Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

The past, present, and future of mixing

From: Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

Video: The past, present, and future of mixing

With more and more individuals making music with computers and finishing a complete musical idea from start to finish, all by themselves, the traditional steps known as mixing and mastering, once performed by men in lab coats, is now blurred into the bigger picture of music production. Well, proper mixing and mastering engineers remain a very relevant part of the professional music and postproduction process, many producers and song writers are now taking on the role of mixer, especially now as the quality and affordability of the necessary tools increases.

The past, present, and future of mixing

With more and more individuals making music with computers and finishing a complete musical idea from start to finish, all by themselves, the traditional steps known as mixing and mastering, once performed by men in lab coats, is now blurred into the bigger picture of music production. Well, proper mixing and mastering engineers remain a very relevant part of the professional music and postproduction process, many producers and song writers are now taking on the role of mixer, especially now as the quality and affordability of the necessary tools increases.

But it's really important to remember that it's not the gear that makes the mixer; ultimately, it is their intuition, inspiration and instincts that take a song to that next level. So I want to look at two definitions of mixing, mixing as sort of an audio signal flow concept and mixing as more of an art or an extension of the song writing or production process. Mixing as an audio signal flow concept is literally the physical summation or combination of multiple audio signals into a single output.

So taking multiple discrete tracks and adding or summing them together into a single stereo or a multi-channel output. Now, mixing as an art or an extension of the song writing or production process sort of more looks at the aesthetic goal of taking the final step in production where the mixer is attempting to effectively deliver this song to the listener and sort of extend the idea or the vision of the songwriter and producer. That's where things get a little bit more complicated, because when you think about highlighting the important components and creating a focus of where the listeners should pay attention to, and sort of the peripheral elements that support that. It's kind of if we think about the difference between photography as the physical taking a picture with the camera and photography as an art of actually capturing a moment in time, they're very similar concepts.

So historically, the theories behind mixing kind of started way before electronics and the ability to record sounds. So if we think about symphonies and composers, these people had to almost be their own mixers by understanding the instruments and the space, the concert hall. So in a sense, the conductor was sort of the mixer, balancing the instruments by ear with hand gestures and the composer had to really understand the tonal qualities and the ranges of each instrument as they were arranging, because there was no possibility of EQing that violin later.

Now, as technology progressed, we gained the ability to actually record sound, sort of with gramophone style recording devices, to wax, and what happened is generally it was a monophonic recording and all the musicians would be in the same room and they'd have to record all at the same time. So the opportunity for mixing or balancing the tracks or affecting them afterwards wasn't possible. So the band would literally have to be placed in the room how they wanted to capture the sound, so the louder, more powerful instruments in the back with the quieter instruments upfront.

Now, as we progressed into sort of the era of tape recording and the ability to multi-track things, we gained more power over the recording process and it sort of turned the recording process into more of an art, where we actually had more control after the fact of what we were doing and how we were going to balance the sounds. In through the 70s and the 80s, sort of the golden age of recording and huge half-a-million-dollar analog consoles and outboard gears and multimillion-dollar studios, the sort of craft of making, mixing and recording art really evolved.

So if we fast forward to today, we can think about people making whole records inside of laptops at a coffee shop, maybe, and this sort of began in the late 90s when gear got really good and also really cheap and software and computers became more powerful and this became more of a viable workflow for people making and producing and mixing music. So the way that the recording process and ultimately the mixing and mastering process has evolved over the years, it has done so for a variety of reasons and it's important to think about those as we approach mixing as sort of part of the entire music arrangement and production process.

So mixing has evolved a lot because of the tools we have available. Mixing has evolved to accommodate based on how we record music and produce music. Mixing has ultimately evolved to meet the demands of the listener and the styles of music, sort of like how film has evolved over time. Right now we have the ability to do amazing special effects and use those effects to tell stories like never before. So the same thing is true in recording with the tools we have available.

So traditionally, most think of mixing and mastering as the final step of the production process, sort of tying up any loose ends and really putting the song into an easily digestible package for the listener. While this definition still holds true and it's important to recognize the origins of these finite steps, much of today's mixing is being done as part of the song writing and production process. Because of today's technology, I often make decisions as early as the first day of recording that will carry on through the mix and the mastering stage.

Many times, because I think of the big picture while I work through each stage, my mix is sometimes almost 90% finished when I complete the production and arrangement process. So regardless of your approach, the ideas outlined in this course will help you take your mixes to the next level, both from a technical standpoint as well as an artistic or aesthetic one.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

77 video lessons · 9207 viewers

Brian Lee White
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 39s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 24s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 8s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 22s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 48s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 22s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.