LARRY'S TAPE MIXING TIPS
- Be careful when selecting your multitrack. Some units don't allow certain combinations to work together:
- Many early ones don't allow mixing or copying to an adjacent track.
- Quite a few can't record on all tracks simultaneously.
- Some don't allow full freedom in mixing when recording more than two tracks (an external mixer can cure this).
- Many are totally unsuited for works longer than a single.
- If you also play an instrument, be careful to not favor the instrument you play in the mix.
- Use your ears. It has to sound good to you.
- See my page on bouncing tracks.
- If you use punch-in, both sections have to be recorded in the same environment, or the edit will be obvious in
the finished product.
- Use PFL (pre-fader-listen solo) to check for signal presence before opening the fader, and also to cue up
- Use AFL (after-fader-listen solo) to balance out groups of performers during the mix.
- Keep the vocals clearly understandable in the mix.
- Make sure the room reverberation can decay between beats. Otherwise, the drums and base will blend into a drone,
instead of timekeeping beats.
- Remember that once you bounce and combine tracks, they can not be separated again once you erase the original
- Use EQ and pan to separate instrument overlaps.
- Listen to your mix through several sets of speakers, in several different rooms.
- Reset the board before mixing. Set everything to zero, off, or flat.
- To use one mixer to do recording, PA, and monitors, use the pre-fader aux sends for monitors, an after-fader aux
send for the PA, and the LR bus (or the submasters) for the tape.
- When recording "live to two" you have to keep monitoring balance between instruments. Use your AFL. You have only
one chance to get it right.
- When recording "live to multitrack" and each part does not have its own track, concentrate on balance on the
tracks containing more than one part.
- When recording "live to multitrack" and each part has its own track, concentrate on getting the cleanest signal
on each track. Worry about balance during the mixdown.
- Avoid using a piano and acoustic guitars together, unless indistinction between them is acceptable. If both
instruments are present, make sure they are not both playing chords. Otherwise, you might end up with a "guiano"
(or maybe a "puitar").
- Use EQ to smooth out peaks in vocals. Compress to smooth out level variations.
- How to control a singer's level:
- A. Adjust the singer's monitor send in the opposite direction.
- B. Add reverb to the singer's monitor send.
- C. Make sure the singer can hear the monitor. Solo it.
- D. Give the singer a dummy mic, and use a second mic to actually pick up the vocal.