Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio

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Taylor & Francis, 2011 - Music - 342 pages

Discover how to achieve release-quality mixes even in the smallest studios by applying power-user techniques from the world's most successful producers.

Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio is a down-to-earth primer for small-studio enthusiasts who want chart-ready sonics in a hurry. Drawing on the back-room strategies of more than 100 famous names, this entertaining guide leads you step-by-step through the entire mixing process. On the way, you'll unravel the mysteries of every type of mix processing, from simple EQ and compression through to advanced spectral dynamics and 'fairy dust' effects. User-friendly explanations introduce technical concepts on a strictly need-to-know basis, while chapter summaries and assignments are perfect for school and college use.

* Learn the subtle editing, arrangement, and monitoring tactics which give industry insiders their competitive edge, and master the psychological tricks which protect you from all the biggest rookie mistakes.

* Find out where you don't need to spend money, as well as how to make a limited budget really count.

* Pick up tricks and tips from leading-edge engineers working on today's multi-platinum hits, including Michael Brauer, Serban Ghenea, the Lord-Alge brothers, Tony Maserati, Manny Marroquin, Dave 'Hard Drive' Pensado, Jack Joseph Puig, Mark 'Spike' Stent, Phil Tan, Andy Wallace, and many, many more...

Mike Senior is a professional engineer who has worked with Wet Wet Wet, The Charlatans, Reef, Therapy, and Nigel Kennedy. He specialises in adapting the techniques of top producers for those working on a budget. Since 2007 he has transformed dozens of amateur productions for Sound On Sound magazine's popular 'Mix Rescue' column, proving time and again that you can achieve commercial-grade results with affordable gear -- once you know how!

 

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As a project studio operator, Mixing Secrets has been the single resource I can point to that got me over the hump and into the territory where I can begin seriously competing with established professionals - all while remaining on a humble budget. Mike Senior gives the novice the fundamental information necessary to understand and execute all basic mixing tasks as well as many advanced mixing ones. Where an advanced technique is not included the fundamental knowledge to understand it has nonetheless been provided. In other words, as a result of working through this book, articles on arcane mixing techniques become easy to digest, even if they aren’t described in the book.
More importantly, his pedagogy is extremely sound. He takes a complicated, non-intuitive, subjective, and non-linear process and gets the student through it as if it were simple, obvious, linear, and objective, all the while providing the student with the necessary caveats to understand where the process has been simplified to make it easier to learn. Therefore the student, as he gains experience, can incorporate a more fluid approach as necessary, skipping between various mixing tasks instead of doing them in the preset order that Mike lays out for beginners.
The book has immense re-readability. The “Cut To The Chase” pages at the end of each chapter highlight the section’s important points. I recommend tabbing them with post-it notes for quick review. Additionally, reexamination of any chapter reveals situation specific tips that become increasingly relevant as the student gains experience.
For a person with a limited budget who is willing to put in the time to work through Mike’s lesson plan, Mixing Secrets is an invaluable resource. It is a book designed to scale with your budget. As you become successful enough to justify more expensive equipment, Mixing Secrets will be there to help you make the most out of your time and effort. Additional value is derived by providing a firm and comprehensive foundation of mixing fundamentals. After reading Mixing Secrets, books and articles on more advanced topics become easier to grasp, even if they are written poorly.
I recommend this book all the time to audio professionals who are looking for a good resource for their students, and I recommend it to any hearty bootstrapping project studio operator who wants to make the best use of his time and money while laying a strong foundation for his future development. It takes time to meticulously work through Mike’s lesson plan, but I can’t call that a downside since there are no shortcuts in the pursuit of excellence.
There are, however, ways to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts, and this is the best I know when it comes to mixing.
 

Contents

Part 1 Hearing and Listening
1
Part 2 Mix Preparation
79
Part 3 Balance
117
Part 4 Sweetening to Taste
229
Selected Discography
303
Appendix 2 Quote References
321
Appendix 3 Picture Credits
329
Index
331
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Mike Senior is a professional engineer who has worked with Wet Wet Wet, The Charlatans, Reef, Therapy, and Nigel Kennedy. He specialises in adapting the techniques of top producers for those working on a budget. Since 2007 he has transformed dozens of amateur productions for Sound On Sound magazine's popular 'Mix Rescue' column, proving time and again that you can achieve commercial-grade results with affordable gear -- once you know how!

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