Easy Steps to Getting Better Mixes
Sometimes you just have to live with the room that you have, especially in small home studios. The large commercial studios spend thousands of dollars on acoustic treatments, special construction and special tuning of their control rooms so they become a critical listening environment. You on the other hand may not have the luxury or budget to tune your control room like them. But all is not lost, with a little knowlege and some inexpensive materials, you can make your control room not only a good mixing environment, but improve your mixes in the process.
- Control the bounce! The more the sound bounces around your room and back into your ears the more it will color your mixes. It’s easy to create dampers to hang on the walls (We will put up a tutorial on how you can make your own soon). And Bass Traps in the corners. If you have a budget but you don’t want to spend the big bucks for the Aurlex foam. There are alternatives, you can go to www.foambymail.com and get discounted acoustic foam that do a great job. They also run some specials on Ebay under the username Foambymail. I have bought from the company many times and each time has been an excellent experience!
- Speaker Placement! This may seem like a no brainier but you can’t believe how many studios have the speakers improperly placed in their control room. You need to get some air between you and your speakers. They should be evenly spaced so your mix position is in the center of the speaker placement. Also they should be high enough off the ground that the main “Woofer” Speaker is at eye level and your tweeter is above your head (or pointed at your forehead). Having your ears bombarded by High end audio constantly can fatigue them quickly.
- Tune your Ears! Sometimes the key to a good mix can be as simple as tuning your ears to your room. This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of small home studios and one that can be the most easy to fix. First make sure you have a Graphic EQ on the output of your monitor mix. Find some CD’s of Music that you love to listen to or music in the same genre of what you are looking to mix. You know that these mixes were produced by professional engineers and Mastering engineers to sound good. Play these through your system and tweak the EQ to make those CD’s sound good in your room and system to your ears. This will give you a baseline for your mixes. You system and your ears will be tuned to what you know is a great mix and you will be mixing to get that that same sounding mix. Every once in a while take a break from your mixing session, and when you return play those same CD’s through the system tweak the EQ if need be and then continue your mix. This will bring you back on track and allow you to compare your mix to those done by the pros.