How do you get a good mix? Unfortunately, there isn’t a “technique” that gets you to a good mix. Sure, all of the techniques described in this lesson are required to obtain a good mix. But, following these techniques correctly will not INSURE a good mix. That is because getting a good mix requires a different piece of equipment than we have been talking about up to now. That equipment is called “your ears”.
Yep. This is the primary piece of equipment you will use to achieve a good mix. It is the hardest and most enjoyable part of mixing. It also flies in the face of the techniques used by many amateur “Sound Techs”. It seems that many sound techs think that they can set the mix at the beginning of the service and then all they need to do is adjust the over all volume. WRONG!! As I have said many times in these lessons and on the blog, the sound tech is actually another “musician”. Because of this singular fact, if you aren’t a musician at heart, you will probably never be able to be a good sound tech.
On the other hand, if you take the approach of “playing the sound board”, you will find that running sound can be fun and rewarding. In order to achieve good results there are a few things that you must do:
- Attend practices and rehearse your part in the band. You have to know how the song should sound, where the solo’s are, who is singing lead, etc.
- Listen for each instrument in the mix. You need to be constantly asking yourself
- Can I hear the instrument
- Should it be louder or softer
- Is it positioned correctly in the mix (EQ)
- Be ready to bump up any instrumental or vocal solo at the appropriate time
- Always mix the “Lead Singer” above the other vocals (from a volume standpoint). Even if there are multiple people singing the melody, the lead singer should be the primary voice that is hear. The other voices are “filler”.
Whenever you are listening to music, make a mental note to pick out the different instruments and vocal parts in the mix. This will prepare you to do your job better.
To some of you, this may seem really elementary. To others, it will be an entirely new concept. But any good sound person worth his salt is doing this.