Check out these five tips for a simple structure for mixing!
1. Pump up The Volume?
The art and science of balancing each channel is the foundation of starting any mix. This is where you become the Wizard of all Dynamic Control. Push on the faders and experiment for a while after you have recorded & Edited your tracks.
EQ and Compression play an instrumental role, but only interfere if you have improper balance. So keep your fingers away from any processing until you are on the level. Yes, you will have to adjust as you add compression, EQ, AUX Sends & Effects, but the rest of your mixing will be much more fun! Make it a point to spend 15-20 on your balancing and you will save 2 or three times that later on.
2. Get Sideways!
Theres nothing worse than every channel fighting for their position front and center. Find the right place for each element in the stereo spectrum, but nothing too drastic. Spread some love between the right and left speaker and try to keep it fairly even or one side might get jealous. Keep in mind a little bit in either direction goes a long way. Some say pan in mono. What’s that you say?! Yes, you can harness another superpower by switching over to mono for an alternate experience variance that will cure some of that separation anxiety.
3. Cut. It. Out.
Equalization is you samurai sword for protecting & enhancing your colors.
Slash away at the unwanted frequencies and boost the characteristics you wish to promote.
Have fun here and remember – you can always stop the bleeding. But don’t avoid going to commando, think before you EQ. Try to group & divide wisely in the spectrum and make sure boosting anything is at a minimum amount. Use Busses for your groups and remember to EQ your effects.
4. OH, The Pressure!
Compression can be your friend or foe. One minute it helps you breathe and the next – its choking you to death. Split personalities aren’t all that bad! Use the right approach and you will have a companion for life.
Take into consideration what you are compressing and the effect that it will have. You would never put too much pressure on the lead singer but you can always hit as hard as you want on drums. So play around with compression and test its results.
One simple vocal compression tactic is to use a low 2:1 ratio with a very low threshold. This will continuously compress the voice while still allowing it to breathe.
Use compression in a subtle way that doesn’t squash your song, period.Mix the loudest & most beautiful part first, then mix the rest. When mixing the remains parts of the song hold off on any further compression or limiters and see just how immaculate the synergy is first. Next, let the automation begin. Lastly, the number one rule: There are no rules only words of wisdom from those with experience that may help you.
5. Depth Perception.
Reverb, delay and chorus create a required depth in your mix. Nobody gets excited when they hear a two dimensional sound. Diversity is King. Some elements deserve to be ( and should be ) front and center and or dry, so don’t think everything has to overdone – remember diversity! Compression tends to glue tracks together in the dynamics, so does reverb space. Reverb is golden but not always the answer. But just like anything, too much of it is garbage. A little delay here and there never hurt anybody either.
Now what do I do?!
Well, you may just have the best mix you have ever created! Congratulations! Your mixing skills will improve over time. Practice makes perfect – But don’t ever let perfect get in the way of better!