5 Tips to Top Your Mix

Julia Pernicone
Julia Pernicone on Apr 11, 2016

Guest post by MixButton.com

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Getting the right mix for your recordings is an essential—though often overlooked--step before mastering and releasing your songs.  Mixing helps tie together all of the parts of your arrangement and make them enter the listener’s ear as a seamless, cohesive sound.  If you’re recording and producing your own songs, learning how to get started mixing is crucial.

Below, our friends at MixButton give you a brief insight into some of the mixing techniques they use that could help you achieve a better end product.

1. Initial Thoughts

Simply write down your initial thoughts with pen and paper upon listening to your recorded track, and what direction you feel you want the track to go in. Write down how you want each section to make you feel, and any specific effects you think could work with fresh ears.

This is a simple process that is often overlooked. But laying down your initial instincts for the track instead of figuring out half way through the mix is important.

There is only one chance for a first impression so you must capitalize on that and capture your ideas from the start.

2. Mono Image EQ

Many of us want to get the mix sounding good early on, but mixing is a gradual process. A quick pan to one side or the other often misleads your ear into hearing the respective instrument cleaner that it actually is. This is because the instrument is no longer competing in a frequency space.

Without disrupting your individual tracks, make sure the final output bus is in mono and start to EQ the different instruments.

As they are all on top of each other and competing for space, you will find when you treat them you will have to work harder and have to be more precise.

After making sure all instruments can be heard and are working well together, change the final output back to stereo and you will find your mix sounding a lot better.

3. Fine Automation Key for Feeling

It is important to remember that music has to make people feel something, as that is the intent of the artist. A big give away of many amateur mixers is that the sections do not really move to each other and so the track does not connect with the listener.

Fine automation on a DAW or fader riding is crucial with many instruments, especially legato style sounds and notes such as voice or strings. Obviously the performer has a responsibility to give the recording dynamics and movement, but it is also the responsibly of the mixer to bring that to the listener’s ear. This is especially vital with the main vocal.

4. Stereo Bus Cleaning

This is a tip for near the end of your mixing process to deal with any final frequency disruptions or inconsistencies.

On the stereo bus, place any linear EQ and select either a high pass or low pass filter. The idea is to isolate the low or high frequencies. For example, a low pass at 300hz would give you a good idea of how the bottom end of your mix is working and if there are any clashing sounds that you need to address. The same concept goes with the high-end frequencies.

5. 1db or not db

Even Shakespeare struggled with the concept of mixing.

What he learned was that a mix is rarely transformed with one action or a secret switch that suddenly makes the mix sound good. Rather, it takes many actions and techniques to treat individual parts of the track to culminate in an overall better mix.

While you may not think 1db here or 2 db there makes an immediate difference in the sound, we have to mix with the vision that these little changes together affect the overall sound. It is important to be patient and precise in the way that you work, as many small changes can make a big difference.

Thank you for reading this article and hopefully it gives you a little insight on how we work here at MixButton. We are an online mixing studio for the masses ready to take your music to the next level--simply upload your tracks and get your mixed track back within a week!

Visit our website to check out our pricing and listen to some samples to find out what we could do for your music.

MixButton is also offering a 10% discount on its services to all Songtrust members!  Use the code: STR16

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