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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 1 May 2011
This book is a fantastic resource that I expect will dramatically improve my mixing abilities. What more could you ask for than that?

I've now read the book from cover to cover. I plan to read it a second time, working through each chapter's lessons, and then I'm sure it will become a fairly constant reference in my studio after that.

I don't think the book is necessarily for everyone, which works out great for people like me. I think a complete novice would probably struggle with this dense book, while a pro can write their own (though I suspect that they would still learn from this book, just as the author - and his readers - profit by his many interviews with top mixing engineers). But if you're situated somewhere in-between rookie and pro, this book is pitched perfectly for your needs. That's me, and I've read a lot of books on the subject, but none this good.

What I most appreciate about the book is that it is strategic, methodical, rigorous, and straightforward.

By strategic, I mean that the author has a vision to which all the advice of the book is oriented: producing commercial grade audio mixes. Yes, there are lots of tactical tips sprinkled throughout the text, and they're quite helpful, but these are always in service to the greater goal. This is not a 'mixing tips' book, per se - it's something much better than that, a mixing strategy book.

The book is also very methodical in its approach. The author walks you through the process from beginning to end, explaining what is important and what is less so, showing how each step needs to build on prior work, and helping readers understand why his procedural order makes more sense than whatever method (or none at all) people might be employing on their own.

The author's approach is rigorous as well. Mike Senior clearly takes the art and science of mixing seriously, and he encourages his readers to do the same. He doesn't pull punches in telling us the scale of effort required to mix at the level to which he's trying to get his readers. I appreciated those benchmarks. They help give me a sense of what is required, and inspire me to go the extra distance in order to get there.

Finally, the book is straightforward in the sense that Mr. Senior seems to be free of faddish biases or particular hardware/software fetishes. He's not selling anything other than better mixes. He is simply devoted to telling his readers what works.

And, as an extra added bonus, he does so with humor. And some days, when it's just you and that recalcitrant song mix punching each other silly in the arena, you need that!

But here's the most amazing thing of all. Mike includes his email address in the book. So I thought, what the heck, and I emailed him some questions. He responded promptly and thoroughly. That's really amazing. It's like having a company provide great customer support for their complicated product - only it's not hardware or software, it's a book! His willingness to support those of us in the field (see his website, Cambridge Music Technology) demonstrates a real love for the art itself combined with a rare generosity of spirit. Massive kudos for that!

In short, here's the bottom line: If much improved mixing is your aspiration, and if you're serious about it, buy this book pronto.
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on 31 July 2012
If you're like me and relatively new to audio & midi mixing, this book is invaluable. I've read several books on the subject and what I really wanted to know was the practical process of putting together a selection of audio and midi tracks to create a quality sound. I got into mixing because two friends and I occasionally play together and we thought it would be great to have some record of our sessions. So armed with a couple of Zoom R series recorders and Cubase 6.5, I decided to "get stuck in".

Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio gives me all I want to know from a practical point of view and while the importance of creating a good recording and mixing environment is stated in some detail, the majority of the book focuses on getting your hands dirty and actually mixing. The chapters are presented in a logical order, similar to how you would approach a real-life mixing session and for this reason, it is recommended that the book is read through in this order but once read, it's easy to dip in and out of sections for a refresher due to the excellent index and sensible chapter and section numbering. There is a reference section at the back covering producers and mixing engineers (from whom a lot of the specifics have been gathered) and details of books and magazines which have supplied quotes from these people.

For those of us on relatively limited budgets (and who isn't these days!), the author points you in the direction of the many free plug-ins available on the Internet to supplement whatever your chosen DAW has - and he doesn't make the mistake of concentrating on any particular DAW either so the text is quite generic. Also, many parts of the book refer to procedures, tips & tricks that I've not come across in other books or magazine; for example, setting the mixer faders to aroun 0dB and using pre-gain controls (either part of the DAW or 3rd party plug-ins) to adjust the gain of each channel. This way you get to use the mixer fader where it is most sensitive.

