Kim Lajoie's blog

Five secrets to making your mix louder

by Kim Lajoie on February 22, 2010

Don’t dismiss this post yet! Even if you’re in the ‘more dynamics’ brigade, these tips will give you clearer mixes that suffer less in mastering. That means better-preserved dynamics and higher fidelity! For those of you who really do want your mixs SUPER LOUD, this tips will let you push more volume without your sound […]

Five compression mistakes and how to avoid them.

by Kim Lajoie on January 11, 2010

Compressors are complex tools and, like most other audio engineering tools, there are more ways to set them up ‘wrong’ than there are to set them up ‘right’. If you’re careful though, you won’t fall into these common traps: Too much gain reduction. You know you’ve done this when you’ve got tons on gain reduction […]

Sweetening your mix bus, and why you shouldn’t wait for mastering to do it

by Kim Lajoie on January 4, 2010

There’s a case to be made for ‘sweetening’ your mix bus.  Many mixes can benefit from some subtle processing to bring out the best qualities of the tone of the mix and to use dynamics to give the mix a more compact, controlled sound. To bring out the best qualities of the tone of the […]

Reverb on the mix-bus

by Kim Lajoie on October 7, 2009

Under most normal circumstances, using reverb on the mix bus is no different to using a send on every track, with every send set to the same level. Usually this it not a good idea – it’s better touse sends to apply reverb in different levels to different tracks. Some sounds can ‘take’ more reverb […]

Mastering versus mix-bus processing

by Kim Lajoie on August 24, 2009

It’s a murky world, this mastering. Mastering is a process by which a mixdown is prepared for distribution. Traditionally, this has been performed by a dedicated mastering engineer with specific skills and equipment. The esoteric skills and expensive equipment gave the mastering engineer a sort of mythical status. No-one outside the mastering studio really knew […]

Limiting vs Clipping

by Kim Lajoie on July 7, 2009

Limiting is an extreme approach to compression. Where compression reduces the degree by which sounds can go louder than the threshold, limiting is designed to stop sounds from being any louder than the threshold at all. Limiters usually have simpler controls to compressors, but are functionally similar to compressors with high ratio and fast attack. […]

Peak vs RMS

by Kim Lajoie on June 20, 2009

Peak levels are the highest digital values that are in the waveform as it exists in the computer (or other digital equipment). While peak levels aren’t directly related to how we hear the sound, they are crucial for correct gain staging in digital gear. Most critically, peak levels must not reach 0dBfs when recording or […]

Monitoring gain staging

by Kim Lajoie on June 18, 2009

The reason the commercial references are so loud is that they have very little headroom – the average level is so high that there’s not much room for the peaks (which have been squashed down). When mixing, however, you shouldn’t worry about headroom on the mix bus. You need to give yourself enough headroom that […]

Multiband compression

by Kim Lajoie on June 16, 2009

Multiband compression is a complex and subtle tool. Compression itself is one of the most complex single processes commonly applied in mixing. Multiband compression multiplies that complexity because it applies several compressors in parallel, each processing a different frequency range of the audio. Because of the way the audio is split by frequency, multiband compression […]

Planning mastering

by Kim Lajoie on May 15, 2009

Yes! Mastering should be planned! I’ve written in depth about the process of mastering itself, but there’s also some important things to consider before you start – especially if you’re preparing several songs for publication (public release) together. Packaging – How many songs will be in the release? Is it a single? An EP? An album? […]