Abi Asks: Jennifer Ortiz

Abi Asks: Jennifer Ortiz

Howdy Safari Blog People!

So, like, I'm not easily scared (except by ghosts, demons, and harsh vocal recordings), but the term "mid range" definitely gives me the SPOOKS!!! I feel that it’s often portrayed as this no good very bad thing, and that the frequencies from 250Hz to 450Hz are these evil little mud aliens out to wreck my mixes (terrifying!). For that reason, I’ve felt very compelled to cover “mid range” on the blog, so I can better understand it and better approach it when mixing, and producing.

To learn more and to face my fears of the mid range “mud”, I asked Engineer, Jennifer Ortiz (Noname, UMI, K.A.A.N- to name a few): In your opinion, what is key in getting an energetic and controlled mid range? 

Do you have an approach regarding mid range that you have in mind when mixing?

She said: Abi!  What an insightful question.



The mid range in a mix plays a vital role- which often includes the warmth, depth, and clarity of a track. There are many instruments and vocals that live in this area of the frequency spectrum, and as a Mix Engineer, I most importantly focus on the vocals!

As humans we perceive the midrange the most sensitively between 250Hz to 3.5khz, and in this area I tend to bring out the clarity and body-ness that a vocal needs in order to not only blend well with the instruments, but also to give the vocals its heart and soul

The few steps I take to get a great mid range is: 

To see what instruments will be sharing the mid range with the vocals, and once I find those instruments, I take the time to level them out and see that they do not compete or get in the way of the vocals. Then I like to use a bit of EQ, and carve out space for the vocals to sit right in the mix. This can include EQing instruments with small movements, such as from -1dB to 3dB, as well as EQing the vocal, by removing any boominess or nasally frequencies that aren't pleasing to hear. I am listening for clarity as I make these decisions regarding each element in the mix. 

Next, my favorite part is using MultiBand compression. The C4 MultiBand from Waves is my best friend - it works like a champ when I need to take control of certain frequencies or instruments that I wouldn’t like to remove with an EQ. This often helps me build and control the mid range,and balance any dynamics that the vocals or instruments are creating. 

Lastly, after I have removed unwanted frequencies and taken control of my mid range by leveling and using multi band compression, I can now add some love to my mix. 

I start to bring back the energy with the same moves! Same moves?….Yup!

This time I’m adding frequencies using EQ, multi-band compression, and leveling elements in my mix.

I continue to get my mix on until it feels right to the soul. 

Then, I take a break. Because breaks are dearly needed for your ears and brain. I always come back later with a clear mind and continue to finish my mix. 

I learned a lot from Jennifer’s insightful answer!
The main takeaways for me: firstly- keeping the vocals at the center! I’m definitely guilty (like, so guilty) of getting wrapped up in other elements of the mix, and losing sight of the vocals centrality. I also took note of how Jennifer carves out space for her vocals with small movements using an EQ, removing -1 to -3 Db in instruments where she sees fit, and then adds them back in (I also am slightly guilty of using rather… large movements- can def tone that down a little). Most importantly though- remembering to think about how the song FEELS. I am definitely going to keep these things in mind going forward, and look forward to applying them in the next track I mix!
Wouldn't want my mid range to sound like a BLT with no bacon! Hehe.

Thanks Jennifer for your insightful and slay-ullar answer!
I’ll catch y’all next week!
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