So what are the elements of the mix? And these are really the tools that we use. So you have your tone, which is made up of EQ, saturation, and character. And I think EQ and saturation combined sort of decide the character of your tone. Then you've got balance. So this is your volume ranking, this is your blend. This is how loud are your drums in comparison to your bass? How loud are the guitars in comparison to the lead guitars? How loud is the vocal in comparison to the music? Then you have your dynamics. You've got volume, movements, compression, expansion, and limiting. And I'll explain the differences between those later. Spatial. Position, the width. Where is everything in the sonic field? And then effects. Delay, reverb, modulation, chorus flanger, those kind of things. So these are the basic elements of a mix. Anything that you do in mixing a song is gonna be one of these things. So let's talk about the linear versus non-linear tools. So EQ is a linear tool. And what do I mean ...
by this? EQ is like a static filter, like a mask. It doesn't fluctuate. So if you add treble, then that track has more treble for the whole thing, every adjustment that you make. Compression is non-linear, so this is moving around. If you increase the input to the compressor, it reacts differently. If you decrease the input to the compressor, it changes the outcome. So that's non-linear. That's always dynamically changing and moving around. Then you got position, your panning in the field. So if you're on the left speaker, that doesn't change until you move it. So that's a linear thing. Modulation, that's non-linear. So if you have a chorus effect, the pitch is moving around and it will change based on what's coming into it. So basically a mix is a very dynamic thing and it's very non-linear, but it's made up of linear and non-linear elements. So it's a combination of linear and non-linear tools working together to create a dynamic sound. So at this point, this is a good point to take any questions if there are any, because I'm about to dive in to each element and work through.
Cool, yeah, we definitely have some questions. This one had a few votes in regards to writing and points. User such and such, they didn't put a unique name, when you produce an album and you add or change arrangements, such as adding keyboards or extra guitars, is that considered writing? Should you ask for points?
So, I think if you're-- This is something that you do have to decide between you and the artist because there is kind of an interesting idea of well, what actually is writing, what actually is producing? It depends. That's the answer. It depends on who you're working with. So I would say I tend to think that if you're working on an arrangement and the band is trusting your opinion, then that is worth points because they've come to you because of your expertise and you have a very informed and educated opinion on how the song should be arranged, and they're trusting you with that opinion, so that's worth the points. Now, if you're actually playing instruments and adding it to the song and it's becoming a part of the song, then absolutely yes that is 100% point-worthy, for sure.
Great. We got one more question here from online. How do you suggest going through the whole process? What do you look to begin with first?
The process of mixing?
Okay, so we will cover that but basically the very beginning of the process starts with understanding the job, understanding the song, and understanding the person. Those are the three main points that you have to know. Who are you working with, what are their expectations, what do they think mixing is? What kind of song is it? Is it something that is made up of a bunch of stuff recorded with microphones or it is a bunch of raw signals like DIs and MIDI notes and things like that? And then also, what is the goal? So are you trying to create a song that sounds larger than possible? So you're gonna be adding snare samples and extra guitar parts? Or do they just want you to take the recording and make it sound good? Those are completely different jobs and I think the starting point of all this is the communication between the mixer and the client. And the other thing too is, to keep in mind, there should be a reference mix. And to keep that in sight of your vision. So you don't wanna lose the vision of what the producer and the band had created together. They might've spent, who knows how long, a whole month, putting this song together and if you don't listen to the reference mix, then how will you know what planet you're even on? They have put this together very specifically so you definitely wanna pay attention to the reference mix. At least that's my school of thought because how can you-- The only way to get up to speed and be on the same level as the band and the producer is to hear that reference mix and know what they were sort of going for and to feed off of it.