Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Mixing With Your Mind

  • This topic has 6 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by Jonathan Parker.
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    Nathan Kaye

      Hey PLAPA crew,
      Have any of you read the book "Mixing With Yur Mind" by Michael Stavrou?
      I've heard great things about it, but just wanted to get your thoughts on it.

      I'm almost finshed reading "Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio" by Victor Prieto - It's quite good. Many techniques I've already learnt from Warren, Graham Cochrane & Pensado, but he goes in depth about lots of stuff which always garners useful information.


      • This topic was modified 7 years ago by Nathan Kaye.
      Arthur Labus

        Hi Nathan,

        "Mixing Secrets ..." is also my "Bible" and i am quiet sure that book is by Mike Senior 🙂

        Nathan Kaye

          Hi Authur,
          You're right! It is Mike Senior that wrote "Mixing Secrets..." But in Scribd app it says it is written by Victor!!! I think it must be the distributor/publisher & they made a mistake when uploading the book to Scibd! Haha!

          Have you come across Mike Stavrou's Mixing With Your Mind?
          Apparently it's amazing!


            Mixing With Your Mind - highly recommended, but it's not as straightforward as Senior's book in terms of instruction.

            Stavrou deals with a lot of concepts, some of which require a certain amount of experience to understand fully. For example, he talks about judging the hardness of sounds and microphones. The idea is that you listen to your mics (talk into them using numbers) and judge the hardness of their sound on a scale of 1 to 10. Also, do the same for instruments. The idea is that you want to go in opposites for contrast. A soft mic on a soft sound will give you mush, whereas a hard mic on a soft sound will provide contrast and therefore definition for the sound. So, if you you have an instrument with a hardness factor of H3, you match it with a mic that has a hardness factor of H7; or an H6 sound with an H4 mic and so on. The trick is realizing what he means by "hardness." It's not about brightness. A mallet hitting a glockenspiel is a hard sound, while a finger plucking a low E string on a double bass is a soft sound, or has low hardness factor. Further, a U87 is harder than a U47; an SM57 is harder than an MD421, which is harder than a U87. As you can probably see, this isn't something that you can just read and apply. You have to do it until you get it, or as Stav says, "the penny drops for you."

            Stav does not discuss equipment in terms of favorite mics or outboard. Nor does he talk about plug-ins or settings. However, there are a lot of secrets of upper echelon engineers given that are never really discussed - the kind of concepts that separate the pros from the aspirants. And that's mainly what the book is about. Perspective. Of course, there are many practical tips, but again, it's mainly concepts that you will have to learn to apply to the equipment you have.

            Also, he tends to use colloquial expressions (like "penny drops") that sometimes obscure the meaning of what he's saying. Overall, you can mine this book for a lot of gold, but you have to be prepared to read and re-read.

            The book is fairly pricey - $78 if you order it from his site and around $120 on Amazon, but, and this is a very big but - the chapter on setting compressors alone is worth the price of the book, even at Amazon prices. If you've ever had a problem with setting compressors, once you read that chapter, setting a compressor will never be hit and miss again.

            Hope this is helpful

            • This reply was modified 7 years ago by soundsuite.
            Nathan Kaye

              @soundsuite That's very helpful actually and in depth. Thank you for that.
              I recently started working with Stavrou, because he's mixing the group stems and mastering my forthcoming album, Waves of Life, which is to raise funds and awareness for depression and suicide prevention. He's a very interesting and nice guy & he does ask a lot of aesthetic questions with regard to the music so what you've described makes a lot of sense. We've had good discussions about mixing & he really seems to like some of my mixing techniques, which is flattering. I'll definitely ask him for a copy of his book. After your description & recommendation, I definitely want to delve into it. Thanks again..


                Hey Nathan - you're more than welcome. Glad to be of help. Meanwhile, working with Mike Stravrou - that's fantastic, I'm envious in the extreme! Come to think of it, perhaps you can do me a small favor. As I had mentioned in my recommendation, he uses some verbal expressions that can be a tad confusing. One in particular, that's driven me marginally crazy since I've had the book, is in the section on drums where he talks about toms. He talks about bouncing each fill to a stereo pair at half speed and using that opportunity to perfect the attack, level, pan, and dynamic movements to make each fill special. He follows that with the sentence, "Tasty switches, fade-ins, fade-outs, and panning can distort the listener's perception of time enough to create some magic tom moments." If you get chance, can you ask him what he means by "tasty switches." I'm pretty sure there's some hidden gold in there, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what he means by that.

                If you can find that out for me, I will certainly be in your debt, and will finally be able to move on. Not knowing something anchors a part of your brain to that spot and there it remains in confusion whenever you are reminded.

                Anyway, I'm glad you found my mini-review helpful and I know you'll find Stavrou's book enlightening and will open up a new way of looking at mixing and recording.

                All the best,


                • This reply was modified 7 years ago by soundsuite.
                • This reply was modified 7 years ago by soundsuite.
                Jonathan Parker

                  I wont go into describing the book, because the post above does that perfectly. But I agree, it's a great read and great addition to the self-educated engineer's library. I found Stav through a friend who knew him. This was many years ago, right before that book was released. I emailed back and forth with him a lot. He listened to mixes of mine and offered great insights. He also gave me tips on setting up full band sessions. I haven't communicated with him in a very long time, but I would imagine he's accessible, and like the above post says, very nice and eager to help and share info. However, last time I checked, and when I bought it, it's not a cheap book.

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