Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production Book Review

By | July 6, 2015

Electronic Music by Roy Wilkenfeld is a book containing 25 different mix tips on how to mix music, aimed exclusively at electronic music producers. The book is essentially a small mixing handbook for modern electronic musicians who need help in mixing. Read on to find out more…

Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production

Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production

Electronic Music: 25 Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production is an Amazon Kindle Book, containing 25 hand-picked mixing tricks to improve the sound of our music. Let’s hop straight on in to learn more about the book…

The Categories

The book is divided into five different categories in mixing: Mix Essentials, Mix Clarity, Drum Sweetening, Special Stereo Width and Advanced Mixing Techniques. As a result, the categories are very logically arranged to help the reader in the easiest manner possible. Each category also contains 5 tips.

The table of contents showing the different categories.

The table of contents showing the different categories.

The Mix Essentials and Mix Clarity –categories focus on the fundamentals of mixing, such as achieving proper gain staging, mixer fader balance, EQ’ing out unwanted frequencies and cleaning up audio tracks. These categories set a solid foundation for any mix.

The Drum Sweetening –category dives into drum processing, which is highly regarded as the most important part in electronic music production. You’ll learn how to tune your kick drums properly, how to create huge claps and snares and process your drums with punchy parallel compression. Drums can make or break an electronic track – listen to these tips and you’ll stay on the right track.

The Special Stereo Width –category focuses on the widening of the stereo field with different techniques, craved by producers of today. Tricks such as the Haas effect and micro pitch shifting are revealed in this section. I found the tips in this category a good, refreshing selection.

Finally, the Advanced Mixing Techniques –section discusses topics such as achieving musical side chain compression, which is a very interesting subject as it is, to automating fader levels in your mix. Special, cherry-on-the-cake tips belong in this section.

Overall, the categories are very well chosen and divided to offer a spectrum of great mixing techniques.

A deeper look…

Every one of the 25 tips is laid out in similar manner. They all have descriptions explaining the technique with a short tutorial on how to achieve it inside a DAW. My favorite part of the tips is the bonus “Pro Tips” -hints below each “basic” tip, revealing some mixing secrets and extra information about each subject. Very nice touch!

To our pleasure, links and suggestions to certain plugins are provided together with the tips, as well as special websites aimed to help in the mixing process.

The visual look of the tips is clear and clean, pleasing the eye while letting you get straight into the mixing action.

Pro Tips can be found under every "basic" tip.

Pro Tips can be found under every “basic” tip.

Highlights from the book

Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:

#01 Gain Staging

I think getting your gain staging correct is one of the most important steps in any mixing job. Gain staging is clearly explained in the book, as it shouldn’t act as a roadblock for anyone searching for a great sound in their mixes.

#08 EQ the Send Effects

This caught my eye because it is an important one, hence a great addition in the book. In my past years of making music, I never used to EQ any of my send effects, such as reverbs or delays. And that came at a cost. Nowadays, I carefully EQ all of my reverbs, delays and any kind of effects that I might have – for absolute clarity and impact in my mixes. Well chosen tip.

#11 Tuned Kick Drum

As you might have read from my post, tuning kick drums is crucial in electronic music productions, since the kick acts as the lowest musical foundation. That’s why it’s important to tune the kick drum into the right frequency or musical note. Great tip.

#21 Musical Side Chain Compression

This one has been one of my personal secrets for a long time. It can’t be emphasized enough what a difference a well-tuned compressor can make, especially when it’s side chained to an element, such as the kick. This is one of those cutthroat techniques that separate amateurs from the pros.

To conclude

Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production is a great little book for beginners and intermediate music producers. It also has quite a few more advanced tricks, so the experienced users won’t be disappointed either.

I like the handbook-style format it’s written in. You can get it on Amazon for Kindle, or read it on your PC or Mac, or any other platform of choice.

For inspiration and fresh mixing and production ideas, highly recommended! And at the price of a soft taco ($2.99), it’s a no brainer.

-JP

6 thoughts on “Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production Book Review

  1. Nick

    That is a great book review. I don’t know much about mixing music, but it is definitely useful for anyone interested in that field. Reading the review was easy to follow along, I especially like how you provided your favorite tips. The table of contents to the right was a nice feature. Your website looks good.

    Reply
  2. Travis

    Does the author discuss the best DAW’s for beginners? Or, what is the most basic requirement to follow this book?

    I dont know alot about this subject but I have some friends who play around with this stuff. I will recommend this to them.

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Hi Travis,
      Since the book is about mixing techniques, universally applicable in any DAW, the best DAWs are not discussed as it’s a totally different matter. I, however, have lined up all common DAWs for beginners here: http://productionwisdom.com/what-is-the-best-music-production-software-for-beginners-get-started

      About the requirements, well, if you are a music producer who recognizes the art of mixing, I can say from experience that you would know that you are not a total beginner. With that said, I personally think the book does contain important pointers that mixing beginners should definitely know about, such as gain staging properly among others.

      Hope this helps Travis,
      -JP

      Reply
  3. Markus

    Hello JP,
    This was a good review on this book for Electronic Music. If you follow some of these tips that this book teaches, then I assume you have a good idea of what your doing. I would also assume by the way you relate to this info that your an studio engineer.

    I on the other hand can’t profess that, but being a working musician I do have some knowledge of what studio engineers go through to get a good sound from a track/tracks.

    I’m not to up on mixing electronic music as we try not to use any samples when recording but the points you bring to the new engineer even though are pretty basic, these make for a better mix.

    Your tip #11 sticks out at me. As I’ve gone through this with my drummer years ago. Its funny how new drummers aren’t taught this and have to learn this secret down the road. But it really does make a difference especially in the studio. If the kick is already tuned coming in, then the engineer only has to do minor adjustments tuning it.

    Tip #21 on Side Chaining Compression many top engineers do this and its good to see your following their steps.
    Let me see if I’m on the same page as you all . In Dance music they Side Chain the Bass, so all your doing is putting a compressor on the Bass then accessing the side chain, then your using the Kick Drum track on the Side Chain to control when the Kick hits the compressor it pulls down the level of the Bass.

    I’m just a simple musician hell I hope I got that right or maybe I should study more .:)
    This sounds like a very informative book to learn from. You’ve given me lots to think aout, I might even pick this book up and see what else I can learn. Very good job on this article by the way.

    Do you like recording and working on real drums or do you prefer Electronic Music only?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. JP Post author

      Thanks for the excellent comment Markus!

      It sure sounds like you have got tons of experience behind you. As a matter of fact, while interning at a recording studio I noticed that experienced musicians sure know what they want from the technical side as well – the engineering work.

      To answer your question, I really enjoy recording drums, yes. Though not every day do I have access to them – so I record anything and everything I think that could make a great sound (salt and pepper shakers, silverware… for real!) With that said, I do work mostly on electronic music, but I use real samples that I have recorded myself and pull them into electronic samplers to trigger the drum hits from. I think it’s a very fun way to work if you’re doing electronic – you get to feel the real thing!

      You got the side chaining right, that’s how the famous “pumping” or “ducking” effect is done in dance music.

      All the best to you Markus!
      -JP

      Reply

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