The Andy Partridge Guide To Audio Mixing Success

Photo of a hand with finger on a fader of a large mixing deskIn bite sized chunks.

As relayed via Twitter

I have learned to mix rather well in the last 5 years, if I say so myself. For all the home recorders out there, here are my fave tips…

PARALLEL COMPRESSION – or New York compression. Set up heavy compression on a buss, send almost anything you like to it, instant record sound!

STEREO SPACE – Either mono reverbs panned away from sound or copy of sound set back time wise, and panned away. Makes width in mixes.

BEST BASS – Struggled with bass sound for years until I did this. Split/copy bass to two tracks. Have nothing above 100k for deep bass track… Compress and limit hard.High bass track=nothing below 100k, sculpt with EQ and comp to fill in detail in track.

BEST AUDIO TOOL=And it’s free, Voxengo http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/ download visual EQ picture meter.If your home studio isn’t flat, which it… wont be, download this to see rogue frequencies. Best thing that happened to my home recordings.Subtractive EQ also the only real way.

EQ REVERBS – Set eq up before revs.Roll off bass (so easy to crowd) and roll off tops on longer revs. Revs will sit better and not add… problems by doubling up frequencies which are a bit ‘active’. Learn to make rhythm with your pre – delay also. Delay before rev is good.

DARK DELAY – Roll tops and bottoms off delays, like tape would do.This makes delays easier to sit.Pan then away from source sound.

COMPARE YOUR FAVES – Every 10 mins or so, listen to your fave recordings to see if you are in the ballpark.Are you as deep, bright, loud etc.

MIX BUSS – Experiment with mix buss chain, I like EQ/SSL copy mix comp/limiter, and Span, whilst ready for mix. Always take off Span pre mix.

COMPRESSOR – Always overdo like crazy, compressor, to hear rhythm of attack/release of instrument, then back off until feels good/not false.

ACOUSTIC GTRS – Mic away from hole, at neck join or bridge.Again overdo comp to find best rhythm.Roll out bass always unless acoustic is solo.

SPACE FOR BASS – Sculpt off bass from keys, as bass and bass drum need the space.Let kick have the low floor, cut bass just above to sit it.

COMPARE COMPARE COMPARE – Listen to your faves, I say it again…

THE LINE – With Span you’ll notice the best sounding records are virtually a flat line, i.e. all frequencies are taken care off and not are… too under done, or stick out.It’s a good thing to aim for. If you run your faves through Span you’ll see this.

BEND THAT ECHO – If you have a delay that can mod the sound, use it. Gives more life and movement to your delays.Pan delays away from source.

TOP WHACK – If your computer will allow, always record at 96 or up, this is eater of space but bass will sound richer and tops less distorted.

PILE UPS – Watch out, easier with visuals, like Span, to see where frequencies pile up.2 spots that crowd are 100h and 1kh, most instruments… have lots of these in them. You have to decide, who will dominate? Roll out frequencies on those that are not so important.

ROLLIT OFF – Cutting frequencies is so important to allow space for others to come through. GUITARS – Can be cut below 100. High Percussion… things like hi hat/tambourine etc can be cut below 200 – 300, you won’t need it. Vocals roll off gently below 100. Backing vocals even higher

HOW FAR IS IT? – Remember, things you want farther from the mic have less bass and top, nearer=more.

LIVE DRUMS – I don’t have the space but here is what I’ve learned.Kits mix them selves, so 1 mic usually does the trick.Try to get separate… bass drum and overheads if you have limited space. You’ll always need more kick in the mix than you think.

CYMBALS LATER – If you have limited space and only few mics, work on snare+toms sound primarily. Drop cymbals on later synched to bass drum.

NO DRUM ROOM – Tiny room?Take drum mix that sounds balanced, feed to room reverb, then record.Then comp that reverb until it pumps in rhythm… then feed to drum mix to make fake ambience.

GUITARS – Distorted guitars, run through de-esser find ‘ouch’ hi frequencies, tame and then can add EQ later, without ear piercing.

PIANO (sampled) – For more real pianos, once you have your part, drag to another track and add another piano sound.Blend/tune/pan both for real.

YOUR BEST BUTTONS – Mono, to check how it all sits, and turn the volume down, mix quietly, and check stereo picture in cans.

DEEP CENTRE – Keep your low sounds in the centre, higher sounds can go to the sides of the stereo picture. Balance, tambo 1 side, hi hat the other.