What is audio mixing and how it relates to being a great cook.
While the Wikipedia explanation is quite useful if you're writing a thesis...
Audio mixing is the process by which multiple sounds are combined into one or more channels. In the process, a source's volume level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated or enhanced. This practical, aesthetic, or otherwise creative treatment is done in order to produce a finished version that is appealing to listeners. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_mixing
...I like explaining the concept of mixing music by making an example of cooking a meal.
So you've finally finished producing and recording your song and want to take it to the next level.
Let's say that all elements of your production are ingredients:
Drums - potatoes
Bass - butter
Guitars - bell peppers, tomatoes and spring onion
Lead Vocals - ribeye steak
Back Vocals - balsamic steak sauce
If you know a thing or two about cooking you can already see how this ingredients come together. Mashed potatoes with butter provide a layer of richness and support for grilled medium-rare porter-house steak. However you need some zing and crunch to cut through all that richness - that's where the side of bell pepper, tomato and spring onion salad comes in. And just to top everything off and not make the meat too boring we have the balsamic sauce which adds a whole another layer of complexity to the star of the dish.
Now, all the ingredients are as good as you can get them to be. You've got the finest potatoes from Utah, bell peppers that grew in bright and warm sunlight of Italy, and for the sauce you have the finest spices you were able to get your hands on.
Time to put it together, right?
Mashed potatoes get too thin, steak is way over the point of being "done", salad is underseasoned and sauce is bland, so the entire dish falls apart.
And this is where I come in. I'm not gonna let that happen.
I have spent nine years of my life not just learning how to cook all the different ingredients, but also figuring out how to make them work together.
Drums and bass need to have the right amount of punch to be groovy, but not distracting (mashed potatoes that hold their form and don't turn your plate in to a pool), feeding EQ in to the compressor on vocals provides a great amount of high-end boost without making it too harsh on listeners ears (seasoning steak prior to grilling), filtering off the low low-end on guitars and giving them the right amount of reverb will sit them nicely in the mix (adding salt, peeper and olive oil to salad) and controlling the low end on backing vocals will separate from them the lead and will give them the depth they need to support main vocals (right amount of spices in the sauce).
Ready to make the meal that you're gonna be proud of for the rest of your life?
I know I am ;)