How Do You Mix Your Music?
At Now You Tech, we have prepared some important information about how to mix your music correctly in this article.
Beginners Mixing Guide
What Is Audio Mixing?
Mixing is the process of taking recorded channels and putting them together. The channels are mixed using various processes such as EQ, compressor, and reverb. The purpose of mixing is to bring out the best in your multi-channel recording by adjusting levels, panning, and time-based sound effects (chorus, reverb, delay). The goal is to shape your arrangement with interrelated and meaningful sounds. The multi-channel recording has multiple separate channels (also called stem).
There is no such thing as a right or wrong part. The final output of a multi-channel recording is also known as a mixdown. Mixing is the last step before the master phase. Whether you record tracks with microphones and pre-amps or use pre-recorded sample packs, learning how to mix for yourself is essential. Taking control of your artistic and creative vision will take your music to the next level and make you a better producer. Before we dive deep into the subject, we have some tips that we would like to share with you. “Taking control of your artistic and creative vision will take your music to the next level.
Choosing Mixing Software
There are tons of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) to choose from. Which DAW will be best for you is entirely up to you. Here are some of the best DAWs to help you get started.
Get to know your DAW software closely. A knowledgeable mixing professional knows very well the DAW he uses and uses it really crazy. Don’t deceive your DAW. Use it correctly and enjoy all the benefits.
Prepare For Your Mix
Whichever DAW you use, basically all mixing principles are the same. Most DAWs provide stylish templates if you’re not sure how to get started with mixing.
Although most of these are basic templates, you can choose from them. If you don’t see the template you need, yourself. Creating your own template is a great step towards improving your mixed style.
Name Your Channels Correctly
Name your channel names properly. In three months, you won’t remember where our third mix’s guitar channel is, if you called that channel “Audio track 48” you’re in big trouble. But if you give your channel a “lead guitar”, then you won’t be confused when you turn on your mix.
Color Your Channels
Bad naming adds unnecessary studio time to your session. Color code your groups of parts. Color code your channels. For example, make all your drum parts yellow, all your vocals blue, and all your guitars green. This will help with things like migration and tracking your session’s tiers. Take two minutes to get the correct color code. Save hours searching later.
So what are the basics of mixing? As with most processes, and especially when it comes to audio mixing, everyone has their own ideas. Who can know right or wrong? However, everyone has basic mixing basics to adhere to. Believe it or not, you have to mix before you mix.
What are the main textures you are looking for in your piece? What kind of space are you trying to create? Is it clear and sharp? Or distant and resounding? Try to remove any excess from your voices in the early stages of recording. When recording or selecting your first sounds, think about the big picture. Keep original records as far away from heavy processing as possible. Get a sense of where you are heading for Mixdown in advance. Ensure good sounds early and avoid endless fine adjustments later in the mixing stage.
Use Common Audio Effects Channels (Buses Sends)
TIP: Avoid endless fine adjustments in the mixing phase.
By sending multiple sounds to an effect channel, you can apply the same processors at once. This is very useful. Try it on drums. This allows you to process all your drum sounds as a single unit. Apply the same amounts of reverb or a delay or compressor to give them the impression that they’re all in the same place.
We guarantee you will get very useful results.
Planning the Panorama
So what is panning? panning helps you control the width of a mix. The left to right width of the stereo field. Panning ensures that sounds are properly placed in your mix. Either to the left or right of the stereocenter. Keep your heavier or lower sounds closer to the center. This means your bass or kick sounds. Use these as a centering force that you can workaround. If everything is panned centrally, your mix will sound flat or crowded.
Now is the time to get to work and mix. The basis of the mix can be divided into three basic areas. EQ, Compressor, and Reverb. Although the mix has many faces, these three make up 90% of the process. If you perfect these 3 areas, all the rest will come naturally.
What is an Equalizer?
Every sound consists of frequencies. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz). Equalization is the art of boosting, cutting, and balancing all the frequencies in a mix to get the sound you want.
You will often hear the frequency spectrum described as high (highs), medium (mids), and low (lows). Brass instruments have a very low-heavy, boomy sound. Their output is mostly low in the frequency spectrum. Alternatively, a snare drum or hi-hat is usually much higher pitched, so they usually appear at mid or high frequencies. Even if we can put these sounds in the generally high and low categories, all sounds will have important information in both highs and lows. Keep this in mind when mixing.
Now is the time to shape your mix. Carving EQ may appear similar to corrective EQ. Because it is. Only in this step, you correct your frequency considering other parts. Everything will start to sound a little better at this step. Channels start to interact. This may sound crazy, but to create a good EQ sometimes you need to cut out good parts of a frequency. But don’t worry. Do this so that all your channels can be heard better. It will sound even crazier, but at this stage, it might sound bad even when your channel is played solo. No worries. If you take the right steps, your mix will sound great.
Think of your song as a novel. Not every piece can be the main character. There must be other characters to fill the story. Carving puts your characters in the line. For example, sculpting the EQ allows you to remove unnecessary lower ends from your keys to avoid masking the kick and bass. You can have two items fighting each other on the same frequency. Like vocals and synths. Make space for each by cutting frequencies in one while increasing the same range in the other.
This is the last and most creative phase of your equalizer journey. It is the section where you transform your track into exactly what you want to hear. Normally we can call this step in development or sound design. Give your channels their personality. Dress them up. There is an equalizer for just about everything. Now is the time to skip your vocals from the speakers. Or kick your kick and blow your snare drum. Or make those synth lines more heartbreaking. Try a few different EQ plugins. Put 2 or 3 different EQs in a row. Some EQs will be good at one thing and not another. So put them together and get the best of everything. There is no wrong way to do this.
What Is a Compressor?
The compressor is the process of regulating the dynamic range. This is done with a compressor that sets certain limits on how much of a frequency is allowed to pass. It enhances the quieter parts and lowers the louder sounds, providing a more consistent and balanced overall sound. The amount applied depends on the compressor ratio. Higher rates affect the dynamic range more. So why do we use it? Dynamic range isn’t a good thing? Right, dynamics are good.
But remember that you’re trying to get a consistent level in the mix. If something is too loud, it will stand out and be awkward. Finding a good balance of compression is an art that requires listening and learning. Is this sound similar to adjusting the faders in your DAW? It must be. It’s basically what a compressor does, but be careful not to get automatically caught up in it. Applying too much compression is dangerous. Using the only compression to test and balance levels in a mix will result in a dull and tiring mix. Use the compressor in conjunction with the volume (gain) for the best results.
Finding the Right Mix Repeating
Finding the right mix through repetition is not a one-stop-shop for all these processes. Mercilessly come back and make minor adjustments over and over. Everything will fall apart before it all comes together. Mixing is the process of foaming, rinsing, and repeating. Continue until you get the perfect mix. A good mix usually takes several versions and multiple sessions before it gets just right.