Masterful Music Mixing – Tips For a Better Mix!
Music mixing is an intense and elaborate subject. There are many schools of thought regarding mixing and many tips and tricks out there to help you with your own home recordings. Here is a selection of tips that can make your mix better. When you need your mix to sound greater, better and more dynamic, try out a few of these suggestions.
A mix should sound organic and on the move. Try automating your strings parts, use volume, reverb or effects to make your long sustained notes breathe with the song. These sounds are the undercurrent of your song and should flow from one place to the other.
Don’t settle for presets
Many newbies just use the presets that come with their software program. They don’t think of the context of which they are using these presets, i.e. their song. Maybe that compressor doesn’t do anything to that particular instrument because the preset is just way too off in context with everything else. Work with your plugins and try to understand the parameters instead of slapping on presets.
Find the perfect reverb
I like a plate reverb with a 1.2 second decay time. Does that mean I use it on every song? No. I experiment with the reverbs I have and see if I can find something different than last time. Maybe a plate reverb doesn’t fit this particular song. Something that sounded really bad last time can sound really edgy and cool this time. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and take your time in selecting the correct reverb.
20 tracks with 20 different reverbs and delays is going to clutter up the song. Take care to not add effects just to add effects. It has to be useful, creative and in the best interest of the song. Once you have too many things going on it’s easy to clutter up your mix.
What’s the most interesting part?
What is the driving part of the song? Is it the amazing lead vocal? Or maybe it’s the driving acoustic guitar. Whatever it is, find that point of interest and build your mix around it. Once you find the driving part of the song you can start adding little effects and stuff to enhance it even more.
Automate your mix
One you’ve gotten a great sounding mix together, that little extra touch of greatness can sometimes be accomplished with automation. Dynamic vocals, interchanging effects and different reverbs and delays. By automating all these things and following the techniques above you are well on your way to crafting a great mix.
Next time you’re in a rut and you can’t find that little extra that you think your mix needs, try some of the tips and see if you get inspired to figure out a better way to mix your music.