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The Mixing Stage of Music Production

Anthony Lee Winns Jr

A longtime technology professional, Anthony Lee Winns Jr. has taken on responsibilities such as systems administrator and IT project manager over the years. Among Anthony Lee Winns Jr.’s personal interests are sports and the production of music. With the vast majority of music being produced digitally, diverse aspects of producing professional quality songs can now be undertaken on a laptop.

Two often confused steps in the production process are mastering and mixing. Mixing, which occurs first, involves combining various individual tracks into a single stereo audio file. This requires organizing and labeling tracks within the song and normalizing them to ensure that similar volume levels are present, with no peaks on individual tracks.

EQ, or equalization, is then employed to ensure that each instrument is presented with the best possible tonal qualities in place. An overarching goal is to place each instrument in its own frequency area, clearly distinguishable from the whole. Panning uses the same concept in achieving a sound that is wide and full, with other processors such as reverb, delay, and compression added as desired. Automation is used for fades and other effects, with these various aspects of sound manipulated until the perfect balance is reached.

Mastering, on the other hand, involves taking mixed songs and creating a unified feel throughout an entire album, which may have a sequence of tracks that vary in tempo, instrumentation, intensity, and style.

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