Mixing Boot Camp
Level I: Foundations

Mixing Boot Camp is a 1 year practice guide in the art of mixing divided into 4 quarters. Each quarter will focus on different aspects of the mixing process utilizing mix exercises, specialized ear training techniques and deep-dive commercial mix analysis to remove the guesswork from your mixing.

Each week begins with listening exercises followed by that weeks lesson topic. All demonstration materials will be made available for your practice exercises. There will also be an abundance of bonus content featuring lessons on Acoustics, Monitors/Headphones, Signalflow, Mixing Tools, Mixing Strategies, Processing Tips, etc...

See the outlines for each quarter listed below:

Quarter 1: Foundations of Mixing

The Foundation of Mixing is embodied in the core elements that are the life blood of a great mix. These elements drive the groove, pace, flow and set the dynamic structure of a song.

This quarter focuses on the establishing the primary structure of the mix as a foundation for all other processing work. It will also feature a deep study into your monitoring setup and improving your ability to balance mixes properly.

Week 1: Mixing Foundations  Part 1- Monitors and Self Calibration

The most powerful and important tool you have as an engineer is your hearing and the monitors that you listen through. ALL mix adjustments and processing decisions are made from the conscious understanding of your monitors and your hearing.

  • Monitor Setup and Calibration Part 1
  • Build a Monitoring Calibration Playlist
  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Headphone Calibration and Listening Exercises

 

Week 2: Song Structure & 4 Stages of Mix Dynamics

This class will focus on the 4 stages of mix dynamics and the Song Structure that plays a huge role in determining the strategy you set for a mix.

  • Monitor Tuning and Calibration Part 2
  • Level, Width, Height & Depth Dynamics
  • Metering Tools
  • Gain Structure

 

Week 3: Primary - Sectional & Transitional Tracks

The foundation of almost every mix relies on establishing the foundational tracks as the structure of the mix that all other tracks build on. Sectional tracks fill out the structure and transitional tracks set up the listener for the impact of the next section

  • Monitor Tuning and Calibration Part 3
  • Finding and Mixing the Primary Tracks
  • Blending Sectional Tracks
  • Effective Use of Transitional Tracks
  • Mixing Primary Focus Elements
  • Level and Panning Exercises

 

Week 4: Basic Equalization

Once the structure of the mix is in place, shaping the tonal structure of the mix sets Height Dynamics from section to section.

  • Monitor Tuning and Calibration Part 4
  • Equalization for Primary Tracks
  • Equalization for Sectional Tracks
  • Equalization for Transitional Tracks
  • Equalization Exercises

 

Week 5: Mix 1 - Levels & Panning -Rock Mix

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the first mix challenge - (Rock Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing the Song Structure and Dynamics
  • Establishing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Level and Panning Exercises

 

Week 6: Mix 1 - Equalization - Rock Mix

Rock mixes, as will almost all acoustically recorded songs, presents certain EQ challenges not found with most sample & and soft synth based productions.

 

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Subtractive Equalization
  • Additive EQ for Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 EQ Exercises

 

 

Week 7: Mix 2 - Levels & Panning - Hip Hop Mix

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the second mix challenge - (Hip-Hop Mix)

 

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing the Song Structure and Dynamics
  • Establishing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 2 Level and Panning Exercises

 

 

Week 8: Mix 2 - Equalization - Hip Hop Mix

Hip Hop Mixes cover a broad spectrum of sonic possibilities, but the common factor is tightly focused frequency zones for each sound.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Subtractive Equalization
  • Additive EQ for Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 EQ Exercises

 

Week 9: Mix 3 - Levels & Panning - R&B Mix

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the third mix challenge - (R&B Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing the Song Structure and Dynamics
  • Establishing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 2 Level and Panning Exercises

 

 

Week 10: Mix 3 - Equalization - R&B Mix

R&B mixes require a clarity, air and openess that is unique to other styles.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Subtractive Equalization
  • Additive EQ for Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 EQ Exercises

 

 

Week 11: Mix 4 - Levels & Panning - EDM Mix

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the forth mix challenge - (EDM Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing the Song Structure and Dynamics
  • Establishing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 2 Level and Panning Exercises

 

 

Week 12: Mix 4 - Equalization - EDM Mix

EDM mixes require a meticulously strategic approach to equalization that is critical function of the song structure.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Subtractive Equalization
  • Additive EQ for Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 EQ Exercises

 

 

Bonus Class: Mix Assessments

This Bonus Class will feature analysis of random mix submissions for analysis and corrections.

