Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Sound on Sound Presents...) Paperback – 6 Apr 2011
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In the good old days, new engineers learned to mix by interning or assisting; that's less and less the case these days. Think of this book as a textbook alternative to a year of assisting. If you've been figuring out everything yourself or piecing together your workflow based on internet forum posts, this book may bump your work forward by months or years. –Scott Evans, Tape Op Magazine
The advice and guidance contained are relevant to everyone involved in music engineering and production, at all levels and regardless of the size of the studio or its facilities. Novices and grandmasters alike will find plenty of interest here. The emphasis is very much on mastering the correct approaches and techniques, rather than how to use any specific equipment or software, and everything is described in such as way as to make it easily transferable across any DAW platform or even to a traditional console-based mix environment.. The book is structured in a progressive fashion, following a logical mixing workflow, and developing and building on ideas and techniques throughout. The book is very readable, in Mike's familiar, approachable and often humorous style, and with plenty of illustrations, all of which maintain the interest from cover to cover. The text also expands on Mike's own wealth of experience and knowledge with numerous relevant quotes and opinions from over 100 of the world's best-known engineers and producers. Many books have been published about mixing, but in all honesty I'd say Mixing Secrets is easily the most practical, complete and ultimately satisfying that I've read so far. It is eminently readable (even if the spellings have been 'Americanised'!), with the emphasis always on helping the reader to understand when and why to use a particular technique, before explaining how in great practical detail. Although the content is wonderfully disciplined and technically rigorous, the explanations are never intimidating to a beginner, yet remain stimulating to the more experienced reader. The icing on the cake, and liberally covered in cherries, is the dedicated web site, which provides a phenomenal resource of useful material and information. This is a definite must-read for everyone involved in music production at any level - and at a bargain price. --Sound on Sound magazine
The most useful, up-to-date and comprehensive book I've read on the labyrinthine subject of mixing music.. Author Mike Senior is well equipped with his experience as engineer, producer and journalist for Sound-on-Sound magazine to guide any reader, with an intermediate to advanced understanding of the studio recording and mixing process, through four main sections.. Many good examples of current and popular CDs are given through this book to 'reference' each step in the mixing process. Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio is a 'must have' for me that I wil re-read from time to time and I cannot recommend it more. --Music Connection magazine
Mike shares many of his own mixing tips, supplemented by tips and advice from some of the industry's top engineers that range from Chris and Tom Lord Alge to Andy Wallace. At more than 300 pages, it's quite a read, but a highly recommended one. In fact the book is filled with so much great stuff, it's a book that one can read again and again and that can be used as a handy manual during any mixing project. And though there's plenty of information to soak up, Mike has made it very easy to navigate your way through the book and to find the relevant information you need quickly and easily. --GuitarWorld.com
Mixing Secrets by Mike Senior is a great book for studio production, no doubt about it. It's also a great book for extracting concepts that can be used for live audio production. And for the church audio sound tech who might get an email next week saying "we need you to record and produce our first praise music CD," well, you aren't going to find a better book on perfecting a mix. It starts as a book but you will use it as a resource. That's a win-win in my book. --BehindTheMixer.com
I FOUND AN EXCELLENT "MUST HAVE" for anyone pursuing music recording and mixing as a career and life-long hobby...[Senior's] book does not disappoint. He's a great writer and I thoroughly recommend it for newbies and oldbies! --Mavens of Media
About the Author
Mike Senior is a professional engineer who has worked with Wet Wet Wet, The Charlatans, Reef, Therapy, and Nigel Kennedy. He specialises in adapting the techniques of top producers for those working on a budget. Since 2007 he has transformed dozens of amateur productions for Sound On Sound magazine's popular 'Mix Rescue' column, proving time and again that you can achieve commercial-grade results with affordable gear -- once you know how!
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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.
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!!
The difference between this and other books on the subject is that this one nurtures your understanding on how to tackle various mixing issues, rather than just the usual "try this and if it doesn't work play around a bit". The chapter on reverb, for example, breaks the task down based on what you want to achieve by adding reverb (size, sustain, blend etc.) and then gives clear guidance on how to achieve these things whilst still leaving scope for your own taste.
I highly recommend this alongside Paul White's Producers Manual as useful and accessible texts on mixing. Plenty of depth and practical advice in both.
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Most recent customer reviews
If you are into mixing, do yourself a favor and get this book.
My skills have improved a lot since.
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