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[Getting started] Critical Listening

Critical Listening
Besides guaranteeing "virtual headroom" and an optimal level to process each track with any plug-in or outboard gear, the "gain staging" method described in the last installment also allows you to make your first "realistic" critical listening of the song you are about to mix, in order to fine-tune your vision about it and lay down the foundations of the right strategy to achieve your goal. In fact, listening to it under such conditions provides a more accurate perception of the virtues and defects, or both, of each of the elements, which favors the implementation of adequate solutions, as we are about to see...

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Nice article.

What people should pay attention to is that they threat reverb and delay not as ambience or masking tool but as a new instrument brought into the mix which also can be fade, panned, compressed,eq and take this in consideration while listening and mixing.

You need so little to glue the mix.
Yet there are people who try to make their mixes big with it and over use the effect.

So i whould add :

Check also the overall levels of your effects.
Do they realy needed. What are trying to accomplish with it.
Cool article. Helps me approach my mix in a more calculated manner, looking forward to the rest of the series
Question for the writer: when you first started mixing, what would you realize when listening to the track with faders at 0? What I mean is, often one needs much experience to be know WHAT to write down when noting what's missing and what needs to be adjusted.

I feel like starting out, the only thing you can truly tell is what adjustments should be made to volume and panning automation. If you're a complete beginner, I don't think you'd listen and say 'well, the snare sounds muddy' or 'the chorus vocals are too brittle' or whatever. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Basically I'd like to know what you would look for as a complete beginner and what advice you have for up-and-coming mixing engineers who still don't have the 'ears' for mixing :-p
Quote:
Basically I'd like to know what you would look for as a complete beginner and what advice you have for up-and-coming mixing engineers who still don't have the 'ears' for mixing :-p

I'll forward your comment to the author.
Quote from decayedattack:
Question for the writer: when you first started mixing, what would you realize when listening to the track with faders at 0? What I mean is, often one needs much experience to be know WHAT to write down when noting what's missing and what needs to be adjusted.

I feel like starting out, the only thing you can truly tell is what adjustments should be made to volume and panning automation. If you're a complete beginner, I don't think you'd listen and say 'well, the snare sounds muddy' or 'the chorus vocals are too brittle' or whatever. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Basically I'd like to know what you would look for as a complete beginner and what advice you have for up-and-coming mixing engineers who still don't have the 'ears' for mixing :-p


Well, as I've already told in a previous article, first you've got to learn from the Masters. To do so, here is a couple of advice.

Then, as I stated in this article, you should ask yourself these questions when listening to your song : What is in the foreground and what is in the background? And in which moment(s)? Which tracks have a consistent perceived volume (or loudness) and which ones are constantly fluctuating? Are there any instruments conflicting with one another? At what level is the conflict?

Hope it helps ;)
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