Kim Lajoie's blog

Category Archives: Technique

Always remember the emotional connection

by Kim Lajoie on February 9, 2015

Why do you make music? It’s probably not the fame and fortune (well, at least not the fortune). It’s not the stable income or cosy retirement. I hope it’s not because your parents told you to do it. I’ll bet you’re making music because you love it. You love music, and creating your own music […]

Dynamic EQ

by Kim Lajoie on January 26, 2015

Dynamic EQ is like a regular EQ, except that the gain of the bands can automatically respond to the level of the audio. There are many different variations of dynamic EQ – ranging from automatic, with few additional controls, all the way to fully configurable (with all the complexity that goes with it). Some dynamic […]

Three ways to critique your music (or: how to shake up your subjectivity)

by Kim Lajoie on January 23, 2015

Of course your should be critiquing your own work. You probably do it constantly. But you probably rely too much on your intuition. Going with your gut and what feels right. While this is important, you should also be aware that our intuition can be skewed by factors such as tiredness and conditioning (listening too […]

Multiband compression

by Kim Lajoie on January 12, 2015

Multiband compression is a complex and subtle tool. Compression itself is one of the more complex processes commonly used in mixing. Multiband compression multiplies that complexity. Compared to regular compression (also called ‘full band’ compression), multiband compression is much more complex because it works by applying several compressors in parallel, each operating on its own […]

Amazement and anticipation

by Kim Lajoie on December 29, 2014

Amazement is a departure from minor or dissonant tonality of aggression. Instead, high energy and instability are used to create a sense of surprise or wonder. This can be difficult to do well – the new material must be familiar to the listener. The best way to do this is to express ‘amazement’ later in […]

Disgust, fear and aggression

by Kim Lajoie on December 15, 2014

In this context, ‘disgust’ doesn’t mean disgusting music… It’s a certain mood evoked by minor tonality, and slightly more energy and less stability than sadness. For example, a lot of late-90s trip-hop falls into this category. With more energy and less stability, disgust comes across as having more momentum and direction than sadness or despair. […]

Expressing sadness and serenity in music

by Kim Lajoie on December 1, 2014

Serenity is similar to the ‘joy / love / hope’ group of emotions, except with less emphasis on the happy or uplifting components. Like joy, serenity is best expressed using stable musical material. Unlike joy, however, serenity also comes through best with a low energy level and a gradual rate of change. The stability provides […]

When (and how) to use a gate or expander

by Kim Lajoie on November 17, 2014

Gating and expansion work similarly to compression. While compressors automatically turn the volume down when the input audio rises above the threshold, gates and expanders automatically turn the volume down when the input audio falls below the threshold. The simplest example of this is a basic noise gate – it mutes the audio when the […]

Using compression and saturation to increase loudness

by Kim Lajoie on November 3, 2014

The second-most powerful sound-shaping tool (after EQ) available to mix engineers is compression. This is most commonly used to reduce the dynamic range of a sound. More extreme compression can be used to reduce the crest factor of a sound. Unlike EQ, excessive amounts of compression might not sound unpleasant. Here, it depends on the […]