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Mixing Discussion => Mixoff Book Club => Topic started by: JohnSuitcase on April 29, 2011, 09:03:28 PM

Title: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: JohnSuitcase on April 29, 2011, 09:03:28 PM
Mike has done such an awesome job with our first Mixoff contest, so I thought I'd start this forum with a discussion of his great book:

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0240815807/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=suitcasemusic-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=0240815807)

The book has some great info, including control room setup, monitor selection, and lots of great tips for processing, etc.

The part of the book that I personally found most valuable was the portion about referencing to commercial works. My typical way to 'reference' commercial works was to listen to a few things from my collection, then start mixing. If I felt lost, I would go back and listen to some commercial tracks again, and see what sounded weird. But I rarely would go so far as to get specific reference tracks from the band, or buy them myself, and I'd never gone so far as to create project for the purpose of comparing my mix to the commercial references. This step, while a little laborious, can truly open your eyes to the shortcomings of your mix.  It requires a little bit of mastering touch, to get things in the ballpark, but just hearing how your vocals are too quiet or loud, or the overall tonality is too mid-heavy, or what have you is priceless.

I remember years ago spending hours and hours in studios listening to Nirvana's Nevermind, trying to figure out how they got some of those tones. We were focused on the tracking side, but the idea was the same.

Anyone who has read the book, please chime in, and try to give specific examples, or questions, rather than 'I liked it!'
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: cahyanandra on April 29, 2011, 10:03:46 PM
Hello guys,

Well..I'm from Indonesia, and i've bought Mike's book about 5 days ago. Just after reading a couple chapter, i start opening my old mix, save to a new project..then start doing a new one with these new perspective from the book. And the result is AWESOME !!!  :)

I've been doing mix for about 14 years, but i still find very usefull tricks from this book. For example, how to HEAR the Reverb plugin it self(by muting the instrument)..wow. I never realise that Reverb has so many "bad" sound ( even with BIG NAME on it ). After hearing it without any instrument, i can choose what reverb suite for my mix and etc.

The next perspective is STABLE FADER.. That Compression, EQ-> is to fix Unstable tracks. I used to Compress or EQing something just to create a stable dynamic or create a new kind of sound. EVen sometime i still can not find a FIX fader position..i just make it stable with automation. But with Mike's perspective..I find it's a lot easier if our goal is to create a Stable position-Balance- by using Compression or EQ. And i also find my EQ setting are "more human" than before and off couse, the instrument's freq is fuller than before ( i only touch a little on EQ now )

And the most important thing is..Mike also prove we can achive a good mix with "anykind" of plugs - freeware / paid version. As long as we know where to go..then it's easy to use which plug we use for the instrument.

THANKS MIKE.. I suggest everyone loves in Mixing to buy this book.

PS : I'll send my before(reading) and after(reading) mix when i'm completly finish my works ( and i'm really ashame with my before reading hahahaha )



Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: JohnSuitcase on April 29, 2011, 10:13:31 PM
One thing Mike has mentioned in the contest thread a lot is reverbs that disappear in mono. In the book, he mentions this a bit, too. Quite often, it seems that reverb plugs use a simple phase inversion or haas effect type delay of the reverb sound to create a stereo image, which phase cancels when collapsed to mono. Both of these methods conserve processor cycles, and are easier to implement, but the price can be high!

I'll be curious to hear if anyone else wants to post a 'before and after the book' mix, I think that's a great idea!
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: JoshERTW on April 30, 2011, 03:18:00 AM
I actually did my own before and after comparison on Blood to Bone - will post it when I'm back at my home computer. The contrast is immense and I only remixed after Chapter 13 plus some skimming of later chapters "pre deadline" for the contest. I've finished the book now but have yet to find the time to implement the final touches from the last few chapters, plus I just switched computers and my plug-ins are all buggy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a bit technically minded and has at least some basic knowledge of mixing - going through the Guide at www.tweakheadz.com was my only mix education before this book really and that was enough for me.
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: vvv on April 30, 2011, 10:15:56 PM
I got this last week and am about half through it.

