5 essential mixing tips

Hey, make your mix sound more polished and ready with these 5 easy detailed tips

These tricks work for just about every sub-genre of psy trance and other genres too.

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So here is 5 essential tips to make your mix sound better

1. Get a stable mix

  • You can’t have your tracks all over the place. You can’t have all your instruments at the same volume either.
  • Setting levels right is critical for the quality of your final mix. You need to be able to hear all the instruments, yet give them each a place, because all instruments have to have their spot.
  • Play with just the volume faders, and try to achieve a good balance between the instrument. Don’t touch any panning knob, don’t use any plugins. Just volume faders. This is real core mixing.
  • Don’t forget to leave some headroom! Your mix should not clip. Don’t be afraid to turn your tracks down, and turn your speakers up, this way you will create some free headroom.
  • While you are mixing make sure you’re in mono.  Mixes that sound good in mono sound GREAT in stereo.

2. Equalizer

  • If instruments are using the same frequency range, then EQ can help make them sit well together.
  • A nice cut in a less important instrument in that frequency range can go a long way to free up space for others.
  • The low end of your mix should be occupied by the Kick, bass and percussion. The other instruments do not have a lot of information in the low end, but they have some that might add up and make your mix sound muddy if you’re not careful.
  • If you have no idea how to EQ effectively use a High Pass Filter on all your other channels, and get rid of the useless low end. It’s really the simplest way to use EQ and creating a free headroom space on your lowend.

3. Compression

  • Use sidechain compression on your bassline to glue it with your kick drum.
  • Use a compressor on your drums to fatten them up, and make them punchy.
  • Use a slow attack if you want some snap, or use a faster attack to have them fat. Another option is to send a copy of the drums to another bus, compress it heavily and blend the compressed drums with the un-compressed (or lightly compressed) original to get the best of both world.
  • Compress your bass track to tame the attack a little and get more sustain and body.
  • The point is to make your tracks more consistent and punchy, so the compression should not be obvious.

 

(Compression allows us to focus dynamics so there is less difference between the quiet and loud parts and more overall consistency. It’s a necessary tool for mixers, but one that is also easily misunderstood and misused. If you squeeze too hard with compressors on multiple instruments, the mix will start to sound choked. 

Without any real difference in level between the quiet and loud parts, your waveform will look like a brick, and make for a fatiguing listening experience. If proper dynamics equal movement, then an over-compressed mix feels stiff and annoying. When you notice these signs in a mix, pull your compressor settings back to find a balance where you can preserve the original dynamics, but keep things tidy.)

4. Reverb

  • Use Reverb on drums and leads to give them space. Every instrument might benefit from a little reverb, but you can go little further on drums and leads.
  • Be careful not to drown your mix in reverb. A High Pass Filter on the reverb track can also help you avoid muddiness. Sometimes it needs just a little touch of reverb to make it sound, as it comes from different space.

5. Automations

  • Sometimes, even after compression, you might notice the end of leading instrument getting lost in the mix. Using volume automation, a slight 2db boost can make that final syllable more audible and stay still with the rest of your mix.
  • You can also use volume automation to feature some instruments in certain parts of the track, or to tame them.
  • Do whatever you feel is right for the track. It might be a subtle effect, panning automation, muting some tracks on some parts, or doubling others and adding some crazy effects on one of them. Always experiment with everything. This way you can inspire yourself and come up with some interesting results !

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