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Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

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Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby Ivan2404 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:15 pm

Hi! I have read some topics about mixing, and mentioned that before start the mix we have to establish the concept of mix, what is it and how I establish this concept? :?:

And other question is about the artistic part in the mix, I think that I make always the same "tricks" in eq, compression, effects, etc. How can I enhance my artistic skills in my mixes? :?:

Thanks for advance :mrgreen:
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:57 pm

Hi Ivan2404, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

After that welcome, I have to say that your first post here does read rather like a course question - hope you're not trying to get us to do your homework for you ;)


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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby Ivan2404 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:24 pm

Not at all jeje :shock: Just I never heard before about that phrase "concept of mix",
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:42 pm

I share Martin's concern, but with a view to making you think it through for yourself...

I do agree that it helps a mix to come together if you have some sort of concept, background, or guiding principle. For me, what that is changes from project to project.

When I first lift the faders I am trying to understand what the artist is trying to get across. Beauty? Aggression? Peacefulness? Chaos? Intimacy? Epic-ness? You just have to be open to what the music is telling you. 80% of the time I can get what I need within the first few minutes of listening, but sometimes it can be a struggle. Even if you feel you've grasped the idea it usually pays to talk to the artist to get their input. It's no good supporting, or enhancing the song's aggression, for example, if the artist wants that aspect to be understated.

Sometimes the guiding principle is of a very practical nature - if a 60s 'vibe' is called for, for example, that will dictate many of the mix decisions very directly - there's little point going for huge drums and a throbbing sub-bass. Other concepts, such as 'epic' may lead to pushing sounds away from the listener with EQ and suitable ambience. 'Intimate' will have you drying up sounds and pulling them forward... You get the idea. Every mix decision you make should support the concept - it really is that simple.

This is a hugely important subject, IMHO, and one I often cover in 1-2-1s. I find that some people just 'have it', whilst others can develop it with time, patience and examples to work with.

As to 'tricks'... Serve the music, not your desire for novelty. If you listen to the music and react to what it needs, *and* you understand your tools, then you will rarely tread precisely the same path twice. Don't go looking for 'tricks' and imposing these on music that doesn't need them - serve the music. If you get good enough at the job then you will learn to hear what is needed - the music *will* tell you if you let it.

Now please come back with your own thoughts on the subject... ;)
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby Ivan2404 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:03 pm

Thank you very much Elf. I did understand your answer, as I said this is not a homework whathsoever, I'm just very curious :bouncy:
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:23 pm

Tricky that. When making music you have your genre... or somewhere between one and another maybe. So if you are personally making/playing the music the genre will probably dictate some of what the mix ought to sound like. Unless you are re-inventing the wheel.

And there is nothing wrong with that ! As long as it works.

I think it is something personal. For example I made a track in my spare time that was a bit retro.. aiming sonically (through sound source choices) around the early 2,000's. So I knew how this music sounded and knew roughly what to use and not use to slot it into that era.
Mixing was fairly easy due to familiarity with how things sounded then, I followed suit.

I suppose the concept here was that retro mix, which very much related to the sound sources chosen. The mix may not be seperate from the source recording or sound source choices. In this respect mixing starts when recording or choosing sources.

So that is one example and maybe a bit niche. There could be a variety of ways that the mix "vision" may come about. It will involve knowledge about genres, production specifics, sound sources, technical ability, listening abilities/reverse engineering skill... a lot will feed into it.

Unless you are lying in bed 1/2 asleep considering and conceptualizing where to go, what you might try and experiement with, which can also happen....(I consider this a free approach to the question you ask.) then you are kind of assuming a role of producer as well as mixer and will be locking down what you want the track to sound like within your technical means.

Normally this kind of thing is something that comes quite naturally with enough experience.

Like most creativity...there is some iteration, testing, seeing what works, seeing what you can achieve given skill level, re-consideration and in some events the creative process and result gains a life and progress of its own which is far from the original concept. Best laid plans etc.

You opened a can of worms !

I am not entirely sure you always need a concept myself (less so the mix itself than the genre/style and production goal). But if you do it is most likely relating to something that may have gone before and will very much depend on the song type or track type. (if more electronic or dance music based)

Fundamental, competent instrumental and tonal balances is a very good starting place. Other than that the song/track will let you know whaere to go. Unless you have specific verse/chorus/arrangement/dynamic plans.

edit: For interests sake I did not read The Elf's response till after I wrote mine. Interesting to see some similarity in response.

How can I enhance my artistic skills in my mixes?

Spend a good couple of grand on monitoring and acoustics is a good start and listen, and listen.. then do a bit more listening. Then experiment a lot.
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby Ivan2404 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:12 pm

Thanks for the answer! :D I need more listening and analizing time with the music :idea:
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Re: Concept of mix and develop the "artist skills"

Postby job » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:43 pm

If the perspective of a noob who's trying to learn to mix helps i currently approach it by just taking what someone's done and try and make it better. I stay within the genre (no trying to make heavy metal sound like Genesis...). If something (a sound, a mix of sounds, etc.,), doesn't sound good i try and think of why and then i try and think of a method or process that will make it sound good. I don't believe i've ever succeeded as far as a whole mix is concerned, but listening back through my mixes i can hear a progressive improvement for the most part, with the odd errant mix here and there of wtf was i thinking. My conclusion is therefore is that it's all about the skill, which is experience and knowledge applied. So i keep working :thumbup:
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