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Thread: Turn Levels Down When Mixing

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    Turn Levels Down When Mixing

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    I had a question about why people turn their faders down all the way when mixing? I usually just use the knobs on fl studio to get the levels where I want them.
    What is the reason for turning down all the levels before you mix, and then mixing? Does this have something to do with headroom with vocals or something?

    Any help appreciated

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    Quote Originally Posted by caycay View Post
    I had a question about why people turn their faders down all the way when mixing? I usually just use the knobs on fl studio to get the levels where I want them.
    What is the reason for turning down all the levels before you mix, and then mixing? Does this have something to do with headroom with vocals or something?

    Any help appreciated
    Hi there Caycay,

    I couple questions for you:
    -are you referring to people turning all faders to -inf (zero) and then returning faders back up one by one for balancing the levels of a mix?
    -unfortunately i am not familiar with Fl studio, when you say you use the knobs to get levels where u want what specific are you doing/what knobs are you using in Fl studio? do you mean you have a process different than my previous question (about balancing faders one by one from zero)?

    beyond this, I could perhaps offer these thoughts at this moment:

    -turning down faders all the way tracks at the beginning, and through out mixing, can be very helpful for gaining an unobstructed sense of perspective on the song and balance of tracks (track levels relative to one another) and most specific: what frequency/dynamic movement/etc content each track adds individually (and relative to one another/collectively).

    I personally like to embrace this stillness at the beginning as it facilitates free movement towards what each track brings to the song's purpose or "emotive meaning"---serving the delivering of musical intention, this minimalism focused one track at a time.

    So back around again: Often engineers reduce faders and build upwards as the sessions unfolds because it helps achieve clarity for most important tracks (for ex.:starting with rhythm tracks, bass, vocals alone, then fold in additional tracks around core tracks) focusing on core balance without less important items unnecessarily obscuring this focus (initially).

    As well, muting/unmuting tracks at any point of a mix can help illustrate what individual tracks are adding to the collective mix for the engineer. For example: muting/unmuting the bass track could be a way of testing what low/mid frequency content the bass track adds to the mix; mute it and see how much low-mid disappears for the entire mix, unmute and specifically listen for what amount of low-mid freq comes back in---this same ex. can work for any aspect of track under the microscope (dyn, amb, harms, etc). This all may seen obvious, but brutal attention to these simple (fundamental) things you can seriously save time on processing as this will guide EQ, comp, etc decisions from the get-go (for ex. not needing to blinding eq tracks or not needing to return to poorly chosen freq work when a track seems unhelpful or overcooked).

    -A concluding stream of thought: I believe I follow your mentioning of headroom: you could perhaps argue starting from low levels does lead to more db room in the end, the vocal being most important for unique audibility given the irreplaceable humanity and emotion unique to voice. Given these ideas, when getting to the nitty-gritty and committing to core balance of song I start with vocals/bass/and main rhythm tracks, most importantly the vocal having volume precedence over all other tracks. here, imo, the voxs needs even balance relative to core tracks, but no other track should overall surpass the vocal volume as things mold and shift via processing/balance (*unless song structure/music narrative was designed to do otherwise)

    I hope this can perhaps stimulate thought

    best,
    -MadHat

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    Quote Originally Posted by caycay View Post
    I had a question about why people turn their faders down all the way when mixing? I usually just use the knobs on fl studio to get the levels where I want them.
    What is the reason for turning down all the levels before you mix, and then mixing? Does this have something to do with headroom with vocals or something?

    Any help appreciated
    If things sound great where they are, I don't see any reason to change anything. If you want to build a completely different mix than what you've already done, you could pull the faders down and start from scratch... that's about the only reason I can think of.

    Concerning headroom, be careful on all of your tracks with it... Sometimes if you're overloading a track or plugin, it may not sound as good as it could otherwise sound... overload it if you want that "overloaded" sound... but don't overload accidentally - that would be bad practice.

    IF IT SOUNDS GOOD. IT "IS" GOOD.

    Good Luck!
    -Todd

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    Quote Originally Posted by MadHat33 View Post
    Hi there Caycay,

    I couple questions for you:
    -are you referring to people turning all faders to -inf (zero) and then returning faders back up one by one for balancing the levels of a mix?
    -unfortunately i am not familiar with Fl studio, when you say you use the knobs to get levels where u want what specific are you doing/what knobs are you using in Fl studio? do you mean you have a process different than my previous question (about balancing faders one by one from zero)?

    beyond this, I could perhaps offer these thoughts at this moment:

    -turning down faders all the way tracks at the beginning, and through out mixing, can be very helpful for gaining an unobstructed sense of perspective on the song and balance of tracks (track levels relative to one another) and most specific: what frequency/dynamic movement/etc content each track adds individually (and relative to one another/collectively).
    Thanks for your response. And yes I do mean turning down the faders til they are inaudible lower than -6 or whatever the lowest fader level is.

    And there are knobs on fl studio that control the volume of each track. For some reason I remebr someone saying not use it and use the actual mixing faders. I don't know why though.

    I like your input on how turning all the levels down can help with seeing how they all fit in though. thanks. I don't turn any of the faders past 0 most times. Might turn the drums up to 1 maybe. I'm just trying to see if I am improving my mix if i'm turning the fader levels down or not?

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