Once your tracks are recorded, we enter the mixing process. This process blends all of the individual sounds down to the final Stereo or 5.1 audio. Every instrument should be carefully assessed in how it fits into the mix and affects the overall sound.
1. MUSIC REFERENCES
Start choosing up to 3 music references within your mix style. Import these songs into your DAW, and compare them with your ongoing mix, on a dynamic and frequency aspect.
2. PAUSE BREAK
After mixing for an hour or even more, get up and do something else for 5 or 10 minutes… walk the dog, drink a cup of coffee… anything else… and when you come back to your mix, you’ll notice what’s you’ve been doing right and wrong more accurately!
Try mixing on what we call, low volume. Hearing fatigue will be quick if you mix on high volume and will lead you to wrong judgments of key mixing elements! High volume mixing with poor acoustics will also lead you to the wrong assessment on key frequencies!
4. GAIN & DYNAMICS
First, try compression, then equalizing and volume automation (music dynamics) on your tracks. After you a tight mix, then come creativity with reverbs, delays, etc…
Use subtractive equalization! Listen… listen which frequencies you can ‘soften’ or even remove! Many recordings (specially made at home studios) need some kind of subtractive equalization, to soften or even to remove an unwanted set of frequencies masking other instruments that are very important and need to be heard! more clearly!
You should use it, but very little! Less is more when using reverbs because if you use long verbs you’ll lose sound definition and strength! Add the verb in stages and increase it ’till you feel that the used verb is giving to that track the desired effect!
We go back to this subject because compressors were designed (gear and plugins) to be used on whatever track you’re working but not to be heard.
Of course, you can use compression with to have an enormous effect, just like a reverb or delay effect which is perfectly audible, however, its main purpose is to be used without being heard or noticeable to the most common person!
Our advice is to use compression that may be printed, compress or limit the track with the choice of leaving or not transients and musical dynamics to breathe. Use more than one compressor on each track, to give the track more musical coloration and control its dynamics in a more natural way. Try small threshold and ration doses with a soft knee!
Listen to your mix with your eyes closed. Use your natural senses, in this case, your hearing capacity! Exercise your frequency earing capabilities because your eyes may lead you to wrong decisions!
Get up and do something else… and at the same time, listen to your mix… just listen to it!!!
Listening to your mixes on different listening points and sets, like with headphones or in your car, will give you a different perspective of what’s happening with your mix. If find frequency sets that on other environments and monitoring sets jump up, then you probably need a review on your mixing acoustic spot and environment!
10. FINAL MIX
Your mix should have enough headroom before you send it to your mastering engineer. Take out any limiters from your master stereo buss and see if your mix peaks don’t go up more than the -6dB on the master buss metering (which should be your absolute maximum)! If you send a mix below -6dB, your mastering engineer will be delighted and you will have a better master for sure!
We will wait for your mixing tips and tricks or any comments! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends!