Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review of “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”, by Bobby Owsinski.

I have reviewed books in the past. Also, in the past I have used many a good ole' book, as reference guides, as I learned how to use new recording software and/or musical recording equipment. I use books for vital information about scales, musical theory, and just about every musical topic that you can name. None of which have been so simple for me to consume knowledge from, or as easy for me to understand as “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”, by Bobby Owsinski and published by Cengage Learning, has. This is a powerful statement for me to make, so let me explain what I mean.

I knew enough about mixing and mastering to be dangerous. The more that I learned about mixing and/or mastering the more confused I became, and the more questions I had. I had all sorts of questions about when to use “limiters” or “compressors” to clean up a track, and what about using EQ's when it comes to perceived levels of frequency? Yep, with each new thing that I seem to learn, two more questions pop into my mind.
With just the very first time that I thumbed through “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”, Bobby Owsinski, I had most of these answers! Bobby Owsinski relates to us the “overall art of mixing and mastering” with explaining (broadly) just what mixing and mastering is. He does not try to over complicate a single thing, even though with his background and experience, he certainly could. I understood just what he had to say, without any new questions!
Bobby Owsinski has been mixing and mastering for a very long time. He “speaks” the same language that all of us recording nuts speak. He has a way of explaining things simply. With each paragraph that I skimmed, the mystery of mixing and mastering seemed to dissolve.

Bobby Owsinski starts “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”, with explaining just what each unit that ships in IK Multimedias T-Racks does, and how to set it up for best use. This section alone is a worthy read, and worth the price of the book alone!

Bobby Owsinski explains just what turning each knob on the T-Racks devices actually does. Bobby Owsinski explains when to use just which device and how they are most often used in mixing and mastering. Keep in mind that the whole time he is speaking as a musician, so I seldom needed to re-read a single sentence of “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”. However, you will want to re-read this because this is awesome stuff!

Next, Bobby Owsinski actually answers the very questions that we all want to know. Things like “at what stage is a song considered ready for mixing?”, “When, and exactly what do I compress”, “How do I set up the compressor, and which type of music do I compress differently”, etc. Have you ever asked questions like these? Well, ask no more. Just read what Bobby Owsinski has to say.

Not only does Bobby Owsinski answer these all too common questions in “Mixing and Mastering with IK Multimedia T-Racks, The official guide”, but he has a way of conveying confidence to the reader! His simple way of looking at mixing and mastering really conveys inspiration. For the very first time, instead of thinking the usual “That mixing voodoo magic is way too complicated, and better left up to the engineers to accomplish”, I actually thought to myself “Hey, I can really do this!”. I was gearing up to mix my own music!

Next, as the book reads, is a section dealing with proper monitoring. A simple enough topic, but with huge results! I decided to implement Bobby's advice when it came to monitor placement. He discusses how to “listen” to our music, and also how to practice listening to music prior to a mixing session. Bobby writes about placing monitor speakers as to better hear what is happening. By doing this very step, using Bobby Owsinskis exact measurements, I could not believe the difference in separation and spacial quality of the music coming out of my monitors! In fact it made many prior unheard mistakes become glaring issues. Now I know what is meant by the term “the sweet spot”, and will have better mixes from here on.

Perhaps the chapter that has become my favorite to read and re-read, is titled “Using T-Racks Dynamics during mixing”. I can't tell you the amount of “aaahhhhaaaa” moments I have had. Bobby Owsinski also explains which T-Racks devices “sound” better when placed onto certain types of tracks.

This chapter was quickly followed up with Chapter Four “Using the T-Racks EQ and Metering during mixing”. These two chapters together have changed my process for the better. Bobby Owsinski explains what to look for while using the meters, and how to get the best sound out of what you have, and all the time while using T-Racks devices! Who knew that I had what it takes to better mix all along?

Bobby Owsinski makes sure to explain that each song is different, each genre needs its own unique set of adjustments, and that the most important piece of gear is our very ears. Bobby details the simple tricks that we can all do in order to tune up our ears before each session.

The over all theme here is that Bobby Owsinski not only gives us the information that we so desperately crave, but he also writes as a musician. He inspires confidence into the reader as he relates that this can actually be done at home with T-Racks! He just has an uncanny way of sparking that flame of confidence in the reader, and he actually manages to relate the mixing and mastering processes as a “You can do this” type of task. Well done!


  1. Audio mixing is a really cool and fun hobby to do. Especially to those who are into music. How much more if you own with the latest equipment of music mixing? Things could not get any better than that. Now those are such mouthwatering equipment.

  2. I must agree. T-Racks is as top of the line as it gets when it comes to mixing and mastering software, and Bobby Owsiinski is someone that knows his stuff. Thanks for the great comment!