Off and on for the past six months, I’ve been working on a song of mine called “Your Love (How Deep, How Wide).”  Although for the most part, I finished arranging and producing, the song a long time ago, the mix has been giving me a lot of trouble.  I’ve probably burned a “final” mix at least ten times by now, and every time when I went back later to listen to it, I decided it wasn’t quite right, so I would go back and tweak it some more.  Well, now I’m going back and tweaking it again, and I feel very hopeful that this time, I may be getting close to the final, final mix.

What has made this mix so difficult is that it has nearly fifty tracks–all of which are being used.  Also, I’m learning so much at this stage in my career, that I find that I have to go back later to fix poor practices that I was using when I started a mix in the first place.  For example, when I began to mix “Your Love,” I knew almost nothing about imaging, and so I later had to go back and take out/add in all the reverb and panning on all fifty tracks.  Last night, I think I had another such breakthrough with EQing.

For the longest time, I was frustrated that the vocals sounded somewhat muddy, and weren’t cutting through the other instruments very well; the vocals just seemed to lack “warmth.”  After some research via the internet, I discovered my problem was due to improper EQ.  It turns out that cutting the frequencies between 300-400 Hz can add clarity to vocals, and boosting between 800-100 Hz makes vocals sound thicker.  http://recording.songstuff.com/article/eq_frequencies

Suprisingly, in Logic, the default channel EQ settings for vocals all seem to have boosts around 300-400 Hz and cuts around 800-1000 Hz.  When I finally figured out to do the opposite, the vocals sounded clear, and they stood out in the mix.  I love it when something so simple does what I’ve been trying to do all along!

I still have to finish balancing the whole mix, and I obviously haven’t even started mastering it yet.   But hopefully, what I finish now will be the final mix!

That’s all for now.  Time to go mix some more, and get ready for the first day back at school tomorrow…

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About Shelby Rawlings Blalock

I'm a 22-year-old composer, pianist, audio engineer, student, and GRAMMY Camp 2012 alum––a Charlottesville native making my way in Nashville! I write music for orchestra and small ensembles, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is available now on iTunes.

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