“Freedom through Discipline” Template Mixing and Mastering

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by Billy Decker and Simon Taylor

Template Mixing and Mastering: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving a Professional Sound” by Billy Decker is a must-read for any mix engineer who is pressed for time but still wants to produce high-quality mixes. As a mix engineer who often finds themselves juggling multiple projects with tight deadlines, I found Decker’s book to be a game-changer.

One of the standout features of this book is Decker’s concept of the “Deckerator,” a collection of customizable mixing templates that can be used to streamline the mixing process. As a fan of puns, I couldn’t resist making a few jokes about the term “Deckerator.” But in all seriousness, these templates are incredibly useful for anyone who needs to produce high-quality mixes quickly.

Decker’s approach to mixing and mastering is refreshingly practical and straightforward. He breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand language and provides step-by-step instructions on how to implement them. The book is also full of helpful tips and tricks that I’ve already started incorporating into my own workflow. Here’s a short synopsis of the book by chapter:

Chapter 1: Building Your Template

In this chapter, Decker lays out the importance of creating a mixing template and gives practical tips for building one that suits your workflow. As a mix engineer with limited time, I found this chapter particularly helpful as it allowed me to streamline my mixing process and focus on the creative aspects of mixing rather than getting bogged down in technical details.

Chapter 2: Drums

As someone who frequently works with rock and metal bands, I found this chapter on drums to be especially informative. Decker covers everything from drum sample selection to drum tuning, and he even includes his personal EQ and compression settings for different drum elements. I appreciated the fact that he emphasizes the importance of getting a good drum sound at the source, rather than relying too heavily on processing.

Chapter 3: instruments

This chapter covers a broad range of instruments, including guitars, bass, keys, and more. Decker discusses the importance of using reference tracks to guide your EQ and processing decisions, as well as the benefits of using parallel processing to add weight and depth to your mix. As someone who often struggles with getting a consistent guitar tone, I found his tips on using multiple microphones and blending them together to be particularly helpful.

Chapter 4: Vocals

In this chapter, Billy Decker provides an in-depth guide on how to process and mix vocals to achieve a professional sound. He covers topics such as EQ, compression, reverb, and delay. He also shares his personal techniques for creating vocal stacks, adding harmonies, and making vocal adlibs stand out in the mix. This chapter is especially helpful for mix engineers who struggle with getting vocals to sit just right in the mix.

Chapter 5: The Master Channel

In this chapter, Decker dives into the master channel and how to use it to improve the overall sound of a mix. He covers topics such as metering, limiting, and stereo imaging. He also discusses the importance of using reference tracks and how to properly A/B your mix against them. This chapter is essential for anyone looking to take their mixes to the next level.

Chapter 6: Importing Audio and Gain Staging

In this chapter, Decker explains the importance of proper gain staging and how to import audio files into your DAW. He provides tips on how to avoid clipping, distortion, and noise in your mix. He also shares his personal workflow for organizing tracks and applying plugins to ensure a smooth mixing process. This chapter is perfect for mix engineers who want to streamline their workflow and avoid common technical issues.

Chapter 7: Mixing

In this chapter, Decker walks through his process for mixing a song from start to finish. He covers topics such as panning, EQ, compression, and effects. He also shares his approach for balancing individual tracks to create a cohesive mix. This chapter is great for mix engineers who want to learn from an experienced professional and improve their overall mixing skills.

Chapter 8: Mastering

In this chapter, Decker covers the fundamentals of mastering and how to prepare your mix for the mastering process. He discusses topics such as loudness, EQ, compression, and limiting. He also shares his personal tips and tricks for getting a final master that sounds great on all playback systems. This chapter is essential for anyone looking to release their music professionally.

Chapter 9: Other Considerations

In this final chapter, Decker covers a variety of other considerations for mixing and mastering. He discusses topics such as room acoustics, monitoring, and referencing. He also provides advice on how to approach different genres and how to work with clients. This chapter is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their overall mixing and mastering skills and take their career to the next level.

One of the things I appreciated most about this book was Billy’s emphasis on the importance of listening. As a mix engineer, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of mixing and lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to create a great-sounding mix that moves people. He even mentions in interviews that he’s shared his exact template with many of his fellow engineers in Nashville as an experiment, and every mix has come back completely different. This is because everyone’s ear and listening style is different l. Decker’s book reminds us that listening is the foundation of great mixing and provides practical advice on how to improve our listening skills.

Overall, “Template Mixing and Mastering: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving a Professional Sound” is a valuable resource for anyone looking to produce high-quality mixes quickly.

Since reading this book and making my own mix template based on his suggestions I have been able to mix songs much faster and even incorporate the template methodology into other parts of the song creation process such as writing, recording and editing. This book also continues to inspire me to aspire to new heights of efficiency by looking at every aspect of my workflow and seeing where I can make improvements.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Decker’s book provides practical advice that you can start using right away. And if you’re a fan of puns, you’ll love the “Deckerator” templates!”

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