- Recording and making music on the PC or Mac
Cakewalk presents “Mix it Right” month
We have been busy this month creating new resources to help you craft better mixes. Check out all the tips, tricks, and video from experts like Craig Anderton, Dan Gonzalez, and Jimmy Landry who have all worked professionally in studios and bring decades of mixing knowledge to the table (and console).
EQ: Carving Out The Right Sound For Your Mix
One of the most important aspects of mixing is using EQ to “carve out” a specific frequency range for instruments so they don’t conflict with each other. If instruments have their own sonic space, it’s easier to hear each instrument’s unique contribution, which increases the mix’s clarity. Learn more
When To Break The “Rules” Of Digital Mixing
Sometimes you need a mix to have a certain sound and the so-called rules of digital mixing go out the window. Recently Cakewalk’s Jimmy Landry was hired to produce a song with some “grit” and “acoustic-oriented authenticity,” so he grabbed his 5-Year Old’s harp out of a toy chest, his acoustic guitar, and got to work in SONAR X3. Learn more
“Object-Oriented” Clip Mixing in SONAR
When you need to get really detailed, object-oriented mixing is a convenient solution. Craig Anderton explains how to approach this in SONAR. Learn more
How to Use Reverb to Create Depth
Applying the proper Reverb requires more time than just scrolling through the presets of the basic Hall, Room, and Plate algorithms. Cakewalk’s Dan Gonzalez covers the dos-and-don’ts of Reverb for guitars, vocals, drums, and more. Learn more
Video: How to Use Compression
Mixing with Compression is an essential part to shaping and creating a great sounding track. In this video series Dan Gonzalez shows you how to use compression on various types of instruments in SONAR X3 with the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier. Learn more (more…)
Recently I was asked to create a song for a new short film that will be making the rounds on this year’s film festival circuit. I got the creative brief [I had to write for a specific subject in the film] and got to work writing and recording everything myself in SONAR X3. Thankfully, SONAR X3 has pretty much everything you need to make a radio-ready track in the box; even if you are a #hack-of-all-trades like me. It was requested that this song have some grit to it, as well as some acoustic-oriented authenticity, so I grabbed my 5-Year Old’s harp out of his toy chest, my acoustic guitar, and got to work. The only outboard gear used on this track were a Tascam UH-7000, an AT4033a mic, my Les Paul DC and Carlos Robelli bass. I also played Dimension Pro organ through a controller.
THERE ARE NO MIXING RULES (KIND OF)
After writing the song on an acoustic and then tracking everything, it was time to mix. I love mixing in the digital world because there really are no rules in terms of creativity. Once you understand the basics of frequencies and how to put tracks together properly, you can really get creative with the (more…)
Sometimes EQ is more about “sonic sculpture” than anything else
by Craig Anderton
One of the most important aspects of mixing is using EQ to “carve out” a specific frequency range for instruments so they don’t conflict with each other. If instruments have their own sonic space, it’s easier to hear each instrument’s unique contribution, which increases the mix’s clarity.
Dan Gonzalez did a great series for the Cakewalk blog on subtractive EQ, and how cutting frequencies can help create a better a mix; this is more of a complementary article about how I carved out EQ for various instruments in a cover version of the song “Black Market Daydreams” (by UK songwriter Mark Longworth). All the displays are set for +/-6dB.
Choirs: Using a low-shelf response to cut starting at the midrange gives the choir more brightness and “air.” This way it sort of floats over the mix. The same approach works well for ethereal pads, and lets you mix them a little lower to make space for other sounds. Also note that I couldn’t resist throwing a little Gloss in there…
Try the QuadCurve EQ in the SONAR X3 Producer Free Trial
Guitar power chord: Enabling the high pass and low pass filters creates a broad bandpass in the midrange area where there’s not a lot of energy (more…)
When you need to get really detailed, object-oriented mixing is a convenient solution
by Craig Anderton
Many times when mixing, you’ll want to apply an effect or volume change to a small, specific section. Clip Automation makes it easy to handle Gain or Pan changes, but you can also work with effects by isolating specific “objects” in a track, then processing them individually. This is different from the usual method of applying effects to an entire track, but can come in really handy for detailed work. Also note that object-oriented effects processing works with any type of clip—audio, MIDI, or groove.
