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138 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best resource on mixing, hands down.
I've been mixing my own music for nearly 30 years now, when I got my first cassette four-track! I've read so many books and manuals on recording, mixing, mastering, etc. I subscribe to Sound On Sound, Tape Op, etc for several years. I have been posting on Gearslutz (music production forum) for a decade now...

I feel like this one book could replace all...
Published on March 15, 2011 by Benji Socket

versus
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would try elsewhere if you're new to mixing and recording..
Although the book is full of information about mixing and sound design concepts, I felt the book turned a blind eye to simplicity. The book's title is MIXING SECRETS, which led me to believe it was more to the point. I fell asleep several times trying to read this (yes, it has happened on other books as well), then just started going to the "Cut to the Chase sections", as...
Published 22 months ago by Robert S.D.


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138 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best resource on mixing, hands down., March 15, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
I've been mixing my own music for nearly 30 years now, when I got my first cassette four-track! I've read so many books and manuals on recording, mixing, mastering, etc. I subscribe to Sound On Sound, Tape Op, etc for several years. I have been posting on Gearslutz (music production forum) for a decade now...

I feel like this one book could replace all that.

Serious.

Every page is packed with amazing tips and tricks. Which makes sense considering this the man behind Mix Rescue in SOS. He gets so many problems thrown at them and he solves them in very elegant, practical ways. He is a professional audio problem-solver! Quite often I'll listen to the before and after mixes at Mix Rescue and think the 'before' sounds perfectly acceptable. Then I'll hear Mike Senior's mix and he's elevated it to a love of professionalism that just sounds classy.

I'm used to reading pretty dry manuals and reference books. This one is written in a very down-to-earth, readable style with a sense of humor as well.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who mixes professionally or casually.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have!, April 6, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
Worth every penny. I have Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools by Roy Izhaki as well as The Mixing Engineer's Handbook, Second Edition. If you are mixing at home with a computer, Senior's book is all you need. I would buy Izhaki's book if you have the spare cash. Izhaki's book is more detailed and less aimed at the home studio but it is a mixing knowledge treasure trove. If you have both books you're pretty well equipped to put out a good mix.

If you're serious about mixing buy "Mixing Secrets."

If you are interested in mastering your own music you can take a look at Mastering Music at Home (Book). This book lets in you in on techniques to master your music using professional recordings as a reference. Mastering Audio, Second Edition: The art and the science is good to have but not essential IMHO.

The "pro's" will tell you not to mix and master your own music. Well, who has the money to hire a mixer and pay for a professional mastering job? I know there are online mastering services that will master your tracks for $50 a pop. I doubt they'll do a better job than I will at home.

The modern digital musician has to be self-sufficient. We can't wait around for record contracts to give us the money and tools we need to release our music.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to buy if you really want to understand how to make great recordings., March 25, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
About Mike Senior: Mike Senior has written many articles in Sound on Sound magazine, including the famous Mix Rescue articles (go to [...] for more great articles from Mike). I have always been very impressed with his knowledge of the audio world, so I expected a lot from this book, thankfully I was not disappointed.

If I was going to sum up the book in one word, it would be this - Brilliant! This book is for the home studio owner who is starting out, who has some studio experience, and those like me who have over 20 years experience when not working my day job. I have read recording books before that talked about the basics and though helpful, they lacked meat. In the Mixing Secrets book, thankfully we don't have that problem. He talks about near field monitors, clears up a lot of misconceptions we hear on the recording forums, gets into building the raw balance, compression, and EQ. He does not just explain what compression and EQ is, but how to use them properly. He also discusses side chains, reverb, and stereo enhancements. He even offers you more information on his web site [...].

The next question you ask is, how is his writing style, is this a dry book that is hard to follow? The answer is no. I think with having written so many articles in Sound on Sound magazine, has helped him develop a style that keeps your attention and leaving you with wanting more. Another great feature is each chapter ends with a summary section (Cut to the chase) and even an assignment.

