There isn’t just one straight path for every musician, engineer, or producer in the music industry. Aside from making records for artists, think of all the other types of music that’s being produced. There are TV and movie scores, and Broadway soundtracks, just to name a few. Whatever your interests are, I think there’s one topic worthy of conversation: your career path. By the time you move to a major music metropolis like London or NYC, your concept of how to make money has to change. It’s possible you’ve been able to wear many hats before, switching your focus to follow the quick money.
Usually mixing analysis is great, but it is impractical to learn hundreds of mixes thoroughly or carry them around just in case we want to refer to them. It is better to focus on a few selected mixes, learn them inside out, analyze them to the smallest detail of every mixing aspect and have them readily accessible when needed.Some mixing engineers carry a CD compilation with a few reference tracks (mostly their own past mixes) and upon the occasion refer to them. The novice might refer to his reference tracks on a more frequent basis. MP3 players are also used, often with the music stored in a lossless format. When mixing at home or in ones’ studio, some have a specific folder on the hard drive with selected mixes.
Beginnings can be hard when learning something new – most guitar players experienced some frustration before they could change chords quickly enough or produce a clean sound. It is not fun to work on a single verse for a whole day and still be unhappy with the mix at the end. As experience accumulates, it takes less time to choose tools and utilize them to achieve the desired sound. Also, our mixing visions become sharper and we can crystallize them quickly. Altogether, each task takes less time, which leaves more time to elevate the mix or experiment. Needless to say, the ability to work fast is essential for hired mixing engineers, who work under busy schedules and strict deadlines.
Back in 1933, two researchers at Bell Labs, Harvey Fletcher, and W.A. Munson, conducted one of the most significant experiments in psychoacoustics. Their experiment was based on a serious of tests taken by a group of listeners. Each test involved playing a test frequency followed by a reference tone of 1 kHz. The listener simply had to choose which of the two was louder. Successive tests involved either a different test frequency or different levels. Essentially, what Fletcher and Munson tried to conclude is how louder or softer different frequencies had to be in order to be perceived as loud as 1 kHz. They compiled their results and charted a graph known as the Fletcher?Munson Curves.