Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Mixing with pink noise as a reference


  • This topic has 13 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by (Knot Hardly) Jay.
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  • #37392

      I came across this trick on YT by coincidence. The idea behind it is that you start with a track of pink noise on let's say on -12db. Then you bring in every track separately so that you start to hear it slightly harder than the pink noise. I didn't try it yet, but maybe somebody did? What was the result? Did it gave you a good starting point or not at all? Do you have an idea why this does or doesn't work?

      Michael B

        Great question Ann. I'm replying here to sub to answers.
        Tried it but I can't decide when the level is just below the pink noise in a consistent way.
        I here it is better for EDM.

        Tim Waters

          I tried it on a couple mixes and was so surprised by how well it works that I started to incorporate it into my mix process. The way I do it is turn down all the tracks, engage the pink noise, then solo each track and turn it up until i can barely hear it poke through the noise. It's a pretty cool trick that actually works most of the time.


            Interesting! I will certainly try this too! I still wonder why this works. Any ideas?

            Christian Lay

              Hi Ann.
              A really interesting question.
              I'll give it a try, but could imagine the following theory:
              Pink noise energy is perceived by humans as identical in all frequency ranges. If I bring up each track to this energy level, I get as a starting point a mix in which all tracks are perceived almost identical. Maybe that's a good starting point for a mix. I'll give it a try.



                Thank you Christian! I'll do the same.
                That is indeed a very plausible explanation.

                Arthur Labus

                  Just for fun: i will try this method right now on a a very basic "pure" electroniic ambient song.
                  No real recordings. Printed MIDI mostly.
                  Found this to follow and to get the software:

                  Excited how it works ...

                  Arthur Labus

                    IT WORKS !
                    Really useful technique to find the same levels. Great start point for mixing.

                    Christian Lay

                      Hello Ann,

                      So I also tried the pink noise as a reference. Basically, I can well imagine that it works, but for me it is not an alternative. At some point this noise got on my nerves, so I broke off after 15 tracks.
                      But like I said, it works!

                      Best regards,

                      Marc Becker

                        I use this technique when I start a a mix with plenty of tracks to do a quick balancing, just to get an idea what the song is like. Works pretty well for me, but I personally wouldn't use it at a later state of the mix. The therory behind using pink noise is to get everything well balanced because it represents a pleasing level of all frequencies over the spectrum. In fact I often want to promote certain instruments or frequencies later when the mix evolves. Using pink noise to level the tracks at this point would even it out and reverse my decisions. That's not what I want at that stage.

                        face (chris) Janton

                          Logic Pro X. I use "Normalize Region Gain" when first importing tracks, assuming there is no information about how things were recorded.
                          Select all the regions. Choose "per track" processing, set peak to -12 dB, click go. A momentary pause. All the regions of audio are now adjusted to have the maximum peak at -12. I start with my faders at -6 dB, so I have lots of quick access to gain changes.

                          Note - Logic insists on not changing anything if any of the regions are normalized to 0 dB (happens). It's easy to spot - nothing changes on any region. Change the gain on the offending 0 dB track to -1 dB, then redo the region gain change. Non-destructive, fast.

                          Niki Pichler


                            i tried it and i really don't like this method. it is surely not my taste or sense of mixing but nice if it works for you.

                            to set the levels, first i volume adjust every track with an plugin so my fader don't have to move so every track is around -18dBfs and not peaking higher than around -10dB. then i put all faders down and start with the most important tracks and balance everything against the more important ones (normally i loop the last chorus (or section with the most tracks) putting up in that order: vocals, kick, bass, snare, rest of the drums, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, sound effects; then i start mixing.

                            it's counter intuitive that i want to have every track on the same powerlevel as it just creates a mess. you want to feature the most important parts and give other parts the supportive role.

                            so that's why it doesn't work for me ^^

                            cheers, Niki

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