Pink, or sharp noise as it is also called, is a so-called colored noise with an even energy distribution in all octaves. This means that the noise is of a descending nature and decreases by three decibels for each octave, in contrast to, for example, white noise which is constant over all audible frequencies. Pink noise is used in tinnitus therapy, among other things, and is reminiscent of the sound of rushing water, something most people find pleasant to listen to. The reason for this is that we humans do not hear frequencies linearly from 0-20000 Hz, but logarithmically based on octaves.
You can use this to your advantage when mixing, not least when it comes to putting the basic balance, whether you work with acoustic, virtual or sampled instruments. Before we start, it is important to understand that mixing with pink noise does not in any way guarantee a good-sounding mix, but rather intends to act as a guide. The point of pink-noise mixing is thus not to create a perfectly balanced mix. Instead, it is about giving you a starting point that utilizes as large a part of the audible (usable) frequency range as possible. Furthermore, the result will be better if you start from dry ducts, free from equalizers, compressors and the like.
Start by downloading the following rosa brus which I adjusted to the volume -20 LUFS. This ensures a reasonable level of mixing without the risk of controlling the master channel in your DAW.
Import the pink noise on an empty channel and insert it solo mode. Play the noise.
Activate the solo mode on one channel at a time and adjust the volume so that the pink noise and the instrument channel are heard approximately equally. This requires some practice and you can experiment with both headphones and speakers to see what suits you best.
Then continue the same with other channels, still one by one together with the noise.
When you have gone through all the channels remove the pink noise and plays the mix.
You will initially notice that bass-rich instruments tend to get a little too much space. This is due to the fact that they generally have less high-frequency content and therefore need to be increased in volume to be heard through the pink noise. It can also feel difficult to place, for example, a dynamic song recording. This is perfectly ok, the point of pink-noise mixing is, as I said, to set a basic level which you then fine-tune and work on.
Pink Noise as a plugin for Windows and Mac OS can be downloaded here. Remember to set the volume so that it peaks around -12 dBFS in your DAW, which corresponds to approximately -20 LUFS.
Feel free to ask questions or comment on the article in the comment field below, and we will spin the topic together. Or if you prefer to discuss mixing in the “Mixing and mastering” section of the Studios forum here!
Fredagstipset is a recurring series where Studio writer Jon Rinneby shares tips every Friday in, among other things, recording and mixing. Here you will find all Friday tips.