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It can be difficult to understand the numerous terms and concepts associated with mixing and mastering audio. In this article, I’ll be providing a comprehensive overview of the most important mixing and mastering terminology to help you become more familiar with the process.
What is Mixing and Mastering Terminology?
Mixing and mastering terminology refers to the various terms, concepts and techniques used in the audio mixing and mastering process. These terms and concepts include the use of equalization (EQ), compression, distortion, audio mix buses, high and low pass filters, and many more.
Boomy refers to a build-up of low frequencies – often from low-pitched drums – which can cause an overpowering or “boomy” sound. This is typically caused by using too much bass or low-end frequencies in the mix.
The mix bus, also known as the master bus, is the track in your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that all of your audio tracks are sent to. You can apply processing to the mix bus, such as EQ, compression, and limiting, to affect the overall sound of your mix.
High Pass/Low Pass Filters
High pass and low pass filters are two types of filters that can be used to cut out certain frequencies from a signal. A high pass filter will cut out the low frequencies, while a low pass filter will cut out the high frequencies. These filters are commonly used to shape the sound of a mix.
Recording, Mixing, EQ, Compression, and Distortion
Recording, mixing, EQ, compression, and distortion are all terms used to describe different aspects of the audio production process. Recording refers to capturing sound on a device, such as a microphone or a computer. Mixing is the process of combining multiple audio tracks into a single track. EQ refers to the process of using equalization to shape the overall sound of a mix. Compression is the process of using a compressor to reduce the dynamic range of a signal. Distortion is the process of intentionally adding distortion to a signal to create a unique sound.
7 Weird Mixing Terms: What They Mean and How To Use Them
Although there are many terms used in the mixing and mastering process, there are some terms that may not be as familiar. Here are 7 of the most common and confusing terms and their definitions:
- Boomy: a build-up of low frequencies—often in low-pitched drums—that causes an overpowering sound.
- Muddy: a mix that is lacking clarity, usually caused by too much bass and low-end frequencies.
- Boxy: an overly resonant sound, usually caused by excessive mid-range frequencies.
- Warmth: a pleasant sound, usually caused by using EQ to boost the mid-range frequencies.
- Harsh: an unpleasant sound, usually caused by excessive high-end frequencies.
- Depth: a three-dimensional sound, usually achieved by using EQ to boost the low-end frequencies.
- Air: a sparkly sound, usually achieved by using a high pass filter to boost the high-end frequencies.
0dB Full Scale
0dB Full Scale (0dB FS) is the reference level for digital audio. This is the loudest signal that a digital audio system can produce before it starts to distort.
5.1 Audio System
A 5.1 audio system is a speaker system that uses three speakers across the front soundfield and two stereo speakers in the rear of the listener, along with a subwoofer for low-end frequencies. This system is often used for surround sound in movies and video games.
Mixing and mastering terminology can be daunting at first, but understanding these terms can help you to become a better audio engineer. Learning the basics of these terms can help you make informed decisions when mixing and mastering your audio. If you need help understanding these terms, visit
What are some terms related to mixing?
The terms dry and wet refer to the amount of an effect being applied to an audio signal.
What are the steps involved in mixing and mastering?
Mastering is the stage of audio production that comes after mixing, where an engineer polishes the entire mix to ensure it is ready for release. It involves making minor adjustments to the audio levels and EQ, as well as adding any necessary effects.
What are the terms used to describe sound?
The sound level is the intensity of sound measured using a sound level meter and a related weighting network. A sound level meter is a device that detects changes in pressure to measure loudness. The sound power is the total amount of sound energy produced in a given amount of time. Lastly, sound pressure is an alteration in the atmospheric pressure caused by sound waves.
What does “level” mean when referring to audio mixing and mastering?
Levels are a way to gauge and observe the volume of our music and how it sounds at any given moment.