Mixing in Pro Tools by Brian Smithers, an audio engineering program director at Full Sail Real World Education, is a handy book for aspiring Pro Tools engineers and other musicians with intermediate-level Pro Tools skills. Working through the many sample session files included on the accompanying CD, Smithers’s book explores topics essential to basic mixing skills as well as some advanced topics that can help elevate your mixes to the next level.
The book is equally well suited to users of both Pro Tools HD and LE systems, and it goes into great detail covering essential mix tools such as equalization, dynamics processing, and the application of time-based effects. All examples are worked through using stock Digidesign plug-ins, so everyone should be capable of performing the exercises.
Smithers explores ways to bring depth and ambience to your mixes, and we liked the tips for creating space from mono sound sources. His book included useful topics ranging from applying creative audio effects to the layout and arranging of your session files, interfacing with external effects processors, and, quite importantly, dealing with latency compensation to tighten things up.
Automation tools are explored in detail — writing, drawing, and editing, and details like smoothing and thinning automation were not overlooked. Using the bussing system was covered in great detail, too. Throughout the book we found ourselves learning new things. If you’ve spent years working with Pro Tools, you invariably develop your own methods of achieving certain results, and it’s always useful learning some new perspectives, as we did with this title.
We think the book could have covered system optimization a bit more, and while mostly aimed at the “mixing by mouse” crowd, some discussion of control surfaces would have been a nice addition. But overall, Mixing in Pro Tools was filled with plenty of useful information that anyone looking to improve his or her mixing skills could benefit from reading.
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