Need help getting that professional sound? Check out our top 10 mixing tips to give new life to your tracks.
1. Make good use of filters.
Using filters is a great way to free up space in your mix. It’s common practice to apply high pass filters to almost every track in the mix (excluding kicks and bass) too free up clutter in the low end.
2. Keep your bass in the centre.
Kicks and bass tracks sound more prominent when limited to the centre of your mix. Try to avoid panning and keep them in mono where possible.
3. Don’t over do it with effects.
Effects are good in moderation but when you go over the top start adding them to all of your tracks things tend to start sounding chaotic. Delays and reverbs are the main culprit here but this can be sorted by keeping them on the auxiliary bus rather than adding a separate instance on every track.
4. Use side-chain compression to create space for other instruments.
This is great for dance music but it can work for other genres too. Side-chaining your bass to the kick drum will make your kick sound much more powerful.
5. Use EQ to cut rather than boost.
Using EQ to boost frequencies should be avoided at all costs. You can often get the same effect by cutting the offending frequencies and adjusting the level.
6. Stay out of the red.
When your mix goes into the red things start to clip pretty badly. It’s best to leave a little headroom that can be utilised during the mastering process.
7. Don’t be afraid to use a reference track.
Some people stray away from using reference tracks because they want their track to sound unique, however there’s no shame in using a commercial track to check that your track is up to scratch.
8. Check your mix in mono.
Checking that your mix sounds good in mono is important if you want it to be played on a big sound system. A lot of audio interfaces have a button to switch between stereo and mono but if this isn’t the case with yours then most DAWs have this feature built in.
9. Keep an eye on your volume.
Everything sounds better when it’s louder and it’s always tempting to crank up the volume on your monitors when your mixing. It’s good practice to change the volume from time to time; this will help to avoid ear fatigue. And remember if it sounds good at low volume it will sound good at any other volume.
10. Check your final mix on other playback devices.
Big commercial studios usually have two or three sets of monitors to check the mix but if you’re based in a home studio then you probably can’t justify the cost of a second set of speakers. However it’s good to check on a low level system such as a home hi-fi, car stereo or even cheap earphones. After all, this is how your listeners will hear it.
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