Note: There is no guarantee that your mix will be evaluated in this class.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Mix Evaluations
  • Final Assessments for Quarter 1
  • Preview of Quarter 2

Quarter 2: Staging and Tonal Balancing

Staging is the process of focusing individual instruments in the front-back sound field. Instruments can be stabilized or pumped into life. Tonal balancing will establish a mood and vibe that is in alignment with the message and meaning of the song.

This quarter will teach you how to establish the tonal imprint for a song through a deep study of the modern and vintage tools that will best get you there.

Week 1: Mixing Foundations Part 2 - Tonal Balancing and Depth Processing

The primary objective of setting a tonal balance and depth field is to establish a feeling, vibe and character that embodies the prevailing sentiment of the song.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Tone and Depth
  • Tone Building Tools - Vintage Equalizers
  • Tone Building Tools - Vintage Compressors and Limiters
  • Selecting Tone Building Tools

 

Week 2: Re-Amping and Harmonic Processing

Harmonics are the fundamental building blocks of all instruments and the primary reason we can distinguish instruments from each other even if they may play the same note. Harmonics inform the brains ability to interpret, identify, localize and separate he elements of a mix from each other.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Harmonic Tone
  • Harmonic Processing - Tape
  • Harmonic Processing - Console
  • Harmonic Processing - Amps and Pedals
  • Harmonic Processing - Exciters
  • Building a Collection of Harmonic Processing Tools

 

Week 3: Foundational Compression

Foundational (functional) compression is used to establish the primary front-back sound field.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Compression and the Depth Field
  • Compression Settings - Form and Function
  • Creating Dynamic Movement
  • Stabilizing Dynamic Variation
  • Strategic Compression Techniques to Create Depth

 

Week 4: Supplemental Compression

Supplemental compression serves 2 primary roles. Cleanup and stabilization work for overly dynamic sounds. Tonal character enhancement.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Supplemental Compression
  • Managing Dynamic performances
  • Managing Erratic Performances
  • Exciting Flat Performances
  • Supplemental Compression Exercises

 

Week 5: Mix 1 Tonal Balancing - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the first mix challenge - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Tonal Balance Approach
  • Tonal Balancing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Tonal Balancing Exercises

 

Week 6: Mix 1 - Compression - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply a layer of foundational compression - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Foundational Compression Strategy
  • Compressing  the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Compression Exercises

 

Week 7: Mix 2 - Tonal Balancing - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the second mix challenge - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Tonal Balance Approach
  • Tonal Balancing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Tonal Balancing Exercises

 

 

Week 8: Mix 2 - Compression - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply a layer of foundational compression - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Foundational Compression Strategy
  • Compressing  the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Compression Exercises

 

Week 9: Mix 3 - Tonal Balancing - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the third mix challenge - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Tonal Balance Approach
  • Tonal Balancing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Tonal Balancing Exercises

 

Week 10: Mix 3 - Compression - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply a layer of foundational compression - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Foundational Compression Strategy
  • Compressing  the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Compression Exercises

 

Week 11: Mix 4 - Tonal Balancing - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to embark on the forth mix challenge - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Tonal Balance Approach
  • Tonal Balancing the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Tonal Balancing Exercises

 

Week 12: Mix 4 - Compression - Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply a layer of foundational compression - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Foundational Compression Strategy
  • Compressing  the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Compression Exercises

 

Bonus Class: Mix Assessments

This Bonus Class will feature analysis of random mix submissions for analysis and corrections.