Is there anything I did not like in the book? No not really. It would have been nice to have color photos in the book (which cost more for the pub company), but the blue highlights help the book look better than just the black wording. The cover has some material on the paper to help it hold up after many hours of serious reading. Though the books is excellent, it will not answer all your questions about recording (what book does?). Sound on Sound web site has a search feature for specific information on things like recording acoustic guitars that you might also find helpful.

If you buy this book and Bob Katz Mastering Audio 2nd edition, you pretty much have everything covered.

Real Life Application: So far the book has helped my drum mixes sound better, and I have a deeper understanding on using reverb, EQ and compression. So many on the audio forums ask, what is better Product A or Product B? Then they go on for pages and argue which piece of gear is better. By reading this book, you will learn the big question it not what gear is better, but are you getting the best sound you can with your current equipment. (He does get into quality of gear as well) With full time jobs, many home studio owners don't have enough time or knowledge to make great recordings. They tend to just buy higher end gear that they think will make their recordings better. To some extent the higher end gear can help, like upgrading your sub $1,500 or less monitors with Focal Twins or PMC TBII's. However understanding the Mixing Secrets explained in this book will help you out even more. A simple thing like using good acoustic panels and bass traps in your studio will make much more of an improvement than replacing your Audio Technica 4033 with a Neumann U87i microphone.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would try elsewhere if you're new to mixing and recording.., December 26, 2012
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
Although the book is full of information about mixing and sound design concepts, I felt the book turned a blind eye to simplicity. The book's title is MIXING SECRETS, which led me to believe it was more to the point. I fell asleep several times trying to read this (yes, it has happened on other books as well), then just started going to the "Cut to the Chase sections", as they were quite a bit easier, useful to read and the saving grace to this book.

The more I know about audio, the more the book makes sense in a formal way.... which is counter to what I was hoping for. I suppose the publisher was trying to fit this title (home studio) into a broader collection of similar books, thus the title, even though it doesn't represent the books overall vibe. It should have been titles "Become a Sound Guru".

The author seemed to be too knowable on the subject and wrote the book for his colleagues, rather then a new mixing hopeful. This book rarely excites and will not give you the "Mixing secrets / Hot tips" that you may be hoping for; such as "This is how you mix a Vocal for a Ballad without walking all over it", or this is how you "Create a thumping dance sound using compression", "How to Mix a Bass Guitar, etc...... honestly, since there is so much in the book regarding design, that the information may be in the book somewhere or everywhere, I just didn't see it.

I am writing this review as I look for another book that is frankly more dumb down and more to the point, then this text book on mixing. To his credit I felt very comfortable regarding the accuracy of the authors points and teaching. I found him on Sound on Sound as their mix master guru, such is why I bought the book. I've read it 70 percent through word for word and skimmed the summaries twice, and have retained one mixing secret = to get good monitors! The rest of the advice was far too PC and didn't actually say, this is how you get "this sound", etc...

"Cut to the Chase" = If you want knowledge on concept and why sound does what it does, as well as many or all your technical questions answered in a VERY technical way, then buy this book now! However, if you're a solo artist looking for advice on mixing your own music in your home studio, then this book will only confuse. It is like going to your band's nerd sound guy and asking how to get a better mix and he begins to answer with the question "what is sound?"

EDIT: I found the beginners book on Mixing for the Home Studio solo artist. It's call The Producer's Manual - by Paul White ...

The two books may compliment each other
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I didn't know that!", July 4, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
I've been recording my own music for a long time, at home and in studios both professional and otherwise. It was always fun...until it got to the mixing. Even professional engineers got it wrong sometimes. Why? Not because they didn't know what they were doing, but because I didn't. Reverb? Sure. Uh, what kind? Blend, size, tone, sustain, or spread? Artificial or convolution? You can use some, all, or none. ("I didn't know that!") Delay? Sure. Uh, what kind? Blend, size, etc., etc.... ("I didn't know that!") Balancing? Room treatments? Monitoring? I'd go into the million-dollar studios and they've got these teeny, cheesy, awful-sounding speakers right on top of the console. Right where everybody can see! Do I want to hear my mix through those...things?! Hell, no, put it through those $50K jobs I see up on the wall! Auratones! What the hell's going on with that? (..."Oh! I didn't know that!")

