About Mixing

Main >


1. Foreword 2.About music 3. About rock 4. About sound 5. About mixing 6. About guitarists 7. About tubes 8. About pedals
9. About digital 10. Ab. compression 11. About saturation 12. About filters 13. About delays 14. About chorus 15. About switching 16. Synthesis

Just like cooking a meal requires a precise knowledge of each ingredient taste and flavor, mixing instruments sounds requires a precise knowledge of their “taste” and “flavor”. Taste and flavor, in the sound domain, are timbre and dynamics.

A musical sound (a note), has a fundamental frequency, and some harmonics. A musical instrument thus generates frequencies in a given interval that go much beyond the fundamental frequencies, and these additional frequencies give some personality to each instrument.

The problem with a band is that some instruments generate frequencies over the same ranges. If the harmonics of the bass are in the range of the singer’s fundamentals, and if the guitar plays in the frequency range of the singer too, the singer’s voice is drowned in the usual bad live gig mess… That’s the frequencies overlapping.

But frequencies without dynamics are nothing. The way all these frequencies raise and decay is at least as important as the frequencies distribution. In other terms, if you find a way to cut some frequencies in a guitar sound, you will still recognize it’s a guitar. But if you find a way to alter the dynamics, let’s say with a very slow attack, it will sound more like a violin than a guitar.

This fact is the main key to a good band sound:

  • You are allowed to cut some frequencies, cause the human ear can recognize an instrument even if some frequencies are cut-off.

  • You must do your best to respect the dynamics of each instrument. Each instrument will be clearly heard if its dynamics can express freely.

Frequency overlapping kills the individual dynamics: the singer’s voice, lost in a frequency range where several instruments overlap, loses its dynamics cause this range is too busy, and becomes difficult to hear.

Copyright Rockman.fr 2007