1st Edition

Mixing with Impact
Learning to Make Musical Choices

ISBN 9781315113173
Published March 22, 2018 by Routledge
364 Pages

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Book Description

In Mixing with Impact: Learning to Make Musical Choices, Wessel Oltheten discusses the creative and technical concepts behind making a mix. Whether you’re a dance producer in your home studio, a live mixer in a club, or an engineer in a big studio, the mindset is largely the same.

The same goes for the questions you run into: where do you start? How do you deal with a context in which all the different parts affect each other? How do you avoid getting lost in technique? How do you direct your audience’s attention? Why doesn’t your mix sound as good as someone else’s? How do you maintain your objectivity when you hear the same song a hundred times? How do your speakers affect your perception? What’s the difference between one compressor and another?

Following a clear structure, this book covers these and many other questions, bringing you closer and closer to answering the most important question of all: how do you tell a story with sound?

Table of Contents



Travel guide for this book

Chapter 1: The world of mixing

1.1 Who is the mixer?

1.2 Why is mixing necessary?

1.3 What is the challenge?

1.4 On rules

Chapter 2: Listening

2.1 Perception

2.2 Your ear is a compressor

2.3 Your ear is an equalizer

2.4 Tuning in

2.5 A fixed reference

2.6 Taking professional care of your ears

Chapter 3: Laying the foundation

3.1 Before you start

3.2 Foundation

3.3 Balance

3.4 Panning

3.5 Mute is your friend

Chapter 4: The frequency spectrum

4.1 Association is key

4.2 Masking

4.3 The goal of EQ

4.4 EQ compass

Chapter 5: Dynamics

5.1 Dynamics versus time

5.2 Technical and musical dynamics

5.3 Using compressors

5.4 Reducing masking with compression

5.5 Dynamics and loudness

Chapter 6: Space

6.1 Hearing space and distance

6.2 Simulating space and distance

6.3 How reverb works

6.4 Using reverb

6.5 How delay works

6.6. Using delay

Chapter 7: Time and phase

7.1 Interaction

7.2 Combining microphones hierarchically

7.3 Combining microphones non-hierarchically

7.4 Phase manipulation

Chapter 8: Identity

8.1 Innovation, imitation and inspiration

8.2 Shaping identity

Chapter 9: Effects

9.1 Distortion - simulating intensity

9.1.1 How it works

9.1.2 Distortion in a mix

9.2 Re-amping - providing context

9.2.1 How it works

9.2.2 Re-amping in a mix

9.3 Modulation - putting things in motion

9.3.1 How it works

9.3.2 Modulation in a mix

9.4 Pitch manipulation - creating what wasn't there

9.4.1 How it works

9.4.2 Pitch shifting in a mix

9.5 Triggering - cause and effect

9.5.1 How it works

9.5.2 Triggering in a mix

9.6 Spectral editing - unreal reality

9.6.1 How it works

9.6.2 Spectral processing in a mix

Chapter 10: Automation

10.1 Faders for each function

10.2 Parallel constructions

10.3 Change and conquer

10.4 Expressivity

Chapter 11: Advanced techniques

11.1 The floor: keeping low frequencies in check

11.2 The ceiling: creating clear mixes

11.3 Securing the house: dynamic interventions

11.4 The exterior walls: stereo processing

11.5 Beyond the exterior walls: 3D panning

Chapter 12: Bus Compression

12.1 Influence

12.2 Choices and settings

12.3 Multibus setups: painting on a colored canvas

Chapter 13: Templates

13.1 Time is money

13.2 Building templates

13.3 Integrating equipment in the 21st century

Chapter 14: Preparing for mastering

14.1 Communication

14.2 What is a good mix?

14.3 Mixbus processing

14.4 Stems

14.5 Consequences of loudness normalization

Chapter 15: Mindset

15.1 Doubt is fatal for a mix

15.2 Imposed limitations - working in a context

15.3 A guide for your mix

15.4 Ways to stay fresh

Chapter 16: The outside world

16.1 Speaking the same language

16.2 Reference tracks

16.3 Feedback on the source material

16.4 Feedback on the mix: revisions

16.5 Working at a distance

16.6 Conclusion

Chapter 17: Tools

17.1 Basic acoustics

17.1.1 Space

17.1.2 Optimization

17.2 Monitoring

17.3 Subwoofers

17.3.1 Why use a subwoofer?

17.3.2 Choosing a subwoofer

17.3.3 Installing and adjusting

17.4 Headphones

17.5 How EQ works and its side-effects

17.6 How compressors work and their side-effects


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Wessel Oltheten has been recording and mixing music since his teens, which has led to a successful studio business with a very diverse clientele. To hear some of his work you can visit www.wesseloltheten.nl. For extra articles and a video course accompanying this book, visit www.mixingwithimpact.com.


"Every now and then an indispensable book comes along that can profoundly influence you in the development of your audio skills – this might be one of them." David Baer, Sound Bytes


"The usual topics of effects, compression, and EQ are covered but in more realistic, hands-on detail than most vague mixing guides usually are fluffed up with. Special attention is given early on to the importance of phase, space, and time and how all these interrelate. One of the best features of this book is that Wessel doesn’t generally hand out specific names of hardware or plug-ins to use but instead educates the user about actual techniques, what type of gear will achieve the desired goals, and why it works. These are the fundamental building blocks of quality mixing; not some whiz-bang plug-in template that claims to always deliver "perfect vocals" or some such lie. Other topics include the practical realities of maintaining objectivity, working with others, and even serving the clients’ needs as opposed to your own ego. Mixing with Impact is a perfect handbook for the mix engineer, and I find myself thumbing through it and nodding my head at all the truth within its pages." Larry Crane, Tape Op Magazine/Jackpot! Recording Studio


"All in all, then, Mixing With Impact's 350 pages are packed with useful ideas, up-to-date, well-marshalled information, and great conceptual explanations backed up with lots of useful diagrams. It should help anyone with an open mind, be they seasoned pros or aspiring engineers taking their first tentative steps into the world of mixing, to reflect on and improve their own way of working." Matt Houghton, Sound on Sound