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Understanding and Crafting the Mix, 3rd Edition

Book Description

Understanding and Crafting the Mix, 3rd edition provides the framework to identify, evaluate, and shape your recordings with clear and systematic methods. Featuring numerous exercises, this third edition allows you to develop critical listening and analytical skills to gain greater control over the quality of your recordings. Sample production sequences and descriptions of the recording engineer’s role as composer, conductor, and performer provide you with a clear view of the entire recording process.

Dr. William Moylan takes an inside look into a range of iconic popular music, thus offering insights into making meaningful sound judgments during recording. His unique focus on the aesthetic of recording and mixing will allow you to immediately and artfully apply his expertise while at the mixing desk. A companion website features recorded tracks to use in exercises, reference materials, additional examples of mixes and sound qualities, and mixed tracks.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. List of Figures
  8. List of Tables
  9. List of Exercises to Develop Listening, Evaluation, and Production Skills
  10. Foreword by Rupert Neve
  11. Preface
  12. Acknowledgments
  13. Introduction
    1. Overview of Organization and Materials
    2. Comaprison Website
    3. Establishing an Accurate Playback of Recordings
    4. Summary
  14. Part One Defining the Art of Recording: The Sound Characteristics and the Aesthetic Qualities of Audio Recordings
    1. Chapter 1 The Elements of Sound and Audio Recording
      1. The States of Sound
      2. Physical Dimensions of Sound
      3. Perceived Parameters of Sound
      4. Summary
    2. Chapter 2 The Aesthetic and Artistic Elements of Sound in Audio Recordings
      1. The States of Sound and the Aesthetic/Artistic Elements
      2. Pitch Levels and Relationships
      3. Dynamic Levels and Relationships
      4. Rhythmic Patterns and Rates of Activities
      5. Sound Sources and Sound Quality
      6. Spatial Properties: Stereo and Surround Sound
      7. Conclusion
    3. Chapter 3 The Musical Message and the Listener
      1. The Musical Message
      2. Musical Form and Structure
      3. Musical Materials
      4. The Relationships of Artistic Elements and Musical Materials
      5. Equivalence and the Expression of Musical Ideas
      6. Text as Song Lyrics
      7. The Listener
      8. Conclusion
  15. Part Two Learning to Listen, Beginning to Hear: Acquiring Fundamental Listening Skills and Establishing an Effective Approach to Listening
    1. Chapter 4 Listening and Evaluating Sound for the Aspiring Audio Professional
      1. Why Audio Professionals Need to Evaluate Sound
      2. Talking About Sound
      3. The Listening Process
      4. Personal Development for Listening and Sound Evaluation
      5. Summary
    2. Chapter 5 Fundamental Listening Skills
      1. Introduction
      2. Background Knowledge and Preparation
      3. Self-Discovery and Realization: “What is Sound to You?”
      4. Beginning to Hear the Relationships and Qualities of the Mix
      5. Hearing Subtle Qualities
      6. Conclusion
      7. Exercises
    3. Chapter 6 A System for Evaluating Sound
      1. System Overview
      2. Sound-Evaluation Sequence
      3. Graphing the States and Activity of Sound Components
      4. Plotting Sources against a Timeline
      5. Summary
      6. Exercise
  16. Part Three Understanding the Mix: Developing Listening and Sound-Evaluation Skills
    1. Chapter 7 Evaluating Pitch in Audio and Music Recordings
      1. Analytical Systems
      2. Melodic Contour
      3. Pitch-Area and Frequency-Band Recognition
      4. Exercises
    2. Chapter 8 Evaluating Loudness in Audio and Music Recordings
      1. Reference Levels and the Hierarchy of Dynamics
      2. Program Dynamic Contour
      3. Musical Balance
      4. Performance Intensity versus Musical Balance
      5. Exercises
    3. Chapter 9 Evaluating Sound Quality
      1. Sound Quality in Critical-Listening Contexts
      2. Sound Quality in Analytical-Listening Contexts
      3. Sound Quality and Perspective
      4. Evaluating the Characteristics of Sound Quality and Timbre
      5. Summary
      6. Exercises
    4. Chapter 10 Evaluating the Spatial Elements of Two-Channel Sound
      1. Understanding Space as an Artistic Element
      2. Stereo-Sound Location
      3. Distance Location
      4. Environmental Characteristics
      5. Space Within Space
      6. Exercises
    5. Chapter 11 Evaluating the Spatial Elements of Surround Sound
      1. Format Considerations
      2. Surround’s Sound Stage and the Listener
      3. Sound Location and Imaging
      4. Evaluating Location in Surround Sound
      5. Distance Location
      6. Sound Sources and their Environments
      7. Exercises
    6. Chapter 12 Complete Evaluations and Understanding Observations
      1. Pitch Density and Timbral Balance
      2. The Overall Texture
      3. Relationships of the Individual Sound Sources and the Overall Texture
      4. The Complete Evaluation
      5. Using Graphs for Making Evaluations and in Production Work
      6. Summary
      7. Exercises
  17. Part Four Crafting the Mix: Shaping Music and Sound, and Controlling the Recording Process
    1. Chapter 13 The Roles of the Recordist and the Aesthetics of Recording Production
      1. The Functional Roles of the Recordist
      2. The Artistic Roles of the Recordist
      3. The Recording and Reality: Shaping the Recording Aesthetic
      4. The Recording Aesthetic in Relation to the Performance Event
      5. Altered Realities of Music Performance
      6. Summary
    2. Chapter 14 The Sounds of Recordings: Shaping Musical Ideas and Musical Expression
      1. The Artistic Elements of Sound as Musical Materials
      2. Sound Qualities
      3. Timbral Balance and the Mix
      4. Sound Stage
      5. Environments
      6. Noises, Distortions, and Unwanted Sounds
      7. Musical Balance
    3. Chapter 15 Preproduction and Preliminary Stages: Embracing Reality and Defining the Materials of the Project
      1. Sound Sources as Artistic Resources, and the Choice of Timbres
      2. Microphones: The Aesthetic Decisions of Capturing Timbres
      3. Equipment Selection: Application of Inherent Sound Quality
      4. Monitoring: The Sound Quality of Playback
      5. Summary
      6. Exercises
    4. Chapter 16 Recording and Tracking: Capturing and Shaping the Performance
      1. Approaching the Recording: Tracking and Recording Sessions
      2. In Session: Shifting Focus and Perspective
      3. An Overview of Two Production Sequences
      4. Editing: Rearranging and Suspending Time
      5. Signal Processing: Refining Sounds and Music
      6. Preparing for the Mix
      7. Exercises
    5. Chapter 17 Crafting the Mix, and Finalizing the Production
      1. Mixing to Support the Music and the Text
      2. The Mix: Composing and Performing the Recording
      3. Mastering: The Final Artistic Decisions
      4. The Listener’s Alterations to the Recording
      5. Concluding Remarks
      6. Exercises
  18. Glossary
  19. Bibliography
  20. Discography
  21. Index