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Getting a Balanced Mix

Lesson 11 from: Mixing Electronic Music In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

11. Getting a Balanced Mix

Next Lesson: What is Loudness?

Lesson Info

Getting a Balanced Mix

Let's talk about headroom a little bit, and then we're gonna actually get into mixing the volume of this track. Now, headroom is the empty space between the highest peak of your audio signal and zero db on your meter. Right? So we talked about this before Zero unity right there and then the space between is our headroom, and anything above that is clipping is a totally no don't do that. Don't ever do it. Sounds terrible. Preferably don't even clip any stage of your track. Preferably don't have an effect clipping into the next effect. That's bad gain structure like we talked about. Now we talked about staying in the case system, so we want to keep around that K and what is clipping clipping is going past zero general rules for headroom of instruments minus eight to minus 20. DB will give a much better overall headroom in your mix and why have good headroom? It eliminates digital distortion clipping. It allows room for mastering. A mastering engineer will generally ask for minus eight t...

u minus five. I've even heard up to minus but they're gonna need head room, so you might as well mixed with headroom. It'll just be better, right? What is a balanced mix? Now we know how to control our volume. Why are we controlling this in tow? What end and a balanced mix is when we looked at that? That curve of how we hear that is actually exactly what pink noise is. It's based off that so white noise would be a straight block. It's white seems much more intense where pink noise has the natural movement, the slope to what art years prefer. And that's why, if we use pink noise as a reference, then it really helps us know what a balanced kind of flat mix would be. How we perceive volume of different freak out. What is pink noise? It's how we perceive different volumes compared to the frequency, and it's similar to playing a track in your car. That whole story about the fan playing in helping the mixing engineer. That's a lot where pink noise came from, as well as the classic concept of a permit to CD and let's go for a drive because that subtle sound in the background is like white or pink noise. That kind of road noise off, especially back before we had these super clay insular cars that was similar to pink noise. It helped your ears actually hear if something was too loud, right? And we're going to look that look at that within a bilton live. So we're gonna set up a pink noise reference track for this, uh, track of FiOS and we're going to mix using that pink noise as a reference. Right. So we're in here. We got all these sounds, right. It's very well organized. Thank you for doing that. Used my, uh, pdf that comes with this class yet? Yeah, I do that for on my mixing clients. Just so I make sure I've got so confused by people's organization of what I did is I added this pink noise. You're gonna have the pink noise again with this class, or you could just look it up. There's tons of resource is throwing a pink noise now because I'm going to eventually go for that K 14 thing. I want to keep it around minus 14 decibels for the pink noise. Right? Because that's around when I'm shooting. For now, this part is a little annoying to hear, especially as an engineer, but what you're going to do, Which is why we need all those utility volumes cleared up is you're actually gonna come in here? You know, grab all your volumes, which might seem like sacrilege if you've been so obsessed with your volumes this whole time in your mix, But I'm gonna turn it all down. All of it down. Erase. Any idea we had before of what volume is, and then we turn on that pink noise. We're going to use that as a reference. Lovely. Actually, I'm gonna just show something real quick before we do that. Oops. No. Ah, I'm undoing turning down those volumes, and I'm just going to show you all throwing in. We're just gonna capture what it looked like before and what it looks like after just to give us a reference, some grabbing ozone. I'm gonna do that. Same future where I'm going to just grab the sound. Now, there's one problem with this. Theo did a great job on this mix, and it's too close to the pink noise. But if I do this beforehand, we do see okay, that blue. Let's delete these. That is his track, and we'll Just look at what happens after what you do. This mixing again. I come in here gravel, that all that time spent getting the volume just right. Why you were producing later. And then we bring on that pink noise, and what you do is slowly bring up the volume of the different levels until you can barely hear it. And then if you do that with all your levels, you're gonna have a pretty balanced mix. This is a fantastic way. If you're getting started and you don't know how to deal with volumes or you're not quite sure, it's like a sterile mix. It's a straight flat mix. Doesn't mean it's your final mix, but it's a really good starting point, So I play Okay. I love pink noise. All right, Now you might find it. That was pretty quiet. All my ratios air all the volume ratios air good. So sometimes all this turn it up a little bit. I selected all of them, so they're all going up comparatively. All the volumes? Pretty good. All volumes. A little good. And, you know, use your human, uh, taste to now turn down one a little bit or turn something up a little bit and tweak it to your preference. But now it's pretty flat. So if we looked at very close because yours was really flat, the only difference is I'm a little quieter, right? But it's very similar in its look. And that was like like, this is five minutes, guys, this is five minutes. You can have a decent mix, especially if you're dealing with headphones or a situation where it's not the greatest for mixing. You have a very decent, fast way of putting something together, and now I can just come in and say, Okay, what do I want to be? The lead? I turn that up slightly, turn a few things down and bam, I haven't mix. I think if you try this just a few times, you're going to see really quickly how it helps you vision your music and make it very solid. Mix very quickly.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Drum Placement
Frequency Worksheet
Read Me - Mixing with Ableton Live
Sharing Tracks
Ableton Live Pack

Free Downloads


Ratings and Reviews

Jose Gerardo Rendon Santana

Excellent Course, Isaac Cotec is a great instructor and a great producer. The course is very well organized explaining each important step of the mix. as well as great tips and techniques. He also includes a great deal of support material with the course including an Ableton Live Pack with tons of great presets and tools to put to practice the knowledge acquired in the course.

a Creativelive Student

Isaac covers an amazing amount of material in a clear and concise way. Great intro to mixing with Ableton or review for the intermediate user who wants to solidify their best practices, DAW knowledge as well as gain some production tips.

Ian turner

this is the best thing money can buy in my life. Isaac makes it look easy and the way he teaches makes you understand everything and makes it easy for you as well. its exactly what i wanted to learn in each video! i cant even sleep because another video loads and im like "ohhhh i need it" lol. i thank god for this class being affordable and the real deal.

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