Tips from a Mixing and Mastering Expert

An expert session has been conducted in the academy to impart those technical aspects to students regarding the mixing and mastering involved in Music production.

Topic which were covered included the tips on how to mix a song, what is mastering and how to do it, along with information on sound cards and enhancing audio quality

The session was handled by Prasanth Valsaji, an industry expert in the field of music production.

Prasanth has been quite helpful in clearing the doubts raised by the students during the interactive session.

Demonstrating various techniques used in music production, the session has turned out to be an informative one for the students.

Here are some of the tips which are shared during the session

Naming Convention of Tracks

Arranging a session is a very important thing when a recording is being done.

Naming is very important whether you are recording or anyone else is going to continue a session or
giving your session to mix to another place.

Don’t just simply take 5 tracks, record everything and put it in different places. The next day someone else is going to sit on your session or when a mixing engineer comes and mix your session and he doesn't know what is happening and won’t be able to able to manage the tracks

Earlier in a DAW there were only 8 tracks and during that time it was easy to ascertain the tracks but the current scenario has changed and hundreds of tracks can be included in DAW.

In a situation where you are recording on Nuendo with 10 tracks without proper naming or naming it as audio1, audio2, audio3 with 6o or 70 tracks following the same naming convention. After that you are
exporting these tracks to run on pro-tools. It will be tedious for the new guy who will be working on the tracks to solo each and every track to see which is what track and it is a time consuming process which can delay the whole project.

In a DAW you can name it directly and in a sensible manner in which a new person who is working on it can easily understand the same and there is no need to have a different note regarding the tracks.

With regard to a post-production session of a big film like Avatar, 3 Avid Pro-tools has been used in 3 satellite machines, 1 machine was having 256 tracks of audio just for effects. For a sound engineer who was working with movies like avatar it is a perplexing situation to go through different sound effect tracks to ascertain it if it was not properly named.

In Hollywood there is enough time to solo it and listen to the same but with regard to Indian movies the mixing session will get over in 3 or 4 days there is less time to actually review it.

In India a sound engineer has to deliver quality output in the shortest span of time. It doesn't mean that we don't have good quality audio. Overlooking at the Hollywood movies, the budget is more, time is more and the quality is good.

Each and every individual has to develop unique skills especially to get organized.

Is there any Industry Standards?

There is nothing like industry standards, it is a set of guidelines which one can follow

From the recording session itself the sound has to be better.

If you are having a bad drum being played while recording a music and don’t think that to fix the bad drum music in the mix. All you have to do is to replace the bad drum before recording.

A sound engineer has to gain that much amount of knowledge to explain it to the music director that if something is not right.

If you have good pre-amp and sound cards you get good quality audio output.

Auto Tune Might Work, Melodyne Might Work

It is not 100% guaranteed that the audio plugins will create wonders to your recorded to music but to some extend it is yes.

You have to spend that much amount of time on your Melodyne (pitch correcting software) to make the necessary corrections. Plugins are there for your aid only and the Auto Tune corrects to some extent, minor pitch corrections can be made using the plugins.

Just don’t think that mixing is just making using of a plugin in the tracks and sense it as ok, that is not actually the process.

You should find the way during the recording process itself, while you record keep an eye on what you actually want, what should be the levels, check whether it is getting distorted or not

Don’t expect to correct a music during mix which is distorted during recording, the total recorded music will get messy and you will have to re-record the tracks.

Stick on the basics while recording the songs.

Changing the bit rate.

Will changing the bitrate to higher level increases the quality?

With regard to mp3 files it is not supposed to as data loss in happening during the changing process.

The only result is the increased file size and no change in quality.

It is better to set high bit rate and sample rate during the recording itself.

Latency during recording.

During a recording session input will be transferred to the sound card then later transferred to DAW and what we monitor is the output from the DAW.

If we want to hear it in real-time the latency should be on the downside.

We will listen to the delay if latency is increased but when if there is plugin processing buffer
size should be increased.

We won’t be able to hear via headphones while we record if latency is high.

When using plugins latency has be increased so it will not get hung up.

Low latency monitoring can be used while recording.

In the later session Prasanth has demonstrated to students the in and out of mixing and mastering with third party softwares.

Thank you Prasanth for taking time from your busy schedule and spending time with our students in imparting technical knowledge regarding mastering and mixing.

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