As of this week, IIIM students are finished recording at Progressive Enterprises. A big “Thank You” to Joe Trojcak, Jay Kirssin, and the Progressive staff for a wonderful experience in a state of the art studio. We especially appreciate the flexibility of scheduling that ended up being necessary as a result of the chaotic weather of the past 6 weeks!
Now that the recording is done, Jay Kirssin, our intrepid sound engineering instructor and all ‘round staff member, will begin the mixing process with his sound engineering class. Jay defines mixing as “the combining of individual tracks into some semblance of what would be heard in one place at one time, such as in a live performance.” This is a complicated, multi-stage process.
During the bands’ work in the studio, each individual drum, cymbal, guitar, piano, voice, etc. for each song is recorded on its own track. Mixing puts it all together. The process starts by transferring all these tracks out of the studio computers and into a portable format. This is time consuming, because it is done in “real time” and can’t be rushed. Full year sound engineering students will work with Jay to complete this, thus allowing the raw data to be transported to IIM’s equipment, where Jay can instruct them on the second phase.
This next stage is editing, which removes all extraneous sounds: squeaks, coughs, accidental hits… anything that does not belong as part of the music. All the engineering students will work on this. IIM now has several workstations which will be used, and each student will get “hands on” training about how to do this editing.
Once that is completed, the engineering students will work to apply everything they learned in the classroom before they entered the studio. Each student will work on the songs from one or two of the bands, rough mixing the tracks for each song, in preparation for each individual band to listen to their recorded work. They will equalize instrument volume levels, add effects, and make general adjustments to enhance the overall quality of each song. Band members will then sit with that student engineer and offer suggestions, critiques, and ideas for further changes to the mix that they would like to hear.
Following this, the engineering students will go back to work in order to implement as much of the bands’ input as possible. Throughout these phases, Jay is adamant that engineers must save previous versions of each mix so they are able to compare and contrast the adjustments they make, thus ensuring that each change results in a better overall sound.
Finally, one last round of editing is done to make sure that each song starts in silence and ends in silence. Once this is finished, it’s time to begin the mastering process, which will allow for the production of the CD. But more on that later… once all the mixing is completed!