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Virtual Mixing
Basic Music for Engineers


"The main job of the recording engineer is to capture as much musical dynamics as possible. The mixing engineer should utilize those dynamics to enhance the expression of the song."

Dynamics refers to the interplay and “give and take” between different instruments based on their changes in volume or other characteristics.

Dynamics means CHANGE, which can occur on many different levels.  Even a single instrument can have dynamics that change over time.  There is emotion in dynamics.  When someone SPEAKS LOUDLY it impacts you one way…………. (…but if someone speaks softly, you find yourself listening harder and perhaps even leaning in to hear better…this greatly changes how you will perceive what you are listening to).  This is an example of dynamics as applied to volume.

Dynamics not only applies to volume but also to any other kind of change or movement such as tonal change, intensity (how hard one plays), rhythmic feel, etc.  Sounds can have different dynamics at different frequencies. 

Dynamics can be felt in single instruments, relationships between instruments and even the combined sound of a finished mix.  Although these days everyone seems to want their music as loud as possible with no break, music often has important dynamics between instruments that help to convey the emotions of the song that can be lost when mixes are squashed and pumped for the sake of volume.