"Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" by Mike Senior aims to help small studio owners get professional results. Read the review below for a peek at what it has to offer you.
Your listening environment will determine to a
large extent the quality of the tracks you produce. You probably know by
now that a small studio can make it difficult to achieve professional
mixes. It's exactly this issue that the book will help you resolve.
About the Author...
You may have already come across Mike Senior's "Mix Rescue" in Sound on
The series has helped transform many amateur mixes to
professional standards. Mike has also worked as an engineer with Wet
Wet Wet, Reef, Therapy and Nigel Kennedy.
Mike adapts techniques of top producers in order to help smaller studio engineers achieve commercial-grade mixing results.
About the Book...
"Music Secrets for the Small Studio" is 302 pages long and covers a
variety of aspects involved with mixing in a small studio. The end of
each chapter has a "cut to the chase" section which summarizes the key
points of the chapter. This makes it easy to get the basics at a
Let's take a deeper look at some of the advice he
includes so you know what type of information to expect before you buy a
copy of the book:
On the issues involved with small studio music mixing...
In the beginning of "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" you'll find that Mike provides the insight below...
the most reliable way to waste your time in a small studio is by trying
to mix before you can actually hear what you're doing. Without
dependable information about what's happening to your audio, you're
basically flying blind, and that can get messy"
... and then goes on to say...
"Most people who
approach me because they're unhappy with their mixes think that it's
their processing techniques that are letting them down, but in my
experience the real root of their problems is usually either that their
not able to hear what they need to, or else they haven't worked out how
to listen to what they're hearing"
This is an-often overlooked, yet crucial, point. Your ability to have context and a frame of reference when you listen to material in the studio is a fundamental aspect of your ability to produce consistent professional mixes.
Monitors are obviously an essential part of your ability to hear what you're doing so it makes sense that this is the first area he discusses...
monitors are truly 'neutral', and every professional engineer you ask
will have his or her own taste in this department. Part of the job of
learning to mix is getting accustomed to the way your own particular
Mike advises you get the best monitors you can
afford, mount them well and spend at least as much on acoustic treatment
of your room as you do on your monitors.
On Low-End Damage-Limitation...
The low-end is notoriously difficult to get right in small studios so the section on how to limit the damage in this regard will serve you well.
if the low end of your monitoring leaves much to be desired or you're
forced to work mostly on headphones, all is by no means lost - as long
as you're willing to learn a few special mixing and monitoring
A few tips he gives in this section is to use
workarounds to compensate for poor monitoring, block your speaker ports
and compare the bass response from different listening positions to
"average the room".
You can most likely see by now that the
advice Mike gives in "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" is worth its' weight in gold. A few other
great tips caught my eye...
- Switch between different monitoring
systems to make your decisions, and therefore your results, more
effective. Also, take frequent breaks and vary your monitoring levels.
- Spend time to correct timing and tuning issues because this often is
what differentiates an amateur mix from a professional one. Trust your
ears above your eyes.
I hope the above gives you an idea of what
to expect from "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio". We've only scratched the surface of the wealth of mixing advice you'll find in the book. Here is a partial
list of some of the various topics covered to give you an idea of what you'll discover inside...
- Low-End Damage-Limitation
- Mix Preparation
- Timing & Tuning
- Expansion & Gating
- Distortion as a Mix Tool
- Frequency Selective Dynamics
- The Power of Side-Chains
- Mixing with Reverb
- Mixing with Delays
- Stereo Enhancements
- Buss compression, Automation and Endgame
Who is "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" for?
"Music Secrets for the Small Studio" is a must-read for any beginner producer or engineer working in a small studio of
course. I think beginner music producers will benefit most from this
book although there is also advice that may be useful to intermediate
I suggest you definitely read it should you have less-than-perfect acoustics in your room or you feel you
just want to step up your mixing game and achieve professional results
in your small home recording or music production studio.
This is by far one of the best books on mixing in small or home studios available for music producers like me and you. It's full of practical and to-the-point advice you can take and apply straight away to improve your mixes.
So, order a copy today and get ready for great-sounding mixes!