Mixing

Screenshot from 2014-01-04 10:34:10

I’ve been playing more music again lately, and one of the things I’ve been trying to do is to start playing gigs again. One of the things that every potential gig-spot wants before booking a band is recordings. Recording is difficult, and quite an arduous process. Little mistakes mean having to rerecord the entire take.

Two weeks ago, Andy and I recorded our parts for Paper Moon. It took about two hours to get all the takes we wanted. I listened back to the recordings right after the session and was a little disappointed at how everything sounded. The guitar was boomy and unclear, and the voices didn’t blend at all.

It was time for mixing! Bion kindly offered to show me how to mix things in Ardour. Mixing took another two hours. The first thing he showed me how to do was to remove the low frequency information that’s not even within the human range of hearing. Especially in swing-y jazz that doesn’t have low thumping bass, there’s no reason to keep those frequencies around. He then showed me how to set the equalizers such that voices and instruments each had their own frequency range in which they could stand out. Next, he toned down the high frequency bands for the vocals to reduce pops and clicks (because I didn’t use a pop filter on the vocal mics). Finally, he threw compressors on each track to balance out the loudness all around, and a tiny touch of reverb at the very end so the music didn’t sound like it was playing in a soundproof room.

It’s amazing how different the recording sounds after some mixing. Every additional eq adjustment we made to the mix, we’d turn the filters to hear the difference, and the difference is quite significant. Anyway, enough words, go listen!

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