In fact, just about every page of this relatively (300 pages of text) modest tome demanded that I stop reading, go into my studio, and find out just what the heck this guy is talking about. ("So that's what a gate's for. I didn't know that!")

And this is WAY before you get to the incredible -- and usually unique -- solutions detailed in every Mix Rescue on his SoundOnSound magazine page. (A massive archive that stands on its own, I might add.)

Watch out, though. Mike is a big fan of freeware -- and there's a LOT of it out there. (I counted almost 100 compressors in my VST folder last week -- most of them free or nearly so. Mike uses a lot of them. And that's just compressors. I say again: there's a LOT of stuff out there, most of which you don't even have to look very hard for. EQ's, delays, reverbs, synths (a LOT of synths). Again, free. Then you get to the audio mangling. (Mike is not above this, either: Glitch Girl? Say no more.... Except there's 20 other free plugins on this page. What does this one do?....) Mind you, some of these referenced apps are dated (incompatible with Windows 7) or currently unavailable, but for every one of these, ten more are filling the niche it vacated.

The material presented here is informative, as well as informed by Mike's not-so-dry British wit (my favorite: "Now, as everybody knows, the best processing for slap bass is that button labelled 'Mute'"...).

I have lived a long and happy life filled with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But before I started reading Mike Senior's book, it had never contained so many consecutive 4 a.m. bedtimes.

Excuse me, I have to stop writing now. I have to check something in my studio....
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You WILL Get Something Out Of This, August 9, 2011
This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
If your looking to go to the next level with your home recording, this is THE book for you. I guarantee you'll get something out of it. The author covers everything from monitor speakers to individual DAW plug-ins (and everything in between).

I would have given this book 5 stars but I didn't because it was like "drinking from a firehose" at times. I wish I could have picked 4.5 stars. In my opinion, there is so much information in this book that it makes it almost discouraging to read. If you understand everything he's talking about, odds are you already ARE a mixing professional (or close to it). I understand that the author wants to help you produce recordings that are comparable to large studios, but man, sometimes my head just started to spin.

This thing is jam-packed with ideas and suggestions. I was immediately able to clean up some of the low end of my recordings by using a high-pass filter on my tracks. It seems obvious when you think about it, but it just never crossed my mind. I've struggled with that issue for a while and now I know how to fix it. That's just one example, there are a TON more.

I'd buy it again but probably drink a 64oz redbull before starting the read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Book..., April 11, 2011
This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
I am not yet completely through this book,but would like to offer that the author has created a very good reference book for mixing.

One thing that has "hit home" for me is Mike's refreshing reminder of room acoustics and monitoring options. The online chapter reference tone sweep has my home studio going through some bass trap changes this month. (Each chapter in the book references a website that helps the listener understand concepts). This online/addedum trend is welcome in my opinion (another good example is Roey Izhaki's "Mixing Audio" -it comes with dvds with reference audio).

This book is a reminder that mixing is an art, a craft, and it is a technical process. Time spent mixing improves the process...

How many times have you found yourself online trying to find a book that informs you how to mix and have your songs sound like Arcade Fire, Black Eyed Peas or whoever?

There is no book like that (we would all own it and our mixes would sound great...) But, with time, proper approach,and this book (again added to others in your library) mixing will get better. I know my mixes have improved (even after 20+ years. I also know that this book refines my developing approach. Thanks to Mike Senior. A "must" buy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio A+, December 5, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
This book is hands down the most valuable tool I have in my studio at the moment. It is packed with information! Everything is clearly laid out and very reader friendly. This book is a gem and is my first recommendation for anyone interested in producing their own music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the Process, February 23, 2013
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets (Kindle Edition)
"Mixing Secrets" is a wonderfully written book, both for the straight-up beginner as well as for those who have some working knowledge of audio engineering. Mike Senior untangles the seemingly chaotic workflow of the top mix engineers and outlines the processes that, with practice, will lead to higher quality mixes.

