Kim Lajoie's blog

The only 5 (or 4) essential mixing tools you need

by Kim Lajoie on July 19, 2013

Vincent Dubroeucq:

When it comes to mixing, there are in my opinion only five essential tools in your DAW that are critical to getting great mixes.

Vincent’s almost right. The article goes on to describe the four most powerful mixing tools: volume, tone, dynamics and ambience. That far, I agree 100%. In fact, I wrote almost the exact same post two years ago and went into more detail in my second guide.

Where Vincent and I disagree is where he writes this:

Give width to your tracks with panning. Sure your mix has to sound good in mono, but it can sound great in stereo. Pan your tracks to maximize stereo width and make your song sound bigger.

I don’t think much of panning. Not that it is or isn’t useful, but that it’s largely inconsequential. I wrote about this about two and a half years ago and my opinion hasn’t changed.

-Kim.

2 thoughts on “The only 5 (or 4) essential mixing tools you need

  1. I still have to disagree. Panning and stereo field usage is an important factor for me (as a listener) in how a mix sounds. In fact, I think there have been a lot of innovations in this area recently. See productions/mixes by James Blake, Airhead, Lapalux, etc. Plus a lot of dubstep is doing crazy stuff with moving the bassline around the stereo field: jumping wide, jumping back to mono, etc.

  2. Kim Lajoie says:

    Cool, I’ll check out those artists. Also, keep in mind that there’s a difference between using panning as a compositional device versus using it as a mix device. If the bassline is moving around the stereo field or juxtaposing mono with wideness throughout the song, panning and stereo width are probably being used compositionally.

    -Kim.

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