Mix smart by leveraging all of the tools that influence tone.
By Alex Case

   By Guest Blogger   Categories: Mixing Techniques

Alex Case is the author of Mix Smart: Pro Audio Tips For Your Multitrack Mix and Sound FX: Unlocking the Creative Potential of Recording Studio Effects , both published by Focal Press. This video and many others, as well as other great resources and companion material for his two books can be found at

While Equalization is a deep topic, covered in depth in Chapter 3 of Mix Smart, the key to great tone in your tracks is to get everything else right. What else matters?




Here’s a partial list:

• Instrument selection
o Instrument
 Make
 Model
 Vintage
 Size
 Maintenance
 Tone settings
 Effects
o Picks
o Bows
o Strings
o Pickups
 Type
 Selection
o Sticks
o Mallets
o Heads
o Mouthpiece
o Mute
• Tuning/alternative tuning
• Composition
• Arrangement
• Musicianship
o Chops
o Technique
o Intonation
o Embouchure
o Confidence
o Influences
o Strength
o Control
o Maturity
• Performance decisions
o Left-hand and right-hand techniques ‘
o Articulation
o Voicings
o Extended techniques
• Room acoustics
• Microphone selection/placement
• Microphone preamplifier
• Other effects, especially
o Distortion (see Chapter 4)
o Compression (see Chapter 5)
o Delay (see Chapter 7)
o Reverb (see Chapter 9)

Align these audio forces –  easy to do if you keep an ear on them from the first tracking session to the final mix – and you’ll find sweet tone is yours.

Alex Case is an Assistant Professor of Sound Recording Technology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. An active member of the Audio Engineering Society, and a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, Case is an engineer, educator, and author who speaks frequently on audio and acoustics across the United States and internationally.  With degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Music, and Acoustics, Professor Case lives and works at the intersection of art and science.



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