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Mix automation in the browser using Soundation

Automation is when a parameter changes over time automatically while you play your song back. You can automate any channel parameter including volume, panning, effect, and instrument parameters.

What is automation in mixing?

There is more to mixing than adjusting levels, equalizing, and adding effects. In the early days of recording, it was the task of the mix engineer to manually “ride” each channel and effect that needed changes over time on analog mixer boards. As mixers evolved into the digital ages, more advanced mixers allowed recording automation and playing it back without human intervention.

This meant freeing up copious amounts of hands and time, and now we can do it on our computers without even touching a fader. What’s more impressive is that you can do these things directly in your browser using Soundation. Repetitive tasks such as automating the same part multiple times can also be avoided by copying and pasting automation data.

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Increase or tame the dynamics

A song often consists of several parts with changes in dynamics and energy. Orchestrate the feel of your music from calm to intense with few but very effective means.

Bring out the hidden

As different instruments and elements are added or removed, you can shift the focus of the listener's attention. Changing the sound of your channels and effects over time will bring them along for a more immersive experience.

Create more expressive instruments

Automation is a true life hack to dramatically step up your music production skills. A telltale sign of a beginner production is static and monotonous instruments. Break up the monotony and breathe life into your music.

Effortless programming

Typically the channels on a digital mixer have three automation modes: write mode for recording automation, touch mode (or latch mode) for “punching in”, and read mode for playing it back. In Soundation, all you have to do is bring up the automation lane of any channel and start drawing.

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Example scenario

Let’s pretend you have a vocal track with lead vocals recorded on it. Instrumentally the song is very calm and quiet during the verses, but in the chorus, it gets much busier. So much so that the vocals are barely audible behind all the newly introduced sounds.

We could solve it by bringing down the volume of all the other instruments, but there is still headroom and you want to keep the increase in volume to create a more dramatic effect.

As the chorus of the song approaches you can bring the volume of the vocal track up by programming its movement. We could also get creative and introduce other effects to the channel that emphasize the vocals more during the chorus, such as a doubler effect using a delay and changing the reverb for a different atmosphere.

How to automate in Soundation

You can program almost any plugin parameter in Soundation. It’s as simple as bringing up the automation lane for a selected channel, choosing which parameter you want to animate, and drawing in the automation data with the cursor which now acts as a pencil tool.

Add volume fades to a channel [Beginner]

  1. 1
    Open Soundation and create a project
  2. 2
    Mark the channel you want to automate the volume of by clicking it
  3. 3
    Press A on your keyboard to reveal the automation lane, volume is the selected parameter by default
  4. 4
    Click on the line to add markers

Automate the parameter of an effect [Intermediate]

  1. 1
    Open Soundation and create a project
  2. 2
    Add an instrument or audio channel
  3. 3
    Select the channel and click “+ Add effect” in the bottom panel, pick the desired effect
  4. 4
    Right-click a knob, choose "Add automation to...", and start automating

How creative can you get? Check out our range of effects

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