2 Methods For Creating Quick Mixes With Pink Noise

Pink noise mixes on Bobby Owsinski's Music Production Blog

An interesting mixing method that can be used for quick rough mixes or as a balance starting point for a mix is by using pink noise. Since the frequency response of pink noise is similar to that of the human ear, it can be used as a reference point against a mix. 

As you’ll read in this excerpt from the latest 5th edition of my Mixing Engineer’s Handbook (you can still get it at the special introductory price, but that ends tonight at midnight), there are two ways this can be applied:

Method 1: Track Solo Against Pink Noise

  1. Insert a signal generator on your master buss and set it to pink noise.
  2. Set the level to-10dBFS (set to -6dBFS if you think you need more level), or 0VU if on a console with VU meters.
  3. Bring the level of an individual track up until you can just hear it.
  4. Decrease the level of that track until it just disappears.
  5. Repeat with all other tracks.

This method takes a little bit of practice to figure out where to stop when you’re decrease the level of the track below the noise. Remember that this will never get you the perfect mix; it will only get you in the ballpark.

This method works very well for things like setting the levels of multiple-miked instruments, like the top and bottom snare mics, different tom levels, in and out kick mics, multiple mics on bass, guitar amp or piano.

Method 2: Pink Noise Mix Layover

Sometimes just inserting pink noise across your mix when its near completion will show that there’s a mix element that’s too loud. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Insert a single generator across your master buss and set it to pink noise.
  2. Bring the level up until the pink noise is louder than your mix, then back it off a little.
  3. If any individual tracks stick out above the pink noise, they may be too loud in the mix.
  4. Decrease the level of that track until it just disappears.
  5. Repeat with all other tracks if there are any.

There are a lot more tips on how to balance your mix in the latest edition of my Mixing Engineer’s Handbook. This is the last day that you can get it at a special introductory price, so click here to pick up your copy now.

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