Mixing & Mastering

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Noise Gate: How to Auto Clean Your Live & Recorded Audio

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
audio gating

The amount of people that either don't know about noise gates is astounding. The number that know but won't take the time to learn how to use them is sadly astonishing. That's largely because there's no easier or better way to get huge gains in audio quality while performing live, recording, and during mixing. And gating is easily the biggest time saver during post-processing. Regardless […]

What is Sidechaining? This Pro Mixing Trick Will Evolve Your Music

Updated: Mixing & Mastering

If you're a music producer of any kind then you've tried your hand at mixing. You may even be great at it. You know the ins and outs of equalization, compression, using effects on auxiliary sends, using group buses, etc. But still, once you sit back to check your mix on a couple of sets of speaker monitors and even your nice headphones, things just […]

Sidechain Compression: A Critical Method for Mix Clarity

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
sidechain compression critical method for mix clarity

If you're a long-time follower of LedgerNote, you know I've written a ton about mixing tricks of the trade to help you get better clarity, especially in the bottom-end of your mix. Sometimes there's only so much you can do with equalization. And that's where the concept of sidechaining comes in. It's not hard to understand or set up, though we all need that first […]

What is Dithering in Audio & What Does it Do? (An Easy Explanation!)

Updated: Mixing & Mastering

My goal here is to cut through the fog and give it to you plain. We're going to define dither, talk about what it actually is in the context of digital audio (as opposed to printing images or processing video, though we'll mention this), and tell you when and how to use it. What's funny is we've all seen and heard this technique applied in […]

Fletcher Munson Curve: The Equal Loudness Contour of Human Hearing

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
the fletcher munson curve

Working with studio headphones and monitors that feature the flattest frequency responses is important. They reduce the possible variation our listener's will hear due to their own stereo systems, equalization preferences, and the influence of their listening rooms. Untold hours and billions of dollars have been spent in research and development in these industries alone. Then two physicists stepped into the game and changed everything. […]

EQ Cheat Sheet? Frequency Charts for Mixing Hurt More Than Help!

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
frequency response charts

They're designed well and make nice posters for a school classroom. They get a lot of re-pins on Pinterest. Halfway interested amateurs pass them around because they seem profound and packed full of useful information. Except they aren't. Your first clue that these abominations suck are the instrument frequency charts that purport to show the fundamental frequency ranges as well as the harmonics of every […]

Understanding Mix Bus Compression

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mix bus compressor

There are very few topics and techniques that amateur mixing and mastering engineers will avoid out of the sheer complexity and thus confusion. One of them is stereo bus compression and auxiliary bus compression. Today our goal is to remove this shroud of mystery so all of us can enjoy the fruits of this advanced mixing technique. It's not nearly as complicated once you understand […]

Studio Subwoofers: All You Need to Know (and More…)

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mixing subwoofers

There’s nothing that can match the mind-bending power of deep bass. Its sheer might is a big reason why we still shell out absurd amounts of money to see an action movie in the theater (which is crazy expensive now even if you don’t shell out the cash for popcorn and a soda!). It also manages to make any car ride infinitely cooler when the […]

Delay & Echo: A Guide to Using Time-Based Audio Effects

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
delay and echo

Everyone loves delay. One of the first effects pedals a guitarist goes after is a delay. The first thing a kid does on his family trip to the Grand Canyon is scream "Hello?" and wait for the response to come bounding back. Delays and echoes are not only pleasurable but they're a great way to introduce complexity and a sense of fullness to a keyboard […]

Subtractive EQ vs Additive EQ in Mixing

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
subtractive vs additive equalization

Since you're reading this you're likely familiar with the issue, but for the sake of those fortunate enough to not have dealt with it, let's explain the typical conversation surrounding this topic. It always boils down to some variation of: Cut instead of boost. Attenuate instead of amplify. Never add when you can subtract. People have very strong convictions about this and half of the […]

Mixing with EQ: 23 EQ Tips to Sculpt the Perfect Sounding Song

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
eq tips

But all of these knobs and settings are staring back and grinning, daring you to even try to understand what they do. Have no fear. With these 23 EQ tips, you'll have a broad overview of what the knobs do and what must be done for your music to rival the professional mixes. It's nowhere near as scary as it seems on the surface. The […]

10 Compression Myths & Mistruths

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
10 compressor myths debunked

Most of us in the recording industry have a solid understanding of how compressors work. We know how to tweak the settings to achieve our goals in a mix. But even the most well-informed of us are hanging on to some misconceptions about the technical aspects of how these crazy machines function. Let's start with the most simple myths and misguidance that's out there and […]

Mixing with Reverb: How to Use Reverb for Depth Without Creating a Mess

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mixing with reverb

Do you ever listen to professional mixes and wonder how in the world they have so many lush reverbs flowing throughout the soundscape, yet everything still sounds crystal clear? How come you can't achieve the same? The answers are here. Most of the time we jump in, grab a reverb that has a sound we like, dial it in to a certain volume on varying […]

What is Tape Saturation? Which Are The Best Saturation Plugins?

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
what is tape saturation?

Lots of listeners hear older recordings and realize that something sounds different than the new crystal clear, extremely sterilized, computerized recordings of today. It's not just a sense of nostalgia. There is definitely a difference but it's hard to put your finger on it. Even audiophiles have a difficulty nailing down just what that subtle feeling is that separates the new from old. There's a […]

14 Tips for Recording and Mixing Vocals - The Right Way...

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
14 tips to better vocal recording and mixing

The two most important aspects to "recording and mixing vocals" is implied in that phrase right there. There is the recording phase and then there is the mixing phase. When recording, representing your voice in the most accurate and pristine way is about what not to do. It's a somewhat passive stage where as long as you nail your performance while dodging specific recording mistakes […]

Ear Fatigue Symptoms When Mixing With Headphones & Monitors

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
ear fatigue

The whole lot of us are guilty... guilty of not taking care of our ears even though it's our livelihood. We listen to our favorite records too loud, we go to live concerts without ear plugs, and we sit in movie theaters till our ears bleed and ear drums rupture and the world ends! Okay, it's not that drastic but it's not far from the […]

Audio Mixing for Dummies

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
audio mixing

The best way for beginners to start producing acceptable mixes is not to focus on what they should be doing but to simply avoid what they shouldn't be doing. If you can make it past the handful of mixing mistakes most newbies make, you're no longer a newbie. And we can get you there in one easy to read discussion, called the 'Audio Mixing for […]

Matching Song Levels in Home Recordings for Even Playback

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
matching levels in home recordings for even playback

The number one thing that screams "amateur recording" to even the most casual music listener is popping in a CD or loading up some MP3's and having to crank up the volume twice or even three times as far as commercial music. Then when they forget to turn it back down and destroy their subwoofers and ear drums, guess who they're going to blame? Not […]

Mix Position: How to Setup Your Listening Room

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mix position

There are three main aspects when it comes to setting up a listening room properly. Each one is critical. If even one of them is off by a remotely significant degree, you'll suffer the effects across the whole setup. Those three are: The position of your speaker monitors in the room The position of your head in the room The acoustic environment of the room […]

Mixing Bass and Kick for Low-End Balance

Updated: Mixing & Mastering
mixing bass and kick

When it comes to turning off your listeners, I don't know what's worse: having an anemic, powerless low-end or having a muddy, overpowering mess with no clarity. Unfortunately, these are two of the most common problems with amateur mixes. These two scenarios and could doom the reception of the best song ever written before it even hits the first chorus, so what's it likely to […]