5 Audio Mixing Issues To Resolve Today.
Over the last few months I have been encountering a lot of these Mixdown issues when clients send tracks over for mastering. While mastering engineers can edit a multitude of problems with the mix some of the following are best fixed in the mixing phase. As information is so readily available I thought I would write a short list of these problems along with their symptoms so you know what to look for when recording your professional tracks.
Over Compression: while the compression amount is arguably a subjective thing in general if the compressed signal sounds thin or loses it’s natural feel or power the audio has been over compressed. Over compression or incorrect compression leads to soft sounding drums and loss of impact.
High Pass Filtering: mixing is simply creative problem solving, we are aiming to remove and tame frequencies which are creating problems in the mix. As a rule in most cases you should High Pass a track to remove unwanted low end which is muddying the mix and also clouding the bass frequencies. This is often forgotten during the mix process and can be quickly and easily fixed.
Destructive Filtering: In most cases once a High Pass Filter is applied, producers and engineers run the risk of removing too much low frequency energy. Typically this leaves the kick drum with no power and the snare sounding weak and lacking “weight” you can find a a general guideline is to not filter any higher than the fundamental frequency of that particular sound, for a snare this is usually around 200Hz. As a rule, generally the High Pass filter frequency is below 200Hz as to not lose the important power of the Snare drum.
Stereo Width: In the mixing process contrast is incredibly important. You cannot have soft if you do not have loud, you cannot have bright if you do not have dull. The same rule applies for stereo image. If all the sounds are panned wide in the field your mix will sound hollow in the middle, not to mention this will also cause issues when playback is in mono such as a club or on a phone.
Excessive Sidechain Compression: while this may be a more complex mixing technique it is widely used across the audio industry. However like all effects this can be overdone and so paying close attention to using too much Sidechain compression is key to creating a smooth coherent mix. Typically too much Sidechain Compression will lead to the bass seeming like it “ducks” too far underneath the kick, leaving the kick sound disjointed or as if it had more sonic impact than it delivered. I like to think of it like throwing a pebble in a pond and having the splash of a boulder, it is unexpected and can really create a disjointed sound in your mix.
If you are having trouble with your mix and feel you need assistance, contact us today!