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Review of 'Mixing With Your Mind'

I have just finished Mixing With Your Mind by Michael Paul "Stav" Stavrou. It's helped me envision the work of audio engineering in a completely different way.

The cover of 'Mixing with your mind' which features an xray of a skeleton who is wearing headphones
The cover of Mixing with your mind by Michael Paul Stavrou

Stav's book encourages audio engineers to engage the whole of their mind, so as to bring together the creative and technical elements of the work. For example, Stav encourages audio engineers to meditate. This tallies with my own experience of meditation, which has consistently helped me concentrate, and to reach a state of mind where I could absorb knowledge and generate ideas. The most notable example of this occurred at a time when I was deeply engrossed in mixing an EP. On this occasion I was deep into my daily meditation practice when a moving image popped into my mind. This image demonstrated how the different parameters of compression interrelate, and the effect that they collectively have on the amplitude of an audio signal. Previously I had understood the parameters separately, and meditation put me in a head space to incorporate that information into a whole. The ideas in Mixing With Your Mind encourage audio engineers to enter a whole-of-mind state where they can work with creativity and precision.

Mixing With Your Mind is dense with maverick concepts about audio engineering, from chasing the flame of a sound to deciding on the hardness factor of a microphone. As a result it took me a long time to get through the book. Often I would read a short section then go away and think about the concepts for a few days. I feel like understanding this book is a bit like understanding compression, in that it will take a lot of time, patience and effort.

A key message that I have taken from the book is that audio engineering is only limited by your imagination and nerve. It appears to me that Stav will go to almost any length to create a great recording. I hope I can incorporate that spirit into my own audio engineering practice.

Now that I've finished the book I've turned back to the first page to read it all again. I encourage audio engineers who are passionate about the craft to read Mixing With Your Mind at least once, if not many times.

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