The reader is lead through the process of identifying problems and various approaches to solving problems starting with the most basic to more advanced tools and techniques. Along with explaining how to identify the problem and techniques that might be used to solve the problem, the author provides lists of cost effective plugins that may not be bundled with your DAW software. Each section of the book ends with a task list and summary of the decision making process behind each task.

I have read through this book more than once now and I also have been using it as a reference while I am working on projects. I would highly recommend taking notes and creating an outline of the tasks presented for your own quick reference. I have been both a hobbyist and, at times, a paid professional in the audio business over the course of 15 years and have found "Mixing Secrets" to be a very valuable resource. It has both validated some of my instincts and illuminated glaring issues and abuses I have developed over the years.

This is not a reference for aural physics, acoustics, or tracking. If you looking for a such a book, look elsewhere. "Mixing Secrets" is a very easily understood presentation of the goals of mixing and the processes by which to meet those goals. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, April 21, 2011
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This review is from: Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio (Paperback)
This book is a fantastic resource that I expect will dramatically improve my mixing abilities. What more could you ask for than that?

I've now read the book from cover to cover. I plan to read it a second time, working through each chapter's lessons, and then I'm sure it will become a fairly constant reference in my studio after that.

I don't think the book is necessarily for everyone, which works out great for people like me. I think a complete novice would probably struggle with this dense book, while a pro can write their own (though I suspect that they would still learn from this book, just as the author - and his readers - profit by his many interviews with top mixing engineers). But if you're situated somewhere in-between rookie and pro, this book is pitched perfectly for your needs. That's me, and I've read a lot of books on the subject, but none this good.

What I most appreciate about the book is that it is strategic, methodical, rigorous, and straightforward.

By strategic, I mean that the author has a vision to which all the advice of the book is oriented: producing commercial grade audio mixes. Yes, there are lots of tactical tips sprinkled throughout the text, and they're quite helpful, but these are always in service to the greater goal. This is not a 'mixing tips' book, per se - it's something much better than that, a mixing strategy book.

The book is also very methodical in its approach. The author walks you through the process from beginning to end, explaining what is important and what is less so, showing how each step needs to build on prior work, and helping readers understand why his procedural order makes more sense than whatever method (or none at all) people might be employing on their own.

The author's approach is rigorous as well. Mike Senior clearly takes the art and science of mixing seriously, and he encourages his readers to do the same. He doesn't pull punches in telling us the scale of effort required to mix at the level to which he's trying to get his readers. I appreciated those benchmarks. They help give me a sense of what is required, and inspire me to go the extra distance in order to get there.

Finally, the book is straightforward in the sense that Mr. Senior seems to be free of faddish biases or particular hardware/software fetishes. He's not selling anything other than better mixes. He is simply devoted to telling his readers what works.

And, as an extra added bonus, he does so with humor. And some days, when it's just you and that recalcitrant song mix punching each other silly in the arena, you need that!

But here's the most amazing thing of all. Mike includes his email address in the book. So I thought, what the heck, and I emailed him some questions. He responded promptly and thoroughly. That's really amazing. It's like having a company provide great customer support for their complicated product - only it's not hardware or software, it's a book! His willingness to support those of us in the field (see his website, Cambridge Music Technology) demonstrates a real love for the art itself combined with a rare generosity of spirit. Massive kudos for that!

In short, here's the bottom line: If much improved mixing is your aspiration, and if you're serious about it, buy this book pronto.
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Mixing Secrets for  the Small Studio
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior (Paperback - February 25, 2011)
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