In a world where most have home studios, I share my Top 3 Mixing Tips
In my line of work, I come across many different levels of artist with different qualities of music. I find that most are dedicated to improving their craft. However, many don’t have the audio engineering expertise to produce a high quality sound recording. Also many don’t know how to mix vocals and instrumentals. So today I’m going to share with you my top 3 essential mixing tips.
The first thing I do when mixing a track is adjust the volume fader on each individual track. This ensures every sound has it’s own place in the mix. This is essential as a good balance could already have your mix sounding half decent. You want to make sure none of your tracks aren’t too hot (loud). Do not be alarmed if the master output is low as this can always be fixed with a limiter or maximizer. Always balance your tracks at a lower volume as this helps to give each track it’s own place.
The second thing I like to adjust is the panning. This simple technique is often overlooked but provides depth of sound. Use panning to further give each individual sound it’s own spot within the mix. Don’t always pan hard right or left, be willing to place the pan pot at different angles. Also give automating your pan a try. You could potentially have the verses of the track in mono but stereo in the chorus.
Equalizing tends to be the most daunting task when artists mix their track but it needn’t be. You want to use EQ on each track to find the frequencies you think sound good and those you would like to highlight less.
The easiest technique I was taught when I first started mixing is to boost and sweep. This is means you raise the db (decibels) of the lowest frequency and ‘sweep’ all the frequencies. Do this till you find what you wish to get rid of and what to keep. Try to use subtractive EQ (the taking away of frequencies) rather than Additive EQ (the adding of frequencies) where you can.
You also want to use what are called High & Low pass filters to ensure you leave space for the tracks with dominating frequencies in that area to shine. A low pass filter means that you cut off the higher frequencies, keeping the lower ones and it is the opposite for a high pass filter.
My last EQ tip is to always EQ whilst in Mono so you can hear what sounds clash and subtract those frequencies so the other track can come through. Not everybody is going to be able to take advantage of your full stereo mix so it’s essential that your mix isn’t muddy in mono.
So let’s summarize what we have gone through today. First you want to balance your mix to give each track it’s own place. Then you want to pan some tracks to further separate your tracks. The final touch is to add some EQ, preferably in mono so that none of the frequencies from your tracks clash with each other. You can also add reverb and delay but that is at your own discretion.
I hope this can help you with how to mix vocals and how to mix instrumentals too. Let me know how you get on with your mixes and if there are any other topics you’d like me to cover too!
Peace & Love,