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Mixing Loose Cut Chains

When mixing any song it is important to remember that there is no right


or wrong way to mix. However, when mixing the song Loose Cut Chains, I
had an idea of what I wanted the final mix to sound like. Before mixing
my songs, I find it easier to reduce all of the faders to the minimum and
gradually bring each instrument in before balancing the tracks.
I started by taking each individual track and cutting the inactive
frequencies. For this I used the Graphic EQ (Equalisation) tool. An
Equaliser is a tool that allows to boost or cut specific frequencies from
any to all tracks used. Below you can see the frequencies that I have cut
from the Kick Drum microphone.
Using the high cut
on the EQ, I have
managed to remove
all sound above
10kHz.
By doing this I
can eliminate the
build up of any
unwanted
frequencies such
as those provided
by air
conditioning units. If I didn't remove these frequencies then these
sounds could double in volume and this would greatly effect the quality
of the recordings.
I have also made a cut at 200Hz of -2.5dB. I did this because this is the
frequency that the snare drum used operates at. As I had boosted the
snare frequency at 200Hz I thought to cut it on the bass drum channel
because this channel is just intended for kick drum.
I have also used the EQ on each channel to cut the inactive frequencies
for each instrument. The next thing I did was to bring up the volume of
the guitar track. and gradually increase the volume of each channel from
there.
The next thing I went about doing was to look at the waveforms for each
microphones. For those waveforms that had a large variation in volume
from section to section. I added a Compressor to each channel that I felt
should have a constant volume throughout. A compressor reduces the volume
above a specific threshold to allow for the volume of the entire track to
be increased without there being any peaks in the audio. I added this on
bass, both guitar tracks and the drum kit overheads. I just used these

because tracks like the these picked up a more consistent noise compared
to that of the snare which only picked up the slap of when the skin was
hit.
Once I had applied the compressor to the channels that I wanted, I chose
a preset from the list for the bass channel. I chose the preset E Bass
and this gave my bass
a more growly sound
and therefore allowed
me to increase the
overall volume.
This preset sites the
threshold at -27dB
and with a ratio of
5.8:1. This means
that for every 5.8dB
above the threshold,
only 1dB is allowed
through. As well as
this, the attack and
release of the
compression is preset. This option
allows you to change
how hard or soft the
gain reduction is and
each option will
offer a slightly different type of sound, suitable for various genres of
music.
The next stage was to slowly bring up each of the faders for each channel
to balance the mix. By using the multimeter on the stereo output channel,
I was able to monitor which frequencies were most prominent in the mix.
Using this in conjunction with the equalisers on each channel, I was able
to ensure that there was a perfect balance of all frequencies within the
mix.
Mixing Africa
When mixing Africa, I was given a guide track and so had to refer to
this whilst mixing. The most effective way of monitoring the levels was
to use a multimeter which showed the levels of each frequency present in
the song.
I mixed this song in a vert similar style to that of my composition in
first ensuring that each channel was given a cut for the inactive
frequencies. This is done because i find this the best way to remove any

unwanted noise from the channel. For example, on a drum kit, the snare is
picked up by nearly every microphone and this results in phase issues.
The best way to remove is to make a cut so that each channel only picks
up the instrument it is meant to - reducing any bleed from microphone to
microphone.
Once each channel had its inactive frequencies removed, I added the
compressors to each channel that I felt needed them. This was done in a
similar way to the composition multichannel track. One by one, referring
to the multimeter and to the original guide track, I was able to
replicate the sound of the original track ensuring that the mix was a
respectful as can be to the original song.