Weird Mixing Terms
Engineers tend to get fired up every time they discuss mixing music. Sounds can be very hard to describe. Add a layer of technical jargon and you will feel frustrated talking about your tracks.
Good thing there are several common terms that engineers use to assist in communicating mix issues as well as the sound qualities.
Here are a few common odd terms in mixing together with their meaning.
When you speak of boominess, it pertains to excessive energy of low frequency which can result to exaggerated sustain effects on the speakers.
Speakers can just accurately reproduce too much low end. Excessive lows can cause struggling with the speakers.
It can cause negative effects which radiate up to the frequency spectrum.
A mix or sound is made up of primarily midrange frequency without enough highs and lows. A boxy mix can sound flat and it may also lack detail.
You will see why once you mix reference against a carefully produced commercial recording.
In general, muddy means congestion from the buildup of the competing elements in the low midrange. This low midrange is a hard region for both intermediate and beginner engineers. When it is very muddy, the clarity and the separation of the instruments can take a hit.
Warmth often pertains to the un-hyped top end and harmonic distortion. Warmth is a highly sought after quality typically attributed to the analog equipment. This is part of what can make a mix rich, enjoyable, and smooth to listen to.
Harshness is usually used for describing an aggressive upper midrange that can be difficult to listen to. This harshness is a serious concern in majority of mixes.
The very last thing you would like is for the mix to make your listeners experience ear fatigue. A harsh mix’s effects can be much worse on the common listening systems such as laptop speakers and earbuds.
Depth refers to the mix’s three-dimensional quality. Depth is needed to create an immersive sensation which will draw in listeners to your mix.
This can help with the instrument separation as well as the general sense of space.
Air refers to the subtle liveliness in the mix’s upper frequencies. Air will bring out the dimension and realism in sources such as room mics and vocals. An open, airy, and open top end is the common name for most mixes.
You can consider air as a pleasing, well EQ’d, and present treble range in the mix.
What Does Mixing Mean?
Mixing is an extremely subjective process, which means that the terms that have been described above are also subjective. Every engineer possibly feels a bit different as to what the meaning of depth or air for them is.
The definitions of such terms are only guidelines to get you into talking and thinking about the strengths or issues in the mix as well as how you can better aim for a certain sound.
Now that you finally know what these terms mean, get deeper into that mix today!