In recent blog posts I have been discussing the business side of a recording studios and record labels. So for this blog I have decided to discuss the thought process in mixing and how it pertains to the listener.
As a mix engineer it is our responsibility to deliver the emotional context of a musical piece. Understanding what the song is about, what the artist is trying to convey, and how the listener should respond would all be determined by how the mix engineer transforms a pieces of music into a finished product. Mixing can be defined as a sonic presentation of emotions, creative ideas, and performance. The sonic quality is what most engineers try to achieve. This type of quality allows the listener to listen to a piece of music on any format or device while maintaining the same quality. By controlling the quality of each instrument as it is recorded helps dictate the sonic outcome of a mix. Unbalanced elements, masking, equalization, compression, and reverb settings determine how you can have a great sonic quality. What is a great sonic quality? Most people already no what it is just by listening to the radio or listening to the television. Sonic quality is the assessment of the accuracy, enjoyability, or intelligibility of audio.
Three steps for the creative part of mixing are the vision, action, and evaluation. The vision is deciding how you want something to sound. Some songs might want you to vision something soft and subtle or loud and powerful. After you decide what you want the music to sound like then you must take action. You can do this by using different tools such as compressors or equalizers help craft the music into your vision. By taking action and choosing different pieces of equipment and balancing your music you can then evaluate it. Your evaluation is based on your vision. Does it sound like what you envisioned? If not, what’s wrong with it and how do I fix it? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself until you achieve the vision of you song. You should repeat this thought process until you have a good sonic quality mix or until you think the listener will feel the emotion you are trying to present.
Izhaki, Roey Mixing Audio; Concepts, Practices, and Tools; Second Edition