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Monday, August 19, 2013

The 6 Elements Of A Mix

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Many engineers mix by feel, never realizing what their process is. The fact is, it's a lot harder to determine what's wrong about a mix if you don't know about the 6 elements that every great mix must have. Here's an excerpt from the latest 3rd edition of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that explains those 6 elements.

"Every genre of modern music, be it rock, pop, r&b, hip hop, country, new age, swing, drum and bass, trance or any other category featuring a strong backbeat, has six main elements required for a great mix. They are:
  • Balance: the volume level relationship between musical elements.
  • Frequency Range: having all audible frequencies properly represented.
  • Panorama: placing a musical element in the soundfield.
  • Dimension: adding ambience to a musical element.
  • Dynamics: controlling the volume envelope of an individual track or the entire mix.
  • Interest: making the mix special.

Many mixes have only four or five of these elements, but all six MUST be present for a GREAT mix, as they are all equally important.

In some music genres that require simply recreating an unaltered acoustic event (like classical or jazz or any live concert recording), it’s possible that only the first four elements are needed to have a mix be considered great, but Dynamics and Interest have evolved to become extremely important elements even in those genres as modern music has evolved."

You can read additional excerpts from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook at the excerpts section of

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