I keep going back and re-reading stuff, also.

Lots of information, new ways of thinking and working, and a terrific, friendly writing stylee.

And yes, the stereo information is mostly new to me, and a real ear-opener.
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: Martin Olsson on May 06, 2011, 03:49:29 PM
I will let you now when I get the book. I´m sure it´s great!
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: Smelly Biscuits on May 17, 2011, 06:04:53 AM
I got the book a few weeks ago, I think it was great, but it lulled at bit about half way through for me.

There is one thing that had me miffed though; He mentions that He wished that the German Hass guy was French, that went right over my head - what did I miss there?
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: JohnSuitcase on May 17, 2011, 02:44:13 PM
I got the book a few weeks ago, I think it was great, but it lulled at bit about half way through for me.

There is one thing that had me miffed though; He mentions that He wished that the German Hass guy was French, that went right over my head - what did I miss there?

I have to admit, I didn't get that joke, either!

I thought the section on reverb was very useful, what part did you find slow?

There were a few things that could have been fleshed out a bit more, like the difference between eq for balance and eq for tone, the same for reverb for tone. I understand what he means, but I suspect a beginner might have a little trouble seeing the difference.
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: Smelly Biscuits on May 18, 2011, 06:11:55 PM
I got the book a few weeks ago, I think it was great, but it lulled at bit about half way through for me.

There is one thing that had me miffed though; He mentions that He wished that the German Hass guy was French, that went right over my head - what did I miss there?

I have to admit, I didn't get that joke, either!

I thought the section on reverb was very useful, what part did you find slow?

There were a few things that could have been fleshed out a bit more, like the difference between eq for balance and eq for tone, the same for reverb for tone. I understand what he means, but I suspect a beginner might have a little trouble seeing the difference.

It was part 3 that lulled for me. Don't get me wrong, it was very informative and a great resource, I just stared reading in smaller time slices when I got to that point, where as previously I would have been hooked for a much longer period of time. 
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: JoshERTW on May 19, 2011, 12:44:46 PM
I just did a big tracking session last weekend and I'm planning to give this one a re-read before I get too heavily involved in the mixing process (or at least hit the summaries at the end of each chapter to start). I followed the process outlined throughout the book as I read it the first time and ended up with the best mix of my life (was using Blood to Bone as my "Test" mix). Was a good read first time around, I think a second time through will be a good way of "studying."
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: cporro on August 26, 2011, 02:10:06 AM
this one and mixing audio are my 2 fav mixing books. both are well worth whatever they cost.

off the top of my head...liked all the talk about comb filtering (it's not just monitoring yo), time and pitch correction, the often uselessness of grids for time correcting live performances, the various effects of reverbs, monitoring on a budget. there is a lot of good stuff i didn't know in there.

i do wish he described compression a bit different. it's a bit more then quick volume changes. i wish he got to automation earlier. i think it deserves a higher rank.

i've yet to build a mix per the book. but probably will soon.
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: imispgh on September 11, 2011, 11:33:43 PM
Very good book. A desk reference

On timing fixes and automation to some degree

If humans are playing it and it is not meant to be super tight or perfect and/or something hits you as amiss leave it alone.  Human emotion is conveyed through attack, volume, timing etc.  Fix obvious errors or discontinuities and leave the rest.

Listen to Miles Davis Kind of Blue. Each song was done with only a couple takes. No overdubs, punches etc.  There are parts where it's obvious things are not perfect. But it is recorded very well and you can hear awesome musicians who are human. (Try Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions too. Given it is one mic and in a church I would imagine most of it is live with few touch ups. Amazing)
Title: Re: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior
Post by: spinner003 on February 18, 2013, 12:37:35 PM
I've found this book invaluable. It's not only had a hugely positive effect on my workflow, but it also made me realise how unreliable my monitoring practices were. Before I tried the simple tests he suggests to check my room's bass response I used to spend a lot of time and frustration eqing what I thought were mix problems but were actually speaker artefacts and room resonances. Needless to say, my mixes have benefited greatly as a result.