Merlyn Silva

About

Lover of all things coffee and music related. Long-serving master of extraction. Ableton addict. Likes to score soundtracks for dance, theatre and media. Also likes making smokey, dubbed-out, psychedelic, smooth and warm tunes in various guises of style. Just moved to Århus, Denmark, where I may be the only vegitarian in a square mile. Its nice but the street signs are a nightmare.

Following

Mono-a-go-go

I’ve had a bit of a eureka moment producing today, and figured it was worth a share as its totally sped up my workflow. And if, like me, you mostly produce using headphones, hopefuly it’ll be of use…

Monitoring in mono. One of those things I’ve always known was important, and why, but not really understanding what I was supposed to be doing, I kinda overlooked it.

I’ve been half-finishing a load of tracks of late, and getting really frustrated that the more complex things get, even with some hardcore EQ work, the more muddy the overall mix is and the quicker the old ear fatigue monster sets in. I love my stereo width, I do, but when it comes to mixdown everything just kinda gets lost in the midrange, and when I reference in mono, its a disaster.

The problem? Phase cancellation. I already knew this, but had no solution. Until this morning. Starting on a fresh track, I slapped a Utility device with the width set to 0% on the master bus in Live. Working from the drums up, I monitered every new layer in mono, and added stereo spread, in mono. Which sounds whacky, but also makes sense when you think about it. Widening until just before the sound quality starts to deteriorate, I was constantly overjoyed at how HUGE the track sounded when I switched back to stereo.

Now I know best practice is to not mix when your composing, but I’ve resigned to the fact that I can’t help it - unless ideas sound slamming, I’m never impulsed to follow them through until the mixdown. So with this little technique and a bit of discipline, I’ve nearly hammered a track out in a few hours that has the space I need to paint in the finer details at the end… plus, not having my brain blasted with conflicting audio information for hours, the ear fatigue’s taken a lot longer to set in and things still sound fresh!

Definitely reccomend giving it a go… I’ll post the track in question in the week.

Much love, M