequencies on a bass guitar track to make it sound punchier, or to cut the high frequencies on a vocal track to reduce sibilance. Compression is another important technique that can be used to control the dynamic range of a track. Compression involves reducing the difference between the loudest and quietest parts of a track, which can help make a track sound more consistent and punchy. Panning, on the other hand, involves placing tracks within the stereo field to create a sense of space and movement within the mix. For example, a mix engineer might pan a lead vocal track slightly to the left to create a sense of intimacy, or might pan a guitar track to the right to create a sense of width and spaciousness.
Another important technique that our mix engineers use during the mixing stage is automation. Automation involves creating dynamic changes to the mix over time, such as bringing up the volume of a track during a chorus, or adding reverb to a track during a particular section. Automation can help add excitement and movement to a mix, and can also help create a sense of musicality and flow. For example, a mix engineer might use automation to gradually bring up the volume on a guitar track
The process of creating a professional-sounding audio mix involves a combination of technical expertise and artistic creativity. At ifixyourmix.com, we believe that having a strong foundation in musicianship is essential for bringing a unique perspective and set of skills to the audio mixing process. That is why we only work with mix engineers who are also musicians.