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Some common objectives

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Some common objectives

Overall, I like to think about mixing as kind of having two different objectives: one is to be artful and the other is to be technical. Now, the artful part means it's on you, make it sound the way you want it to sound, be expressive and kind of interject your personality into what you are doing, make it sound cool to you, use effects, do stuff, blow my mind. I can't even tell you what to do; start to play around with things and experiment. But it's about being artful and injecting yourself into what you're doing. This might be more so if you're doing music than if you're doing a podcast.

Some common objectives

Overall, I like to think about mixing as kind of having two different objectives: one is to be artful and the other is to be technical. Now, the artful part means it's on you, make it sound the way you want it to sound, be expressive and kind of interject your personality into what you are doing, make it sound cool to you, use effects, do stuff, blow my mind. I can't even tell you what to do; start to play around with things and experiment. But it's about being artful and injecting yourself into what you're doing. This might be more so if you're doing music than if you're doing a podcast.

But even so, with things like podcasts, stuff like that, you can actually make aesthetic decisions that will make it stand out or make it seem different than other podcasts. That something that can't really be taught. That's about what you're going to bring and what you think is cool, and that's a great part of it. So, the other side of mixing is the more technical objective, or the technical side, and that means working, or engineering, your mix so that you come up with a certain degree of technical quality. You want your mix to have a certain degree of balance and clarity, and also try and fit it into what I like to call the sonic strike zone.

By balance, I mean taking sounds and putting them in specific places in the mix so that you can kind of hear the different sounds and that not all the sounds are fighting for the same sonic space. If you have a good balance, you'll also have pretty good clarity, but the objective of clarity is to make sure, if you're working on something and there's some crucial information, that it's clear. So, if you're working on a voiceover for a podcast with a few other things, you want to make sure that that one thing is audible and is clear as possible. Now, by the sonic strike zone I mean getting your mix so that it's in a state where someone can take it and listen to it on any device and it'll still sound good.

You can create the perfect mix in your portable studio, your home studio, and it sounds great, like a million bucks, but the reality is that most people are going to take that and listen to it in completely different circumstance: maybe on headphones, maybe in their living room, or in their car. But if you can make a mix that lives in the sonic strike zone, which means it's good enough to hit a strike from - you know, like baseball - that means that no matter where they take it and listen to it they will be able to make it sound good enough.

That means if you take it and listen to it on your iPod with headphones, all of a sudden there's no base whatsoever. There's still going to be some base there. Or if you take it and listen to it in your car, you lose a couple of different instruments. As long as you can take a mix and put it on any playback device and tweak it a little bit with the tone knob and the base, or in your car you have an old graphic EQ, you can use that to adjust a mix so that you can listen to it and be happy with it, then that's in the sonic strike zone, because you want to try and attain the best mix possible that's the most satisfying to you, but you also want to make it so that it's usable. You want to make this piece of music or this recorded piece of audio usable for everyone else who's out there.

So, you want to try and create a mix that lands in the sonic strike zone so that it's easy for other people to enjoy.

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This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 26621 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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