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Experience mixing in the Studio 11 Studio A control room.

What is audio mixing and why is it so important?

Audio mixing is the process by which multiple sounds or music tracks are combined into one or more channels. In the mix process, each sonic element’s level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated and effects such as reverb and chorus may be added. These individual sonic elements are then combined together to achieve a good balance in volume and frequency together as a whole. This rational, aesthetic, or otherwise creative treatment is done in order to produce a mix that is vastly more appealing to listeners.

When I am done recording, should I mix?

Mixing is one of the most important steps in the creation and finalization of a recorded piece of music. A good mixdown of a piece of music is what can turn a good song into a great song. A good mixdown can even save a bad song, turning it into a song that could potentially appeal to millions of listeners. So the mixing process is a crucial step to the overall fidelity and success of the song. It is also one of the most enjoyable steps in the overall song production process as the art of mixing can seem magical and mysterious.

How long does a mixdown usually take?

There are multiple variables that determine the amount of time that goes into mixing a song. The first and most important variable is the initial fidelity of each sonic element being used in the mix. If the overall quality of each element is good before mixing begins, and all the elements balance together comfortably without taking away from each elements sonic characteristics and timbre, then the mixing process should be a fairly quick affair. This is usually a result of good recording technique during the production of the song, and is another reason why recording is vitally important step in the finalization of your song.

The second variable that determines the length of time a mixdown will take is the amount of elements or tracks that are combined together during the mix. Songs with small track counts usually take significantly less time than songs with large track counts. This is because there are less elements in the mix to manipulate and balance together. However, a song with a small track count whose elements were recorded poorly can potentially take as much time to mix as a song with a large track count and good recording.

The third variable is the overall organization of all the elements within the piece of music prior to the start of the mixdown process. Poor organization can usually lead to larger track counts than necessary. For example, multiple vocal tracks that make up background vocals can take up a large number of tracks. Balancing together and recording all the these background vocal tracks to a single mono or stereo track prior to mixdown (also known as a ‘comp’) can drastically reduce the track count, thus reduce the time it takes to organize and complete the mix. This method can also be used on instrumentation as well.

The last variable that influences mixdown time is the genre of the song and overall sound the client desires in the mix of their song. Adding in special effects such as delays, flanges, phasers, and extra post production goodies can take up additional time during the coarse of the mix. Some songs are built around these special effects so it can take extra time to properly dial them in correctly.

Are there different kinds of mixdowns?

Theoretically no, a mixdown is a mixdown regardless of what platform it takes place on. However with the use of computers and audio programs such as Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton, mixing has divided into the two distinct categories of ‘analog mixing’ and ‘digital mixing’. Analog mixing is roughly defined as using electronic equiptment to manipulate and combine together continuously varying electrical representations (analog) of multiple input signals. Digital mixing can be defined as only using computer technology to manipulate and combining together elements of which information is described as a series of (usually binary) numbers. The philosophies and techniques involved and the pro’s and con’s between them have been debated for some time now, and will surely be debated for many years to come. At the end of the day though, really all that matters is the overall fidelity of the final mixdown of your song. So if you are looking to get your song mixed in Chicago, we are the place to come too.

Why should I get my song mixed at Studio 11?

First and foremost, our engineers at Studio 11 have mixed songs, ep’s, and albums for some of the most reputable record labels and artists in the business. From Rap to Rock, EDM to House, our ears have heard and mixed it all. Secondly, because of our vast experience producing music for clients, we understand what your song is supposed to sound like before the mixing process even begins. This means understanding the importance of certain individual elements over others within the song, relative to the style or genre of the piece of music. This also means understanding the important qualities and characteristics that define each genre of music.

Third, we at Studio 11 believe the client should always have options. We offer both analog and digital mixing services for roughly the same rate. If you ask us, we will tell you that mixing in analog is the better way to go. Our Oram mixing counsel, collection of new and vintage outboard gear, and Sony Apr 24 tape machine really help to add depth and warmth to the overall mix. While plug-ins exist in the digital world to replicate the sound of analog, nothing beats a signal being driven into tubes, transitors, and circuits. For those that enjoy the accessibility and creativity of the digital world, but also enjoy the sound of analog, we can your mix your music using both our digital and analog resources.

Lastly, we try to make the mixing process as fun and collaborative as possible here at Studio 11 for each client that comes through our doors. We invite our clients to make suggestions and offer ideas at any point during the mix process. If you have an idea for a sound and want to get hands on, just let us know, we don’t mind. If the mix requires additional post production or instrumentation, we have drums, guitars, basses, amps, synthesizers, sample libraries, and virtual instruments that are set up and ready to go at a moments notice. We also have two spacious lounges inside our studio complex with two kitchen areas and refrigerators. Parking is available out in front of the building on Lake Street. So if you are looking for a fun professional studio in Chicago to mix your next project, give us a call or drop us an email. We’ll happily schedule a tour and or answer any additional questions you might have related to mixing or your project.

Read more about recording at Studio 11 Chicago HERE. For audio mastering services visit the Studio 11 Mastering page.




Mixing at Studio 11 in Chicago.

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