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Aural or Visual mixing?

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Original Topic @ post #18

Windows? Why would we want to see anything? It's audio engineering. We listen. How visual does one need to be?

... I jest ... :tomatoface:

But I wonder if anyone else notices the increase in visual mixers / engineers verse the decrease in aural?

Is it a surprise that people gravitate towards quantitative mixing techniques over qualitative ones? Which concept is easier to grasp and implement? This sound needs a touch more "air", or this sound needs a 1dB boost at 3kHz?

It is a wonder, at least to me.

Does anyone turn off their screen when listening to their mix? If some software DAW told you this, this, and this about your mix, would you have, could you have, HEARD it without the software?

I use to bother talent when I would mix in ProTools on the ICON control surface WITHOUT the screen. I'm not saying that this- no monitor on ICON, is praise worthy but I am a full wonder on who is aural and who is visual. How much of a crutch is your DAW for you... in that respect?

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I couldn't ever imagine doing everything by ear with the tools that we have today. It's possible, and in some cases useful, but in general I'd call it counterproductive. If you have a ring in a snare that you want to enhance, you can immediately look at a spectrum analyzer, find the primary tone then push the EQ up a few dB on that AND the other harmonics. Sure you could sweep an EQ peak to find the prime tone then do some quick math to figure out where the harmonics are, but why when there is a tool that specifically shows you this in precise detail?

How do you know it you have excess energy in the sub-40Hz range if the monitors you have don't respond in that range? Either buy better monitors or just look at your freq spectrum and see.

Why isn't your track as phat as zircon's? Look at the waveform and you can see that his track is more compressed than yours. Looking at waveforms is especially useful for beginners who don't know what compression really is. It's hard to hear the effects of compression attack, release and threshold. It's extremely easy to see them.

Why does my master of the same mix sound more mid-heavy than someone else's? Look at a freq spectrum and see that you have a hump at 2k that could be scaled back. Going further, Why doesn't my pop track sound as EQ-balanced as Rhianna's newest song? Well, since the majority of pop music follows the 3dB falloff per octave rule, visually check your freq spectrum and see where you're not in line with that. Bet your mix will sound "better" after you've EQ'd to that falloff rate. I doubt anyone without lots of training could do that by ear.

There are plenty of times when the ear, and the ear alone, is your best tool, but I hope more applications continue to emphasize both visual and aural feedback. A great example is something like Logic's linear phase EQ where you can overlay the freq spectrum to hear AND see what you're doing. It's a win-win!

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I honestly think both aspects of mixing are equally important. Its important to make sure the waveform reflects what you are hearing through your monitors, but its equally important to make sure that the same waveform actually sounds good. There are times when I mix and don't have the sound on and theres times when i mix and turn my monitor off to actually have a listen to whats going on. The latter is especially good to keep your mind off of the structure you know is there and to just hear the music as just music.

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Beautiful replies.

I agree Harmony Win-Win. When I first went into studios to work old timers would give me shit for using my eyes "too much," so I spent like 6 months trying to learn how to to aural mix only. If you start Aural and rely on Visual for the fine tuning I think that you get the most ideal sound for yourself.

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