This is the continuation of the Ardour Mixing Tutorial. In this part, you will learn how to manage your mixing session, configure effects and mix down/export your tracks to be ready for mastering. Let’s get started.
Configuring EQ settings in Mixing
1.) Open ardourmixingtutorial project in Ardour. To do this, go to Applications – Sound & Video – Ardour GTK2.
2.) Under “Session Control”, go to “Open Session”. Select “ardourmixingtutorial” under “Recent”. Click “Open”. This how your session should look like(there are two tracks, kick and bass in addition to the master):
3.) Lets apply the following EQ setting:
Low shelf -9dB at 75Hz
Boost +3dB at 100Hz, Q=1.4
Cut -9dB at 400Hz, Q=1.4
Cut -9dB at 100Hz, Q=1.4
Boost +3dB at 400Hz, Q=1.4
To implement the above settings. Go to “Window” – “Show Mixer”. Double click “Triple band parametric” under “kickdrum” track. Move the sliders of the “Controls” to assign a particular setting in terms of dB, frequency and Q (bandwidth) or double click on the values to type the setting. This is the EQ setting applied on kickdrum based on the above settings:
Now do the same for chorus bass and implement the above settings, this is how the triple band parametric settings would look like:
You find more details about using Tri-band parametric w/ shelves in Ardour here.
4.) Try to play the session. Using your accurate studio monitoring system, listen properly if you arrive at the optimal EQ settings. Feel free to adjust until you obtained maximum clarity. Make sure that both the channel and master fader level does not clipped after EQ adjustment. If it does clipped, either lower the +dB settings in EQ or the specific channel fader itself.
Adding and Configuring Compressors in the Mix
5.) Supposing you would like to add a compressor to the bass guitar. Go to Window – Show Mixer. Right click on the empty region below “Triple band parametric” under “chorus bass” track. Go to “New Plugin” – “Plugin Manager”. Find “SC1” which is a compressor, click “Add” and finally click “Insert Plugin”. You should then see SC1 added next to Triple band parametric, screenshot:
6.) To configure the SC1 compressor, double click “SC1” under “chorus bass”. Supposing you would implement the following compressor settings for the bass:
Ratio: 6 is to 1
Attack time: 40ms
Release time: 80ms
This is how it looks after implementing it on the SC1:
Aside from compressors, you can as well apply a lot of effects supported by Ardour. For example reverb, delay, echo, panning, etc.
Finally Mix Down your Track in Ardour…
If all settings are finally OK, you can mixdown all of your tracks into a single file ready for mastering. To do this:
1.) Move the “End” markers near to the last section of the track. If you do not move this, you will have very LONG silence at the end of the track. This end marker is a blue line with yellow pin on the top. After moving this to the last part of the track, it would look like this:
2.) Go to Session – Export – Export Session to Audiofile, configure it as follows:
The format of the mixdown will be 24-bit/48KHz.
3.) Finally click Export. You will see the message “Congratulations on your sesssion export”. You can decide to donate to Ardour as a one time donation or select “Ask about this the next time I export” if you are not yet ready. Click OK.
4.) The mixdown audio file will be placed in the path:
Note: If you have your Ardour project saved in your Linux desktop.
5.) If you want to see how your mixdown waveform looks like, right click and open it in Audacity (close Ardour first). This is how it looks like:
You can then provide this audio file to a mastering engineer for your track to be professionally mastered. This ends the Ardour mixing tutorial, take note that the example used in this tutorial is very simple as it only consists of two tracks. In actual audio mixing projects, you will be dealing with more than 10 tracks or more and a lot of effects (depending on your project needs). However the audio mixing process is still the same as illustrated in this tutorial.