Note: There is no guarantee that your mix will be evaluated in this class.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Mix Evaluations
  • Final Assessments for Quarter 2
  • Preview of Quarter 3

Quarter 3: Creating Space

The most common trait of great mixes is the clear definition of space that invites the listener in to the experience. The size, shape and texture of the space created is dependent on the style of music and the prevailing sentiment of the song. The decisions made in this stage are critical to making the music escape the speakers and enter the environment of the listener.

Week 1: Mixing Foundations Part 3 - Spatial Perception

The most common feature of great mixes is the dimensional space that allows the music to escape the speakers and come to life.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Spatial Processing
  • Spatial Enhancement Tools - Early Reflections
  • Spatial Enhancement Tools - Reverb
  • Selecting Spatial Enhancement Tools

 

Week 2: Early Reflections

Early reflections are the most primal binaural cues that establish a dimensional space.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Early Reflections
  • Early Reflections - Slap Delays
  • Early Reflections - Room Reflections
  • Early Reflections - Width Processing
  • Early Reflections- Non-Linear Short Spaces
  • Building a Collection of Spatial Processing Tools

 

 

Week 3: Reverb

Once the spatial dimensions of the mix are established, it's the reverb that fills that space. Reverb can be felt or heard. In either case, it leaves a sonic imprint that must match the tonal shaping approach for the song.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Reverb Types and Approaches
  • Parameters of Reverb
  • Types of Reverberant Spaces
  • Selecting a Reverb Type
  • Reverb Exercises

 

Week 4: Special Effects

Where early reflections and reverb create a depth field, special effects are used to widen and expand the sound field outside of the speakers. Special effects include all forms of modulation and width spreading effects as well as distortion and filtering.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Special Effects
  • Types of Special Effects
  • Width Processing for Reverb
  • Spreader Effects
  • Modulation Effects
  • Filter Effects
  • Special Effects Exercises

 

 

Week 5: Mix 1 - Early Reflections - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Early Reflections - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Spatial Balance Approach
  • Early Reflections on the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Early Reflections Exercises

 

 

Week 6: Mix 1 - Reverb and Special Effects - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Reverb and Special Effects - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting  an Approach to the Reverb and Special Effects
  • Reverb and Special Effects for the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 1 Reverb and Special Effects Exercises

 

Week 7: Mix 2 - Early Reflections - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Early Reflections - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Spatial Balance Approach
  • Early Reflections on the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 2 Early Reflections Exercises

 

Week 8: Mix 2 - Reverb and Special Effects - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Reverb and Special Effects - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting  an Approach to the Reverb and Special Effects
  • Reverb and Special Effects for the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 2 Reverb and Special Effects Exercises

 

Week 9: Mix 3 - Early Reflections - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Early Reflections - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Spatial Balance Approach
  • Early Reflections on the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 3 Early Reflections Exercises

 

Week 10: Mix 3 - Reverb and Special Effects - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Reverb and Special Effects - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting  an Approach to the Reverb and Special Effects
  • Reverb and Special Effects for the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 3 Reverb and Special Effects Exercises

 

Week 11: Mix 4 - Early Reflections - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Early Reflections - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting a Spatial Balance Approach
  • Early Reflections on the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 4 Early Reflections Exercises

 

Week 12: Mix 4 - Reverb and Special Effects - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply Reverb and Special Effects - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Selecting  an Approach to the Reverb and Special Effects
  • Reverb and Special Effects for the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Mix 4 Reverb and Special Effects Exercises

 

Bonus Class: Mix Assessments

This Bonus Class will feature analysis of random mix submissions for analysis and corrections.

Note: There is no guarantee that your mix will be evaluated in this class.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Mix Evaluations
  • Final Assessments for Quarter 3
  • Preview of Quarter 4

Quarter 4: Focus, Shape and Finish

The finalization of a mix requires RMS focus work to heighten the detail of each instrument so to enhance all the layers of processing to be their most effective. Automation then weaves together the sectional and transitional elements to the primary tracks. The ultimate goal of this stage is to guide the listener's attention through the experience of the song.

