1. Use a Fixed Point in your Mix

This is one of the most essential points in properly mixing music in my opinion.

For example:

You are mixing an EDM track. The loudest element in an electronic dance music track is usually the Kick. Let`s say you put the Kick on -10db Full Scale. This will be our fix point in the track. Since this is the loudest element of the mix we already know that all following elements are less loud and set somewhere on the spectrum of the headroom. In general the higher frequency the signal —> the less amplitude. This means that very high elements such as for example cymbals and hihats are mixed a lot lower than for example Voice or Lead. This is a very basic thing and it is not to hard to understand. Don’t forget though: Rules are there to be broken. If you feel your snare must be louder than your kick and it works: Go for it. But this is a great way to start your mixing process in a clean way.

 

2. Make Mixing its own process

 

With the power of DAWs people nowadays often seem to forget that Mixing Audio is its own process. A couple of decades ago production and mixing were to entirely separate jobs. Often the classic way is also the way that works best. I know myself how tempting it is to start mixing while producing. It is far better to do the whole mixing process after the creative part and the composition of your track are done. This keeps your project clean while production and you avoid slowly destroying the original idea of your track.

 

2. Take regular breaks

Do not try to mix 10 tracks in one day. It just won`t work. Take your time and truly concentrate. Being a workaholic can be useful as a music producer but breaks are vital not only during the mixing process itself. In the past ten years, I almost never granted myself a break. Often working  7 days a week. I understand the pressure of the modern music industry to deliver and compete. The downside of overworking is poor quality and if you really overdo it stress symptoms or burn out syndrome.

Dog Mixing

 

3. The Master Bus stays clean!

There is a reason why commercial music get`s mastered before it gets sold. When you are producing a track, keep your master clean of and audio processors such as EQs, Saturators, Compressors or anything else. The only thing that makes sense on the master bus of your daw are different Analyzers such as the Waves PAZ Analyzer or the free VST Exoscope (download link).

 

 

4. Make intelligent use of group channels

Group channels can be useful but they also have the potential to mess up your mix completely. The most important thing to keep in mind while mixing with group channels is to NOT TOUCH THE CHANNEL FADER of the groups. If you rout several audio channels in one group and change the fader setting of this group on the mixer all data of the audio channels (fader settings, channel analyzer) will not show accurate data anymore.

Example:

You send your Kick and Bass in one Mono Audio Group Channel at -10dbFS. Then you decrease the signal of the audio group by -4db. Your fix point (-10dbFS) won`t be accurate anymore. What follows are usually sever mixing mistakes because of the skewed channel feedback.

5. Return another day

Sometimes it`s simply better to sleep over a mix instead of trying to forcefully push it out. Do not rush. Good things need time and patience.

 

Written by Parandroid

Photo by www.triphotos.net – @triphotosdigital – @lpx.film

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