Reader’s Choice: The most popular mixing articles of 2014

by Dan Gonzalez
Mixing is and always will be one of the core elements of each and every DAW. Here at Cakewalk, SONAR features hundreds of a ways to mix and process your tracks for personal and commercial use. Here are some of the most popular articles we have featured in 2014.

How to use Reverb to create depth

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. Check out this article on how to use reverb in your mix.

Subtractive EQ Parts 1-5

Equalization is one of the most powerful tools that an audio engineer can get their hands on. Live engineers, post-production engineers, and recording engineers all have their specific uses for it. It’s so powerful that some beginner engineers habitually reach for it without understanding what it can ultimately do to a mix. Check out this 5 part series about how to properly apply EQ

6 creative ways to use the VKFX-Delay

Overloud’s VKFX Delay Module is a rendition of a classic tape delay with an incredible set of parameters that virtually allows you to get just about any sound you please. Check out this frequently read article about how to use this powerful ProChannel module.

Know Your Signal Flow in SONAR

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. Read the article here.

Ten Nasty Mix Mistakes

Mixing is tough enough as is, but avoiding the following mistakes just might help the process go a little more smoothly—and give you audibly better results. Check out this awesome article by Craig Anderton.

Thanks for reading!

 

Subtractive EQ Part 1: Snare Drum

Introduction
Equalization is one of the most powerful tools that an audio engineer can get their hands on. Live engineers, post-production engineers, and recording engineers all have their specific uses for it. It’s so powerful that some beginner engineers habitually reach for it without understanding what it can ultimately do to a mix.

Overview
Let’s resonate on the concept of volume momentarily. It is in our human nature to enjoy music at high volume levels. Concerts are a great examples of this. Outdoor festivals and the like tend to blast our eardrums with massive amounts of volume that we cannot experience in any other format. To most, increasing volume directly correlates to better sound. In a mix setting, dramatically boosting various frequencies can be a crutch for inexperienced mix engineers. By increasing the gain of a specified frequency band on an EQ one can subsequently add unwanted gain to the overall mix. Typically the problem that follows is a battle to keep your master fader from clipping and you all of sudden feel stuck in a gain-staging paradox. This can happen to best of us.

In Use
Apply subtractive EQ techniques to your instruments. Instead of boosting your favourite signals try limiting yourself to cutting. We can call this concept “carving”. Let’s take a look at a musical example. This series of articles will demonstrate some key elements of a typical Rock Mix.

Snare
Generally the snare is the focal point of a typical rock oriented mix. I’ve started with all my faders down and raised the snare to a suitable level: 0dBu. This recording was tracked with two snare microphones. The bottom snare microphone captured the sizzle of the snare and the top microphone captured much of the attack.

Snare Bottom EQ

The first drawbacks I noticed when isolating the snare recordings Continue reading Subtractive EQ Part 1: Snare Drum

9 Microphone Techniques for Recording A Snare Drum

The recording of a snare drum is the focal point of every modern recording. It sits right in the center of the mix, below or above the vocals depending on the style of the music. In this article, I’ve outlined some mic placement techniques that will help focus in on getting specific snare sounds in your recordings.

1. Close Mic

Keep the Mic Close to the Snare


This is simple, easy, and very exposing. If you are looking to get that initial attack of your snare drum, use this type of placement. On its own it does not sound as appealing as one would first think, but once you add in the rest of your microphones you will begin to understand how the drumset takes shape.

Close mic’ing a snare drum captures ghost notes, Continue reading 9 Microphone Techniques for Recording A Snare Drum

Knowing Your Effects in Addictive Drums Part 1 (SONAR X3 Producer)

Intro

XLN Audio has mastered the art of sampling with their flagship program Addictive Drums. Not only have they been able to capture three incredible kits (standard in full version), but they allow the user complete control over the samples with an in depth effects engine. At first listen the provided presets speak for themselves, but as a power user you should not rely on the presets to define your sound. Let’s take a look at how much control you, as the user, have over the Snare drum and how that can benefit you.

First off, where does a great Snare sound come from?

The answer is easy, it comes from a great snare drum. A drum that is in tune, has a good balance of midrange and high-end, and is properly in phase with the rest of the drum set will always produce good results. A “great” snare sound can be subjective in the music world because many people have their own ideals and opinions about styles. The tactics and techniques used for capturing that snare drum is where the “magic happens” so to speak. XLN Audio provides three solid drum sets with three different kinds of Snare Drums.

Control, Control, Control!

Open up Addictive Drums, solo the Snare, and drop in a simple set of 4 hits and set them to loop mode. Like so:

Let’s take a look at the different options you have within Addictive Drums for creating a great Continue reading Knowing Your Effects in Addictive Drums Part 1 (SONAR X3 Producer)