Mike Senior writes with a very easy and understandable style and does not beat you about the head with lots of numbers and equations; he also has a nice line in humour which does not get in the way of putting the subject over. The only other book that I can see me refering back to on this subject is Roey Izhaki's "Mixing Audio", which treats the subject in a more technical manner.

Excellent value for money and the usual great service from Amazon!

So, in a nutshell, "Mixing Secrets" is a winner in my opinion and should be the first book on the subject to be read if your just starting out.
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on 23 May 2011
I'm not even halfway through the book yet and I can already hear improvements to the sound quality of my studio and mixes. I believe the strongest points of this book are:

1. It explains all important issues that small studios (and even larger ones) users face and how to address them.
2. It contains a lot of practical exercises to really hear and understand the concepts described.

At the end of each chapter, there is a summary of the concepts described and a list of practical exercises. In addition, throughout his book, Mike Senior gives a lot of ideas to experiment with, songs to listen to as well as useful tips. This is complemented by audio files and additional information on his website.

Reading this book is therefore like sitting in a private course / workshop with Mike Senior! I therefore highly recommend it.
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on 28 June 2013
I really do love this book. I've only just started to learn how to record and mix myself and had been muddling along looking up the odd YouTube tutorial when I got stuck, but just "having a go" without really having a structured methodology to apply. Hence my early mixes were typical of a small studio producer: too much instrumentation, very muddy, cluttered sounding and just obviously amateur in sound quality.

What I love about Mike's book is that he give you a method to follow. I read the book first cover to cover and his approach really appealed to me because it was saying: here's where you begin, next do this, then do this, etc etc, building on each layer till you get through the whole process and come out the other side with, at the very least, a well balanced mix. He spends the first few chapters giving advice on monitoring and supplementary monitoring so you can really hear what your mix sounds like. He gives you advice on acoustically treating your room etc so once you've passed through the first few chapters and followed his advice at the very least you will be equipped to "hear" your mix properly and therefore make properly informed balancing decisions.

Mike then explains the pro mindset to approaching mixing: editing first and getting everything sounding tight before you move onto balancing and using your various mix tools. He supplements every chapter with quotes from countless interviews with the world's best mix engineers and has really done an excellent job about finding the points of commonality between all these great engineers and how they approach mixes to construct an A, B, C, step by step guide that someone learning the art of mixing can take. Once you're well versed and producing great commercial mixes you can adopt any non-linear method you like if it gets you results. But for someone like me who didn't know where to begin, it was just so great to have a structured method to follow.

The other thing Mike does is augment the book with online resources which I frequently refer back to ask I go through each chapter. He gives you links to freeware plugins to supplement the plugins you might have in your DAW and recommends affordable plugins where he feels necessary. Mike genuinely seems to have a desire to give home studio or small studio producers the right tools to create competitive mixes.

This book has helped me adopt a professional mentality to how I approach recording, editing and then mixing. I can't recommend it highly enough, it's really a fantastic guide for someone keen to learn how to mix to commercial grade in their own studios and this book does a great job of demystifying audio production terminology. It's not an idiot's guide by any stretch of the imagination. You will need to concentrate and get your head around some difficult concepts but if you persevere and work through a mix project with the book, you'll see your skills as a mix engineer improve dramatically.

Not sure how useful it would be to an experienced mix engineer as that's not the perspective I'm writing from. But from discussing some of the ideas I've learnt with friends of mine who are experienced and studied audio production etc, it's been quite rewarding telling them some practices I've adopted that they didn't really do! :-) Good luck!!
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on 18 April 2012
I purchased this book at a time when I was feeling quite uninspired musically-I guess I was just feeling a little disillusioned and lost some of my earlier passion for being creative. I had been wanting to improve my mixing skills and understanding of this art form for some time, but was a little uncertain regarding which book to purchase, as there are quite a few on the market. However, after seeing some positive feedback regarding this book I decided to purchase it and what really swung it for me was the fact that it was written by an English based Engineer/Author who's articles I was very familiar with from the Sound On Sound magazine. Well, as soon as I started reading this book I immediately felt so inspired again and just couldn't put it down. The language used is easy to understand and whilst he does use some technical terms it doesn't boggle the mind! I would say that I probably would not recommend it for an absolute beginner, but feel it is aimed at the more intermediate end of the scale. I know that I will continue to refer to this book in month/years to come and it has helped me to understand techniques that I never fully understood prior to reading this book. It also makes you want to get creative and experiment with the techniques that are being taught. I had also been wanting to add acoustic treatment to my home studio, but never quite understood the best way to do so, but this book offered some good advice regarding placement and so finally got around to purchasing some acoustic tiles and bass traps. I also have changed my speaker positioning following the advice from this book from horizontal to vertical-Great tip for my NS10's! All I can say is that if you are considering ordering this book then don't hesitate as it will be money well spent!
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on 15 October 2011
I'm in the Third year of a Music Technology degree and this book has been such a massive help that I'm basing my dissertation on it!

