Upon concluding the first month of the studio's business I was quite glad to see what had been achieved, both mastering and mixing wise. With music by Right-0, NoM4D, Ryan-kp and a diverse variety of Melbourne independent artists baptising the studio with its first sessions. I can really say I'm blessed to be involved in Melbourne's music scene, which offers so much great music back to its community.
Having had many artists take up my offer for Free Appraisals before sending their work here to get mastered, I came across a common practice which I felt after consulting with some of these artists was hindering the flow of their mixing process. So I thought I'd give you some insight into when and when not this practice can be used to its best affect.
This practice is mix-bus limiting, which is a really useful practice to get your mix sounding louder when referencing to already mastered material, sending the client revisions so they can feel out how the track sounds against their own library of music and also for how elements in the mix react for when or if it gets pushed in mastering.
However if you limit whilst you mix you can run into a couple of issues;
- When you limit you are squashing the dynamic range, which means when adjusting levels of individual channels you will be fighting against the limiter on the mix bus, making it seem impossible to get certain elements to jump out and others to take a back seat.
- Limiting the mix-bus in most DAW's can usually mask the visual metering of any distortion/clipping going on in the digital summing of your audio. This isn't a good thing, digital clipping and distortion can be a real headache to deal with especially when you're on a home run to completing your mix.
- Limiting will also leave your mastering engineer with none to very little headroom to work with, remember to bypass or make the limiter on the mix-bus inactive when printing off the final mixes for mastering. If you have a really solid vision of how loud you would like the final masters to be, print off a reference with the limiter on and another one without so the engineer has a reference point you have set.
When mixing remember you want to make available as much dynamic range as possible for you to create the dynamics, clarity and punch needed to engage your listener and allow the music to breath.
I could go on for some time discussing the finer points of mix bus processing but these are just some broad notes on it all to help you get the most out of your mixing process.
On this note I will leave you with a track mastered here at Panorama for Right-0 and NoM4D who generously have given me permission to post this short teaser for you guys.