There’s no shortage of mixing advice on the internet. With that in mind, it can be challenging to parse through what advice is beneficial versus harmful. Luckily, we were given this free master class by David Gibson. David Gibson’s “The Art of Mixing” is packed with all of mixing’s essentials in one surprisingly entertaining video.
We’ll dive into some of the essential lessons from Gibson’s video below, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the course yourself. The video is full of practical information for any mixing enthusiast, including breaking down the use of each common effect, explaining how to “see sound,” and sharing foundational mixing philosophy.
There’s also a bunch of surprise skits to keep you engaged in between nuggets of priceless information. Here are some of my favorite lessons covered in “The Art of Mixing.”
Reach For A Fader Before Anything Else
While this seems like a relatively simple concept, it’s powerful and essential to remember before reaching out for an effect or fancy plugin. Sometimes, simple volume changes are all you need to carve out the atmosphere you’re looking for in your mix.
It’s a good idea to break down your mix into two different processes. First, figure out the balance, or the relationship between the volume of each track in relation to one another. From there, you can add EQ, reverb, delay, etc., to further shape the sound. Focusing on the balance first and foremost will help you quickly build your sonic landscape without hemming and hawing about what add-ons you need.
The Importance of Seeing Your Sound
This screenshot from the video shows an interpretation of a particular mix. As you can see, Gibson encourages visualizing sounds in terms of left to right or the distance between two speakers and front to back. The depth of each sound is measured in volume levels from front to back. Accordingly, adjusting volume will bring a sound more forward or backward in the mix.
Note that there isn’t one right way to mix a song or interpret it. The important thing is that you work in a visualization method that works for you to use these interpretations as a reference point while mixing different songs.
Detecting Distance In Context With Effects
Understanding Sounds In Relationships To Frequency Range
Your Mixing Interpretation Is Valid
Great mixing engineers don’t apply the same rules to every mix. They understand that mixing is contextual, and every song needs a different approach, even if that means breaking some of the “rules.”
Remember that your mixing has a unique voice, just as much as playing an instrument, singing, or producing does. Gibson challenges us to embrace that voice, which is undoubtedly the most important lesson of all. Enjoy studying mixing techniques with this one-of-a-kind video!