Try to picture each track of a mix as a single note in a complex chord: it is necessary that the notes coexist in harmony with each other. At its simplest, mixing means level balancing, distribution of sounds in the stereo field, equalisation, dynamics control and the use of ambience effects in order to achieve cohesion, tonal balance and correct placement of the instruments in a virtual environment. As for mastering, the result of mixing also depends on genre, context and taste.
A TRULY EFFECTIVE MIXING ENHANCES THE POWER OF MUSIC
Contrary to what many believe, however, there is a lot more than this about mixing. Achieving a pleasant sound is necessary, but it is not enough. As a dominant chord generates a feeling of movement, a tonic chord marks the culmination of a musical phrase. The alternation of tension and release, the groove and the dynamics evoke feelings in the listener. A proper mixing emphasizes this contrast, allowing the song to strike the subconscious mind of the listener and therefore to communicate at a deep level. The sound is a tool in the service of music. Music communicates and emotion is what delivers the message.
Tension and release manifest themselves at various levels in a song.
After analyzing the music, it will be possible to emphasize its elements of contrast and even to create new ones in strategic points.
The instruments at a sound engineer’s disposal can be used in a dynamic way to confer motion to the mix and to make it more interesting in full respect of the author’s message.