Here’s a step-by-step example of how to apply object-oriented mixing by adding maximization to one drum fill to make it really stand out. Download SONAR X3 to give this a try.
1. To isolate the object from a selected track, alt-click with the Smart tool at the beginning of the section you want to isolate, or place the Now time at this point and type “S.” Do the same at the end of the section.
2. Right-click on the object, and select “Open Clip Effects Bin” from the context menu (keyboard shortcut: Alt+K).
3. An effects bin opens up that’s similar to the standard track effects bin.
4. Right-click on a blank part of the effects bin, choose Audio FX from the context menu, then drill down to find the effect you want.
5. The effect will now appear in the bin. Like a standard effects bin, the small “power symbol” circle (blue for enabled, gray for disabled) appears to the effect’s left. To insert more effects (more…)
Mix engineers that have had their time behind a board can pick out the misuse of Reverb when they hear it. Just like with anything, applying the proper Reverb requires more time than just scrolling through the presets of the basic Hall, Room, and Plate algorithms.
Music tends to have a significant three-dimensional experience to it. This concept requires the understanding of width, height, and depth. The best way to understand this is to find a pair of large studio headphones and listen to some billboard topping hits that have dense and complex instrumentation. Grab a sheet of paper and draw two lines intersecting as well as one diagonally through the middle. Label them “Width”, “Height”, and “Depth”. Make a few copies of this sheet and as you listen to the music observe where the instruments sit in the mix. Mark the Toms, Snare, Kick, Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Backing Vocals, Bass, Strings etc. in their respective places on this XYZ plane. Once finished compare and contrast the different songs you listened to and you may notice how different each song turns out. Take one of your own mixes and do the same. You may learn something about your own techniques.
What does this little (more…)
Mixing with Compression is an essential part to shaping and creating a great sounding track. In this video series I take you through a track-by-track video that shows you how to use compression on various types of instruments in SONAR X3 with the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier. You can use compression to control levels, enhance dynamics, and much more. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check out this series today.
Signal Flow is an important concept to understand, and it may be easier to think about when presented with a diagram of how audio is passes through SONAR.
The first concept to understand is the relationship between Inputs and Outputs. There isn’t anything complex about the subject unless you over-think it. It is the underlying theme to just about anything within your Digital Audio Workstation. Always remember the following:
Sometimes Outputs can be named “Outs or Sends” and sometimes Inputs are labelled “Ins or Returns.” If you’re a guitar player then you can associate this concept with the FX Loop that exists on the back of your amp. You use this to Send audio to your effects pedals and then back to your Amp’s Return.
First, let’s start where audio starts. Typically it begins with an instrument or audio file:
Upon opening SONAR many users will head straight to their Media Browser and (more…)
We recently got a chance to sit down with Joerg Kohring who is an LA-based singer/songwriter/producer working out of Los Angeles. Originally from Germany, Joerg found his current musical path originally playing guitar in the award winning band Lifehouse. Since then, he has found success with his own LA-based band Orbit Monkey as well as his production work with other artists. Orbit Monkey’s debut record “Are We Alive” came out in 2011 and the band gained many fans from the recordings. Since then, the band recently released a follow-up EP titled “Born to be Kings” and has released another single/video titled “On Fire” which was recorded and produced completely in SONAR X3.
Save 30% off mixing tools from Blue Cat Audio
We have teamed up with Blue Cat Audio to offer exclusive savings for Mixing Month. These plugins are a great addition to SONAR and will help you visualize, analyze, automate, process, and sculpt the perfect mix. Specials end April 30th!