A Music Production Journal: Week #7

Heading into the second to last week in my course with Point Blank Online we begin to discuss the final stages of finishing a track. At this point we’ve covered everything from composing to arranging the elements of a song. This week we delve deeper into mixing and the various aspects and techniques that apply to this topic.

Check out last week’s post HERE and catch the full review after the jump!

Before getting into the technical aspects of mixing, the beginning of the lesson discussed the listening environment. We addressed the rooms in which we make music and the common problems many people face with home studios. Finally we covered various techniques of testing your personal space for deficiencies, and how to go about correcting them in order to get the most accurate levels from your listening environment. Reference the chart below to see common areas of correction in a bedroom studio.

Once all the musical elements are laid out and edited in the arrangement view, we then begin to mix down the track to its finalized form. Mixing can include everything from adjusting the volume, frequencies, and the space every sound works within.  Ultimately the end goal is to have all the elements occupy a space in the mix while working together as one.

In simplest terms the lows, mids, and highs all need to be separated in the track giving their frequency a place to stand alone in the mix. This is generally achieved using the various EQs (equalization) plug-ins in Abelton on the software of your choice. See the detiled chart above for reference.

Over the entire course we have received continual training on mixing through our feedback videos, live masterclasses, and course material. However this week was intended to tie all of it together and expand our thoughts and approach on the subject. We also took a look at other tools in Ableton that can be used for other subtle mixing effects.

We spent a great deal of time on compression, displaying its power for gelling sounds as well as its use for creating space between sounds. Watch the video above to see sidechain compression in action!

Next week is the final review of the course. Expect to hear some of my personal highlights, insights, and a full recap of the past 8 weeks. I will be going back to review the goals I set in my first week and will discuss what I was able to accomplish! Stay tuned!