Difference Between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing (With Table)

Different types of sounds in a cinematic experience keeps the audience more engaged. Without the right choice and mixing of sound, even a great script can become unpresentable. Both sound editing and sound mixing are a crucial part of storytelling and hence it is important to know how to distinguish between them. 

Sound Editing vs Sound Mixing

The difference between sound editing and sound mixing is that sound editing is the collection and creation of various types of sound which includes the dialogues of the actor/actress, the background effects, etc. On the other hand, sound mixing refers to the process where the sound mixer matches all the audio levels in a particular scene. 

In sound editing, all the dialogues are recorded/re-recorded, artificial sounds are created, etc in very high quality. Sound editing is done before sound mixing and creating high-quality sound is of utmost importance in sound editing.  For example, creating Foley sounds is a part of sound editing which includes sounds like heavy footsteps, breaking of glass, etc. 

Sound mixing is the task of mixing all the collection of audios (dialogues, music, Foley sounds, etc) such that the audio level together in a single scene. The collection of all the sounds (part of sound editing) is given to a sound mixer so that they blend them, adjust levels, and bring the best out of multi-track recording. 

Comparison Table Between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing

Parameters of ComparisonSound EditingSound Mixing
Job Description In sound editing, the main job is to create and collect different audio tracks. In sound mixing, a sound mixer blend all these tracks together to match their audio levels. 
Sound qualityThe sound quality of the recorder dialogues, Foley sounds, background music, etc should be very good. The multi-tracks should be blend in such a way that it brings out the best cinematic experience.  
Production processIn the process of music production, sound editing is the first step. After the collection and creation of all important audio tracks (sound editing), sound mixing is done. 
Multiple sourcesSound editing comprises a collection of audio tracks from multiple sources. Sound mixing comprises the blending of these multi-tracks collected by sound editors. 
ImportanceSound editors pick the right sounds for a movie and also edit to remove unwanted elements. Sound mixers make sure that the final audio level matches the aesthetic of the movie or a particular shot. 

What is Sound Editing?

Sound editing is the process in music production where the dialogues are recorded, sounds are artificially created in the studios, unnecessary disturbances are removed, etc. The final audio that we hear in a movie or a song album is a mixture of multiple audio tracks blended. And, before blending these tracks (sound mixing), the sound editors recorded different kinds of audio. 

In sound editing, different types of audio tracks are created. For example, the verbal narration that is the human voice is recorded, musical tracks are recorded, and most importantly different sound effects are created. The sounds effects are created artificially in the studio are called Foley sounds. For example, the noise of smashing glass, or a car falling off the clip. In real life, recording these types of audio can become a difficult task and hence they are produced in a studio. 

Today, many sound editing software is readily available on the market, and people apart from the professionals are also using it. So, the beginners can also learn about sound editing without any professional studio setup. 

What is Sound Mixing?

Sound mixing comprises the second part of sound production when all the audio levels are mixed. In the case of recording a song or mixing different audios for a movie, fine-tuning is extremely important. And, this fine-tuning is produced after proper audio mixing. Without proper sound mixing, the audio tracks don’t come together and the aesthetic of the project is disrupted. 

The sound mixers mostly use a pair of studio monitors to blend the audio tracks. Using studio headphones is important because otherwise, it gets very difficult to understand if the final track is coming together properly or not. The sound mixers can add subtle harmonies or extra layers to make the tuning accurate. 

Apart from fine audio-tuning and blending the audio levels to get a cinematic experience, good quality sound for sound mixing is also important. For example, if the sound recording is bad or there is too much background noise in the audio track, then it’s very difficult for sound mixers to work with it. So, before sound mixing, the best version of the recording should be created. 

Main Differences Between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing

  1. The main job of a sound editor is to collect and create various types of sounds and music whereas a sound mixer blends all these audio tracks and brings them to the same level.
  2. The sound quality while editing like the recorded dialogues and the Foley sounds should be of very high quality. On the other hand, during sound mixing the blending should be done in a way that it brings out the best of cinematic experience. 
  3. In the sound production process, sound editing is the first step. I.e., creation and collection of different audio tracks. After sound editing, it is the sound mixer’s job to blend these for multiple audio tracks. 
  4. While sound editing comprises of collection and creation of both natural sounds and synthetic sounds that are produced in a studio, sound mixing comprises the entire blending process. 
  5. Sound editing is important because the editors select the right audio tracks for a movie and remove unwanted noises whereas sound mixing is important because tracks are blended to match the aesthetic of the movie. 

Conclusion

The impact of sound in a movie is of utmost importance. It helps in creating suspense, builds a dramatic experience, and engages the audience. For creating such intimidating audio tracks and matching their audio levels, both sound editing and sound mixing are very crucial. 

Sound editing is the first step in sound production as it requires the collection and creation of various types of audio tracks. These range from recording dialogues to creating synthetic sounds in a studio. After these audio tracks are collected by the sound editors, sound mixers do the next job. They blend these tracks by setting proper volume levels, panning, etc. 

References

  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315106335-3/media-management-sound-editing-mixing-george-kalliris-charalampos-dimoulas-maria-matsiola
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-16401-1_5
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