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Garnish Music Production School in London

MUSPR 371 | Studio Sound Mixing

Unit Title: Studio Sound Mixing

Credit Value: 15

Context

Mixing is an area of employment within production. An understanding of the subject is also necessary for individuals involved within the production of media (involving audio). In postproduction sound, mixing is essential in conveying the message of music, film and gaming; a bad mix can constrict the potential of a good song, film or game.

Aims/Purpose

This unit has 1 aim:

The aim of this unit is to develop the learner’s ability at mixing multi-track recordings in two different styles.

The purpose of this unit is to: create two different mixes, which are a convincing example of the style as compared to professional recordings in that style.

Skills Development

Learning in this area will support the development of the following specialist and transferable skills:

Specialist Knowledge and Skills

Use of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)/Console Specialist planning for mixing

Mixing theory (depth, frequency, level, and stereo field) Basic physics of sound

Use of effects

Use of equalisation

Use of dynamic processors Editing

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

Independent Enquirers

Learners will explore the concepts of mixing and plan their project. Throughout this process questions and problems will be identified.

Creative Thinkers

Through enquiry learners will establish a different way of approach mixing and the development of their skills.

Reflective Learners

Through assessment of themselves and their peers, learners will develop their mixing skills. Through the planning process learners will set goals for their mix and their development.

Team Workers

Work collaboratively exploring the concepts of mixing. Develop mixing skills through peer feedback and through sharing own development with peers.

Self-Managers

Learners will be self-motivated to explore the concepts of mixing, researching topics further and developing project in own time.

Effective Participators

Through assessment of themselves and peers, learners will identify areas for improvement within their mixing project and development. Learners will recognise solutions and improvements within their mixing project and that of their peers.

Functional Skills @ Level 2

English: 1.1,1.2,1.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6

ICT: 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1,

Employability Skills

Presentation

Action planning

Decision making

Problem solving

Time management

Commercial awareness

Comms (verbal)

Comms (non-verbal)

Language

Striving for excellence

Motivation

Creative thinking

Own skills awareness

Study Skills

Critical thinking skills and analysis

Synthesising information

Time management

Research skills

IT skills

Problem solving

Contextual awareness

Listening and note taking

Presentation and discourse

Language use, grammar etc.

Assimilating information

Learning Outcomes

The learner will be able to:

1. Demonstrate how to manage a studio mixing session using audio mixing skills and recognise personal development.

Unit Content

Planning a Mix

Reference Tracks and their purpose

Creation of a Plan (using existing industry plans as examples)

Principles of Mixing

Frequency

Level

Stereo

Depth

Mixing Domain

Analogue / Digital

Process within Mixing

Organisation (Labelling Tracks, Colour Coding) Editing (Strip Silence)

Referencing the mixes in different environments and through different equipment.

Tools of Mixing

Meters & Monitoring

Dynamic Processors

Equalisation

Automation

Effects (Reverb, Delay, Distortion, Exciters, Stereo Spread)

Routing

Bussing (Sub mixes)

Send Effects

Effects Chaining

Mastering

Basic Concepts (Dynamic effects)

Suggested Delivery Ideas

Tutor demonstration of the key concepts of mixing is essential, this should include elements such as demonstrating the use of effects, strip silence and general use of s digital audio workstation when mixing. Tutors are encouraged to use interactive delivery incorporating activities to keep learners engaged when delivering contextual information.

Referencing the concepts being delivered audibly and visually will benefit the learners, for example, when demonstrating the use of an effect it should be shown on screen and through loudspeakers.

Suggested Activity Ideas

It is encouraged to use collaborative learning through group work; this can be achieved using headphone splitters to carry out technical mixing tasks or through collective critical listening and discussion surrounding a mix. Peer assessment and feedback should take place within this activity.

Learners should be encouraged to assess a mix based on a tutor written criteria picking out technical process using critical listening skills.

Complete worksheets based on the concepts of mixing. An example of this would be a circle with stereo field at east (right) and west (left) and level at north (high in the mix) and south (low in the mix), learners are to place instruments within the circle accordingly for the track they are critically analysing.

The ability to explore a DAW project that is already mixed would give the learners to opportunity to explore the project visually and audibly, using tools such as solo and effect bypassing.

Learners should be encouraged to undertake a mix prior to undertaken assessment this will allow for peer and tutor feedback informing of any developments that could be implemented for summative assessment.Self-assessment and evaluation is encouraged throughout the mixing process as this will inform decisions throughout the process.

