Cook your Mix!
i often find myself comparing audio mixing with cooking in a hypothetical analogy between the two. I mean it’s quite obvious….in both situations we’re mixing and processing a bunch of different ingredients trying to deliver a balanced and “tasteful” final product. So I decided to try and create an analogy of simple audio mixing instructions for the beginner based on gastronomy…
I do find a lot of similarities even in the terminology. For example “overcooked” could translate to “over processed”, “undercooked” to “under processed” and so on. Also I can see a crystal clear relation in the ingredients… in both domains we have a main or two ingredients in each dish - song and a bunch of accompanying ingredients adding to the out coming result.
So how we can ensure a perfect cooked meal? …First of all we must start from scratch…get to know our tools and gear, our ingredients and their characteristics and of course start to learn all the basics….simple recipes that will guide us to the next step and help us evolve. So if you don’t get the analogy let me clarify things: You can’y start mixing a 100 track project without knowing the basics…the basics about acoustics, audio physics, our main gear and how it works etc.
Similar to cooking you have to start mixing simple projects following a common sense before you try to “improvise”…don’t worry, creating a personal sound and character is a “slow cooking” process and requires acknowledgment of the techniques, tips and tricks and sonic experiences that thousands of successful innovators of the music industry offered us all these years of recorded audio.
It is this exact combination of practice and experimenting that will lead you to the path of self improvement through a series of logical steps in this imaginary and never ending stairway of learning procedure. As in cooking you simply cannot start from the top…. Instead starting right from the bottom will ensure not only a linear learning curve but also a better understanding of the aesthetics of audio mixing and a solid foundation for building your own sonic footprint.
Starting from the basics will let you explore deeper not only your ingredients but also your processing resources and gear…simple does not mean simplistic and as in cooking a simple recipe can result a great meal.
So, before you start spending your time on useless debates on gear and endless discussions about the best daw, start looking back at the basics and fill in the gaps….music theory, audio theory, acoustics and of course lots and lots of great recordings auditioning…and then convert this theory in to practice….start mixing simple projects and try to convert them in to great sounding audio. You’ll find out that once you get to understand the methodology and technique, new creative horizons will be revealed right on front your eyes (or your ears maybe) and evolution will become a rather easy and logical process.