While I was comfortable with most of the concepts Mike talks about, the clear and concise way he writes made the book a joy to work with. The beginning section helped me to fit out my home project studio with the right amount of acoustic treatment, and Mike's advice on monitor selection really opened my eyes (and ears!) to things like ported speakers.

The real treat however is in the structure that Mike provides you with in order to approach each mix in the right way. It's all very well knowing what a compressor or eq does, but knowing why and when to use it is vital in maintaing an effective workflow. Mike's book gives you a clear understanding of where to start and when to move on to the next task, something that has transformed my mix work. The section on effects is enlightening, really getting to grips with why you need them to take a mix to the next level.

The mix preparation section gives you vital advice on timing and tuning edits, as well as all important phase alignment issues. These are things that you have to deal with if you want a great sounding mix and Mike explains them in easy to understand ways.

It's all great, your mixing will improve a hundred fold.
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on 13 February 2016
Very good book - full of tips, tricks and guidelines to avoid a lot of mistakes in the mixing process. Well written and the author clearly knows his stuff. Great guide for someone wanting to get into mixing. It's reasonably technical - it needs to be, so having some working knowledge of audio principles makes this book far more accessible to the reader. Fantastic reference book which I'm sure I will go back to regularly.
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on 5 June 2011
I liked the chatty style Mike Senior adopted and the organisation of the chapters, both of which made this an interesting and enjoyable read. I also liked the quality of the book; it smelled nice and you don't get that with Kindle! That said, a lot of the black and white photographs weren't up to the standard I expected from an otherwise well-produced tome.

I've been home recording for over ten years so didn't expect any blinding revelations, but if you're fairly new to the delights of producing your own recordings you'll find it a very useful companion. There were however some areas which Mike quite rightly stressed hard and made me re-think my practices on, e.g. reference recordings. In common with others, I suspect, I paid lip service to this vital process but didn't actually follow it.

I did find some of the more detailed explanations unnecessarily long and techy, e.g. the space devoted to what Mike seemed to be portraying as the horrors of ported monitors. Actually, I couldn't square that with the wide popularity of some costly ported monitors, I have some Adams AX5s, and don't remember seeing prominent port warnings in reviews of such models in Sound On Sound magazine to which Mike is a regular contributor.

I confess: I have far too many books on home recording that I've amassed over the years. My advice to those starting out would be to just get on with lots of recording: practice makes perfect, and buy a handful of really useful books, this being one of the main ones.
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on 30 September 2014
Just the free sample of the book in Kindle will help you with your music production. The book is incredible. It completely bypasses the professionals and talks directly to the musician trying to get a much better sound on a tight budget. The tips have helped me set up my home studio so it is at least as good as any professional studio from my point of view. It taught me how to get the most out of everything, my software, my equipment, my monitors, my headphones.... it even has tips how to better use your ears. Get this book and dip into to it before you start your next track. You will soon feel confident that you are on your way to making completely professional sounding music, and it will make your gear sound like you spent 10 times as much!
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on 2 February 2016
This book covers a lot of things you really want to know but can't find in many other books. Many books just cover the basics, this book goes more in depth about the use of plugins and how they work and when certain techniques might be useful. Definitely one of the "must-have" audio engineering books! Its changed the way I look at using certain plugins and given me more options.
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