We recently asked him to divulge some juicy tips on music production, and so he gave us these very useful 10 TOP MIXDOWN TIPS:
1. FADERS DOWN
Bring all the faders down on the mixer. Work with the main elements of the track first and get them to a nice level, then start bringing up the rest of the track so they all sit nicely together. You'll quickly hear if there are any overlapping frequency ranges or unnecessary elements.
2. RENAME, COLOR, GROUP
Naming and coloring your tracks might seem obvious but you can quickly get in the flow and have 50 unnamed, all similar-looking tracks, which can get very confusing. This tip makes it easy to navigate when doing your final mix down. Grouping the tracks can also help you "glue" the sounds together through bus channels, allowing you to apply similar compression, EQ and other effects settings. This also gives you the benefit of only having to work with one channel rather than all the others that make up the group.
3. FILTER LOW END
You want to filter out all the unwanted sub/low end frequencies on certain tracks as they tend to take up a lot of space in your mix. Low cut a HPF (high pass filter) until you hear it start to make a difference to the sound you're working and then bring it back a little. The visual analyser with show you at what range you are cutting, so you can ensure you're not cutting any low end vital energy peaks intended for the sound source. When mixing your kick and bass as you go (yes you should be mixing as you produce), you must design/choose your sounds wisely and decide what will take the low/sub frequencies and what will sit above. Using a sidechain to also dip your bass (or any other overlapping sound) when the kicks plays can also add clarity and clean up your mix.The human ear can’t hear frequencies below 20Hz (most EQs start at this range anyway) but if its not eliminated you get get one digital noise through after the master.
4. TAKE YOUR TIME
The final mix down isn’t something you can bang out in five minutes. Take your time and make sure your giving each track enough attention. Remember to give your ears some rest after long periods of working. Equally don’t sit there for days or you might end up like this guy.
5. PLUGIN MASTER
There is no point in throwing a compressor, reverb and delay on everything just because someone said its what they do or its the way to do it, changing the parameters willy nilly and hoping for the best. You need to know how audio technology and your plugins work and why you are using them. This can make a big difference to your mix down and allow you to achieve the results you are looking for.
Find 1-3 tracks that are similar in style and professionally mixed down. Throughout the production process and during your final mixdown constantly compare what your track is sounding like to the reference track. Try and get the elements in your mix down sounding the same as the reference track. .
7. REGULAR RESTS
Aim to take a break every 50 minutes to keep your ears fresh. Your ears typically work better in the morning so think about when to start the mixdown process. Ear fatigue will play tricks on your brain. CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS POST ON MAXIMISING PRODUCTIVITY.
8.DON'T HIT THE REDS
Keep an eye on your output channel, make sure this isn’t hitting the reds/clipping. If it is or is pretty close, highlight all the track faders and bring them down to give the track enough headroom ready for the master. You need to be around -4dB to -6dB on the output channel before its sent to master.
9. DON'T OVER COMPRESS
You don’t have to put a compressor on everything. Not every instrument or synth used will have a big dynamic range so compression isn’t always needed.
10. STEREO IMAGING
Use some stereo imaging on certain chosen (not all) tracks to make the mix sound wider. You can either use the pan pot to send the sounds to each side or use a stereo imaging plugin. There are a few plugins that send the sound randomly to each side at different times which can sound cool when using this techno esc synths.
BONUS TIP... If you are new to production, it's completely acceptable (and encouraged) to seek the services of a professional mix engineer to mixdown your track. Learning the mixdown process is a skill acquired over years so don't think you need to know it right from the start. Even sitting in on a mixdown session will allow you to see how the pro's do it and gain some useful techniques that you can apply in your studio!
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