The final glue for the mix is processing the Mix Stem and Mix Buss stages in the signal flow. This will prepare the final mix for mastering and release.

Week 1: Mixing Foundations Part 4 - Focusing and Finishing a Mix

The most difficult part of the mixing process is finishing the mix to a professional standard.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Finished Mixes
  • Parallel Processing
  • Final Mix Adjustments
  • Automation
  • Mix Buss Processing
  • Listening Exercises

 

Week 2: Parallel Processing and Final Mix Adjustments

Parallel Processing is the most effective way to bring focus and clarity to all of your mixing work.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Parallel Processing
  • Parallel Processing Tools - Tape
  • Parallel Processing Tools - Compression
  • Parallel Processing Tools - Distortion
  • Selecting Parallel Processing Tools
  • Parallel Processing Exercises

 

Week 3: Automation

The purpose of automation is to guide the listener through the experience and meaning of the song.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Automation
  • Sectional Automation
  • Phrase Automation
  • Transitional Automation
  • Automating Special Effects
  • Automation Exercises

 

Week 4: Mix Buss Processing

The final Mix Buss Processing work should glue the whole of the mix together and prepare it for the final mastering process.

  • Commercial Production Examples of Mix Buss Processing
  • Mix Buss Processors
  • Harmonic Processing
  • Compression Processing Techniques
  • Tape Processing Techniques
  • Width Processing techniques
  • Mix Buss Processing Exercises

 

Week 5: Mix 1 - Parallel Processing and Final Mix Adjustments - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply parallel processing to the mix - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing an Approach to Parallel Processing
  • Applying Parallel Processing to the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Final Mix Adjustments
  • Mix 1 parallel Processing Exercises

 

Week 6: Mix 1 - Automation & Mix Buss Processing - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to Automate and process the mix buss - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Weaving the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Special Effect Automations
  • Mix Buss Processing
  • Mix 1 Automation and Mix Buss Processing Exercises

 

Week 7: Mix 2 - Parallel Processing and Final Mix Adjustments - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply parallel processing to the mix - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing an Approach to Parallel Processing
  • Applying Parallel Processing to the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Final Mix Adjustments
  • Mix 2 parallel Processing Exercises

 

Week 8: Mix 2 - Automation & Mix Buss Processing - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to Automate and process the mix buss - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Weaving the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Special Effect Automations
  • Mix Buss Processing
  • Mix 2 Automation and Mix Buss Processing Exercises

 

Week 9: Mix 3 - Parallel Processing and Final Mix Adjustments - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply parallel processing to the mix - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing an Approach to Parallel Processing
  • Applying Parallel Processing to the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Final Mix Adjustments
  • Mix 3 parallel Processing Exercises

 

Week 10: Mix 3 - Automation & Mix Buss Processing - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to Automate and process the mix buss - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Weaving the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Special Effect Automations
  • Mix Buss Processing
  • Mix 3 Automation and Mix Buss Processing Exercises

 

Week 11: Mix 4 - Parallel Processing and Final Mix Adjustments - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to apply parallel processing to the mix - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Establishing an Approach to Parallel Processing
  • Applying Parallel Processing to the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Final Mix Adjustments
  • Mix 4 parallel Processing Exercises

 

Week 12: Mix 4 - Automation & Mix Buss Processing - Music Style TBD

Utilizing the information from the first 4 weeks, it's time to Automate and process the mix buss - (TBD Mix)

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Weaving the Primary, Sectional and Transitional Tracks
  • Special Effect Automations
  • Mix Buss Processing
  • Mix 4 Automation and Mix Buss Processing Exercises

 

Bonus Class: Mix Assessments

This Bonus Class will feature analysis of random mix submissions for analysis and corrections.

Note: There is no guarantee that your mix will be evaluated in this class.

  • Self Tuning Exercises
  • Mix Evaluations
  • Final Assessments for Quarter 4
  • Preview of Mixing Boot Camp Level II

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