Summative Assessment Methods

Learners should produce a mixing plan for each mix defining aims and objectives for their mix that draws from reference tracks, containing a track plan outline micro mixing ideas. A project file/mixing console should be prepared for a mix with correct labelling and file management and structure. (1.1)

Learners should complete two mixes from different genres incorporating the technical skills stipulated by the assessment criteria. (1.2)

It is recommended that learners complete a comparison for both mixes on different players making comparisons against their relevant reference tracks. (1.3)

Learners should evaluate their project, through assessment of their strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing. (1.4)

Recommended Evidence

Mixing plan template (for use in industry)

A completed mix plan for each mix

A dry mix project (DAW) or Pictures of Desk (Mixing Console)

Project file & MP3 of completed mixes

A written report (1.3 & 1.4)

Links to other areas of the MUSPRA qualifications

Knowledge and skills developed in this area may be utilised to underpin activities relating to:

Understanding Recording Techniques

Studio Sound Recording

Music Sequencing & Production

Music Sequencing & Production (Media)

Using Multi-Effects

Links to National Occupational Standards

This unit is derived from elements of the following NOS for Music Practitioners:

Map to the NOS for Music Composers, Performers and Music Technologists

Grading Criteria

Unclassified

A learner not on course to achieve this unit might evidence a significant number of the following:

1.Show little or no organisational skills by preparing for the mixing session they may give little or inadequate evidence of one or more of the following: creation of a mixing/production rationale to decide aims and outcomes with a comparison to professionally produced reference tracks in the given genres; appropriate file management structure/path; creation of a track sheet/plan; correct labelling of desk and/or digital audio workstation tracks.?

This may demonstrate little or no studio skills with a lack of basic underpinning knowledge.

2.Be unable to effectively create mixes from two multi-track recordings to a basic standard (from contrasting genres) which may not meet one or more of the following requirements: the mixes must last a minimum of two minutes each; there must be at least twelve tracks in each to be mixed; instruments must have been recorded in stages and to a click track where ?appropriate; assessment of further

alternative takes and their use where applicable; use of corrective and creative EQ; use of dynamic effects as appropriate; use of a variety of effects (hardware or software) to include a send and return signal ?path; use of pan to create a stereo field across all tracks; use of sub-groups where appropriate; create stereo mix-downs of both mixes employing correct gain structure; use of dynamic effects on the master output for demo purposes.

This may display a lack of competent mixing skills and genre awareness of both tracks. The student might demonstrate inadequate DAW skills (if appropriate) and show little or no abilities at using both EQ and effects.

3.Be unable to give an adequate evaluation of the two mixes using different players (e.g. hi fi, car stereo, MP3 player) which demonstrate competent abilities to reference the mixes, citing simple comparisons to the reference tracks in 1.1

4.Give little or no assessment of strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing.

Pass

To achieve a pass, all learners must:

1.Display competent organisational skills by preparing for the mixing session by giving a basic explanation and a production of the following: creation of a mixing/production rationale to decide aims and outcomes with a comparison to professionally produced reference tracks in the given genres; appropriate file management structure/path; creation of a track sheet/plan; correct labelling of desk and/or digital audio workstation tracks.?

This should demonstrate competent studio skills with a basic underpinning knowledge basis. The evidence should be clearly laid out with a basic quality track plan sheet.

2.Create mixes from two multi-track recordings to a basic standard (from contrasting genres) which meets the following requirements: the mixes must last a minimum of two minutes each; there must be at least twelve tracks in each to be mixed; instruments must have been recorded in stages and to a click track where appropriate; assessment of further alternative takes and their use where applicable; use of corrective and creative EQ; use of dynamic effects as appropriate; use of a variety of effects (hardware or software) to include a send and return signal path; use of pan to create a stereo field across all tracks; use of sub-groups where appropriate; create stereomix-downs of both mixes employing correct gain structure; use of dynamic effects on the master output for demo purposes.?This should display competent mixing skills coupled with some elemental genre awareness of both tracks. The tracks should be similar to examples of the chosen genre and be working at a competent standard. The student might demonstrate basic DAW skills (if appropriate) and show elemental abilities at using both EQ and effects. There should be a basic level of mixing, balancing and stereo field panning.

3.Give a basic evaluation of the two mixes using different players (e.g. hi-fi, car stereo, MP3 player) which demonstrate competent abilities to reference the mixes, citing simple comparisons to the reference tracks in 1.1

4.Give a basic assessment of strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing.

Merit

To achieve a merit, learners should:

1.Display proficient organisational skills by preparing for the mixing session by giving a detailed explanation and a production of the following: creation of a mixing/production rationale to decide aims and outcomes with a comparison to professionally produced reference tracks in the given genres; appropriate file management structure/path; creation of a track sheet/plan; correct labelling of desk and/or digital audio workstation tracks. This should demonstrate proficient studio skills with a good underpinning knowledge base. The evidence should be clearly laid out with a good quality track plan sheet.

