Mixing is a key part of your producing process. In order to obtain a super clean sound and make mastering simple, it is important to follow a few “must do”.
As a music producer myself with my project RMZ, I’m happy to provide you with 5 tried and proven tips that you must take into account if you want your track – and your music in general – to sound good.
1. Mix at low volume
Leaving headroom on your master track is key to have a proper mix. An easy way to do so is to lower each individual track of your project to – 6 db. By doing so, you ensure yourself of a -6 db headroom on your master track which will, later on, make mastering easy. The following picture shows what your volumes should look like.
The volume war is over, it is very important to keep the dynamics of your track. A common mistake is to use compression to raise the volume of an individual track. It is very important to understand what a compressor does and not to confuse volume with compression. If a track is too low compare to others, deal with volumes, NOT COMPRESSION.
Also remember that compression is a great tool if you record your own guitars, voices or any live instrument. But compression is way less useful on purely electronic instruments. Before using it, make sure you understand what a compressor does and when to use it.
3. Make good use of EQs & filters
EQs and Filters are one of the most important tools to shape a mix. Every single sound has a specific frequency range. Each individual track of your mix should be EQ’ed of filtered. It is very important to know which part of the frequency range you need and which you don’t. Using EQs and filters is mandatory if you want to avoid clashing frequencies.
- Cut the low-ends when possible and use high pass filters to leave room for your kick and basses
- Cut frequencies you don’t need instead of boosting the ones you want to stand out
- Put a high pass filter on your master when mixing the mids and uppers frequencies.
4. Panning is key
A good mix needs panning. When leaving everything in the middle, your track will very easily sound messy and confused. Stereo is a great way to separate instruments that use the same range of the frequency spectrum, and to clarify your sound. When panning, do not hesitate to drastically drag instruments on the sides. This works for everything except the lowest frequencies instruments which stay in the middle.
Also, remember to listen to the mono version of your track once you are done with panning (lots of sound systems in clubs are using mono signals).
5. Stop soloing tracks
Mixing is all about how your individual tracks will come together. Soloing a track during your mixing process is not a good idea. Try avoiding it as much as possible and remember: mixing is when everything comes together as one track.
6. And what about mastering?
We’re currently preparing a Groover Blog article about mastering. In the meantime, you can have a look to the platform LANDR which offers an intelligent mastering service on top of access to plugins, samples, music distribution… It’s worth exploring!