Basic Mixing in ACID 3.0
As you learned in Hour 2, "Getting Started," it's easy to add files to your project and build a composition. Now you have to create a good mix of the elements in your tracks. In this hour, we take a closer look at Track Headers and the controls found there. We'll also talk about some techniques to use during the mix process. When you're done with this hour, you'll be ready to move on to Hour 4, where you'll learn to save your project.
Mix To mix simply means to blend all the parts and pieces of your project together to make a song. Audio mixing is sort of the same as mixing a cake. When you make a cake, you have eggs, sugar, flour, chocolate chips, and so forth. If you take all the right ingredients and toss them into a bowl without any thought, what you end up with will be something, but it might not be a very good cake. In the same way, in your ACID project, you have drums, guitars, basses, and so on. Throw them together without much thought, and you'll have something, but it might not be very pleasant music. Mix the ingredients properly, and you'll enjoy a cake worth eating while listening to music worth hearing!
In this hour, you will:
Arrange the tracks in a logical order
Color-code the tracks for visual grouping
Adjust track height and width
Adjust the track volume and the master volume
Pan tracks to create a stereo mix
Use the Solo and Mute buttons when mixing
Exploring Track Headers
Open the Mixereze.acd project in the Samples folder for Hour 3 on the companion CD-ROM for this book. Notice that the project contains nine tracks. Each track has its own Track Header, and all the Track Headers appear in the Track List area on the left side of the ACID window. Click the Play From Start button and listen to it all the way through to get familiar with the project. At first glance, you see a number of buttons and controls in each Track Header. The following few sections go "under the hood" to discuss the functionality of Track Headers. There's a lot here, so let's get to it!
All the loops in the Mixereze.acd project can be found in the ACID DJ loop collection available from Sonic Foundry. This collection is full of jazz, house, techno dance, and techno industrial loops, all optimized for use in ACID.
Changing Track Order
As mentioned in the previous hour, when you add a new loop to your project, a new Track Header appears under the last existing Track Header in the Track List area.
Sometimes, you might want your tracks to be in a different order. For instance, you might want to keep all your drum tracks together. In the current Mixereze.acd project, that's not the case.
To change the order of your tracks, click the track icon of the track you want to move, and drag it up or down. Notice the dark line that appears between the Track Headers, following the movement of your mouse. This line represents the top of the track you are moving. When you release the mouse button, you drop the track at the location of this line and move the other tracks down. The following task steps you through the process.