2.Create mixes from two multi-track recordings to a good standard (from contrasting genres) which meets the following requirements: the mixes must last a minimum of two minutes each; there must be at least twelve tracks in each to be mixed; instruments must have been recorded in stages and to a click track where appropriate; assessment of further alternative takes and their use where applicable; use of corrective and creative EQ; use of dynamic effects as appropriate; use of a variety of effects (hardware or software) to include a send and return signal ?path; use of pan to create a stereo field across all tracks; use of sub-groups where appropriate; create stereo mix-downs of both mixes employing correct gain structure; use of dynamic effects on the master output for demo purposes.?

This should display proficient mixing skills coupled with a broad genre awareness of both tracks. The tracks should be convincing examples of the chosen genre and be working at a good standard. The student should demonstrate good DAW skills (if appropriate) and show substantial abilities at using both EQ and effects. There should be a good level of mixing, balancing and stereo field panning.

3.Give an effective evaluation of the two mixes using different players (e.g. hi-fi, car stereo, MP3 player) which demonstrate good abilities to reference the mixes, citing accurate comparisons to the reference tracks in 1.1

4.Give a detailed assessment of strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing offering some solutions for areas of development.

Distinction

To achieve a distinction, learners should:

1.Display excellent organisational skills by preparing for the mixing session by giving a detailed explanation and a production of the following: creation of a mixing/production rationale to decide aims and outcomes with a comparison to professionally produced reference tracks in the given genres; appropriate file management structure/path; creation of a track sheet/plan; correct labelling of desk and/or digital audio workstation tracks.?

This should demonstrate excellent studio skills with an excellent underpinning knowledge base. The evidence should be clearly and accurately laid out with a professional track plan sheet.

2.Create mixes from two multi-track recordings to an excellent standard (from contrasting genres) which meets the following requirements: the mixes must last a minimum of two minutes each; there must be at least twelve tracks in each to be mixed; instruments must have been recorded in stages and to a click track where appropriate; assessment of further alternative takes and their use where applicable; use of corrective and creative EQ; use of dynamic effects as appropriate; use of a variety of effects (hardware or software) to include a send and return signal path; use of pan to create a stereo field across all tracks; use of sub-groups where appropriate; create stereo mix-downs of both mixes employing correct gain structure; use of dynamic effects on the master output for demo purposes.?

This should display excellent mixing skills, coupled with a comprehensive genre awareness of both tracks. The tracks should be highly convincing examples of the chosen genre and be working towards a professional standard. The student should demonstrate excellent DAW skills (if appropriate) and show excellent abilities at using both EQ and effects. There should be an excellent level of mixing, balancing and stereo field panning.

3.Give a detailed and effective evaluation of the two mixes using different players(e.g. hi-fi, car stereo, MP3 player) which demonstrate an excellent ability to reference the mixes, citing accurate comparisons to the reference tracks in 1.1

4.Give a highly detailed assessment of strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing offering viable and reasonable solutions for areas of development.

MUSPR 371 Studio Sound Mixing

Credit Value 15

QCF Level 3

Assessment Framework

Learning Outcomes

Through completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

1. Demonstrate how to manage a studio mixing session using audio mixing skills and recognise personal development.

Assessment Requirements

The learner can:

1.1Prepare for the mixing session by:

a.creation of a mixing/production rationale to decide aims and outcomes with a comparison to professionally produced reference tracks in the given genres;

b.appropriate file management structure/path;

c.creation of a track sheet/plan;

d.correct labelling of desk and/or digital audio workstation tracks.

1.2Create mixes from two multi-track recordings (from contrasting genres) which meet the following requirements:

a.the mixes must last a minimum of two minutes each;

b.there must be at least twelve tracks in each to be mixed;

c.instruments must have been recorded in stages and to a click track where appropriate;

d.assessment of further alternative takes and their use where applicable;

e.use of corrective and creative EQ;?

f.use of dynamic effects as appropriate;

g.use of a variety of effects (hardware or software) to include a send and return signal path;

h.use of pan to create a stereo field across all tracks;

i.use of sub-groups where appropriate;

j.create stereo mix-downs of both mixes employing correct gain structure;

k.use of dynamic effects on the master output for demo purposes.

1.3Evaluate the two mixes using different players (e.g. hi fi, car stereo, MP3 player) comparing them to the reference tracks in 1.1

1.4Assess areas strengths and areas for development in the role of studio sound mixing.