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  • Professional audio mixing in Avid Media Composer 7

  • Nick Usher

    September 21, 2015 at 2:52 pm


    I work for a small production company and we do mainly short form things like promo’s, commercials, sizzle reels etc. Our senior editor has left the company and he used to do all of our professional sound mixing on Pro Tools. Since he has left (and taken pro tools with him) we have had to resort to going to sound production houses to do the final mixes on our videos.

    However there are some videos which don’t require this professional level of audio mixing and instead can probably be mixed in Avid (these are videos that would be used for internet use or presentations and NOT for broadcast).

    Does anyone know where I could find some good tutorials on how to mix to a decent standard in Avid? Or failing that, could anyone explain what I should do to take my audio mix to that professional standard? I know I need to add compressors and limiters, and I know I need to do all of that in the Audio Mixer tool but would like some advice first.


  • Glenn Sakatch

    September 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I’m going to open a huge can of worms here, but here goes.

    I don’t agree with the “need” to add compressors and limiters on audio.

    Yes i try to send all my audio to a sound house.

    When i work on the road in a live sports situation, we have to do our own mixing. This is for show opens, features bumpers etc. for major studios live sports programming. Occasionally we get to send it t sound as well, but for the most part there isn’t time in that environment.

    To say compressing music and voice gives you a better mix, goes against everything i believe in. I like the way music sounds when it isn’t overly compressed. The files you are working with probably already have a ton of compression on them…why squeeze them any more?

    Yes it makes it easier to avoid getting too hot in the mix, but that isn’t to say you cant do that with a bit of effort in the mixer as well.

    Go through your piece with the voice solo’d and get his levels as equal as possible for the whole piece.

    Turn on your music and ride the levels to the point where you are happy with the mix.

    Turn on your fx and do the same thing.

    I never use a compressor or a limiter in the mixes i do.

    let the debate begin.:)


  • Nick Usher

    September 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks for this Glenn,

    An interesting debate no doubt! Could you advise on how to set a limiter so I don’t go any louder than -10db for example? Am I right in thinking it is on the output slider in the audio mixer?

    Also when it comes to riding the levels, how do I do that live?

    Thanks for your help!

  • Glenn Sakatch

    September 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    to clarify, by mixing it “Live” i’m simply referring to sitting at the mixer page and adjusting the levels. (you can do a live mix with a proper a audio board setup, or an Artist Control or Artist Mixer panel, but when i said “live” i meant in person, rather than dropping an effect on it and walking away.

    Some people use the elastic band method of adjusting volumes…i never have done it that way. I simply razor up my audio tracks in the areas that are too loud, or too quiet, and adjust each section. I then dissolve between to smooth out the transitions.

    As for a limiter at -10…i don’t use one. You should be able to keep the audio peaking at -10 or any other amount, using the method i described above. Yes it may go slightly higher every now and then, but as long as you don’t pin it, my experience tells me that it is good.

    I discourage people from staring too hard at the VU meters. The needles are allowed to bounce around.
    The audience at home doesn’t get to see the VU’s. If you try really hard to even out the peaks and valleys, it should work for you.

    I once had a professor, when questioned about the fact that the vus got hot every now and then. He was asked if it was distorting. His response was simple and blunt. “Do you hear any &*^%! distortion?”

    That being said, there are instances where you might have to really attack a section, but you should be able to do it without a compressor or a limiter.

    There are also QC departments that can be really hard to please, but you are asking about the instances where it is a simpler project with a web delivery. Just mix it so it sounds good!


  • Nick Usher

    September 21, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for your advice!

  • Glenn Sakatch

    September 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    There are many who would disagree with me…not sure where they are right now 🙂

    Again, i use sound houses for a lot of my final mixes, but if not possible for budget or other issues, an in box mix is not that hard.


  • raj singh

    September 22, 2015 at 5:36 am

    episode 10 on the avid website for MC tutorial videos is good for sound mixing

  • Juris Eksts

    September 22, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I totally agree with Glen, mix it as you hear it.
    One of the main problems of mixing in most edit suites is that you won’t hear the subtleties in the sound as you would in a dubbing theatre, ( the speakers, won’t be as good, the environment will be noisy, etc.) so if you add compression or limiters you won’t hear the difference, so will possibly add too much, which on a good sound system and speakers and environment will sound unreal. – Keep it simple.

  • Job ter Burg

    October 14, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Step #1: treat the room.

    If you skip this, you won’t get to the point where you can rely on what your ears are telling you.

    There are many not so expensive solutions for room treatment. I got myself some GiK Acoustic panels a few years back (and brought in someone who could advice me on what to get and where to put it), and it made a world of difference.

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