Category Archives: Learn Mantis

Lesson 4 – Compression


Compression is a powerful tool to help you get the best possible sound out of your mixes.

Compression is used as an automatic volume control, and is usually used to reduce runaway transients with too much amplitude for their own good. However, there are several more interesting ways to use compression as well (Phil Moffa has an awesome post on using compression in “side-chaining”, and electronic musician has a great post on using compression creatively).

There are several things that all compressors use to function:


Threshold- The threshold is the chosen dB level after which all gain will be reduced

Ratio- The ratio is how “harsh” the compression will be. 2:1 is mild compression, 20:1 is severe and moving into limiter territory.   

Knee- At the threshold, how linear vs. curved the compression will be is called the knee (think of the bending of a knee!).

Attack/Release- How quickly the compression happens and ends. 

Compression takes time to master, and it takes listening to lots of mixes before you can get a handle on it. Also, it takes a keen ear to hear what needs extensive compression and what doesn’t need any compression (for example, a solo piano performance probably needs little to no compression, so as to capture all of the dynamic subtleties of the performance, while rap vocals are usually compressed much more aggressively).

So, use your ear, practice, and good results will follow.    

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Lesson 3 – EQ Techniques


Knowing how to effectively EQ is something that will clean up your mixes tremendously.

Things to remember:

- Always bypass, see how things sound with and without EQ

- Sweep your frequencies, listen for the “sweet spot”

- Don’t over do it! Sometimes subtractive EQ (lowering of frequency levels) can be more effective than additive EQ (boosting of frequencies)

- Hi-Pass filters are great for instant mix clean ups, it’s a good idea to hi-pass every track except the low end tracks like bass and kick.

- And, as always, trust your ear. If it doesn’t sound good to you, it probably doesn’t sound good!

Check back next week for the next lesson!   


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Lesson 2 – Basic Mixing

In this lesson, we’re going to take the raw tracks that we recorded in Lesson 1, and learn some basic mixing techniques to make the song sound more polished. For those of you new to music production, mixing is the act of taking tracks that you have recorded and adjusting the volume levels and sound character of those tracks to create a finished song.  This includes raising and lowering the volume of individual tracks so that the overall performance sounds natural and clear, and also using effects, such as reverberation, compression, and EQ to give your mix that “special” quality.   

In this first lesson on mixing with Mantis, we’re going to take a look at adjusting the volume levels and using reverb to give the song polish. 

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 Lesson 2: Basic Mixing – Adjusting Volume Levels and Using Reverb

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Lesson 1 – Starting Out

In the first lesson, we’re going to be going through the process of launching Mantis and recording a few tracks. Mantis can be launched wherever you have an Internet connection and a browser. The Mantis console is tied to every single session that is created on Indaba music, so you can launch the console from any session on the site that you have joined or created. In this lesson we’ll also give you a brief overview of the tools and functions in Mantis, and we will go into more depth on each of these functions in future lessons. 


 Lesson 1: Part 1 – Launching the Console, Overview of Console Features


Lesson 1: Part 2 – Recording a Song From Scratch


Quick Review:  Launching the Console and Recording

- Click on My Studio and “Create a New Session”. Rename your session so that you can find it once you open Mantis. 

- To open Mantis click the “Record, Edit, Mix” tab. 

- Once Mantis loads, find the session you are recording to and create a new mix.

- Save your mix to the session. It’s important to save often, if you close Mantis without saving all of your work will be deleted. 

- Inside Mantis there are many features to use, explore them to get a feel for the layout of Mantis, this will help with your work flow later on. Also, make a note of the various shortcuts. When working with a DAW, it’s often a good idea to learn shortcuts and hot keys, it will help you move quicker during the recording process.  

- To start recording, create a new track by clicking inside the arrangement portion, a new track will appear.

- Arm your track, and the audio will be set to go using your computers default audio input (usually your built-in-microphone, but if you have an audio interface plugged in, it will default automatically to your interface). 

- Click the record button and the track will begin to record.  

-When you’ve finished recording click the stop button and save your work!

- If you wish to create another track or add another layer, click below your last track to add another. 

- Remember to save! Once you save, all the tracks will be uploaded into your session and your mixdown will be saved for the next you wish to work on it. 

Come back next week for another Mantis lesson! 

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Welcome to Learn Mantis


Welcome to the “Learn Mantis” lesson blog. In this blog we’ll be going through the various cool things you can do with Mantis in a hands-on, in-depth way. Follow along each week as we take you through everything Mantis can do! 

Remember, if you need any additional help using Mantis, you can always visit our help section


Indaba Music. 

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