audio-mixing-techniques

Experiment With These 20 Essential Practical Audio Mixing Techniques

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Before I start with this post, try this electrifying "coffee fat-burning trick” that can boost your health, metabolism and energy at the same time by just drinking your favorite drink.. coffee!

If you’re like most women trying to lose weight… you diet, you count calories, you tear up the treadmill, and…nothing.

That’s how I was was feeling…

I did “everything right” and never lost an inch. My Energy was gone..

Until I stumbled on this delicious electrifying "coffee fat-burning trick” and electrifying my metabolism and torched off fat from my problem areas in just 13 days by drinking Coffee.

And because of this one simple shift in my eating, I shed pounds and inches from my body without starving myself and without a lick of exercise!

With the same “reduce hunger” trick I dropped a good amount of weight in the FIRST month and I shocked my doctor by completely reversing ALL pre-diabetes symptoms!

If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim your life inside the body you DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.

Most of the time, experienced producers and engineers will find that the audio mixing methods, advice, and hints listed here are self-evident. These are just tried-and-true recommendations that will help you get better outcomes in your home recording studio. Audio mixing techniques.

These suggestions, like most things related to audio and music production, are not requirements. There are reputable producers who either completely disregard these strategies or use the exact reverse of some of them. Remember that, then.

While advanced producers might occasionally pick up some helpful audio mixing techniques or ideas, beginner producers will still need to take some things into consideration and put them into practice.

Let’s get started now…

Experiment With These 20 Essential Practical Audio Mixing Techniques

audio-mixing-techniques
audio-mixing-techniques

1. Reference

Like me and most other producers, you probably don’t have the luxury of a massive, expensive set of speakers and a beautifully planned, custom-built pro or even semi-pro studio. If you did that then, and you’ve had enough time to get to know your speakers and environment, you may be able to produce mix selections that consistently work well on different systems.

How then can you make your mixes sound decent without fancy equipment and in a less-than-ideal house or bedroom studio?

By compromising, you can achieve equilibrium! This is the method…

Make use of as many different systems as you can to refer to your mixes.

The significance of referencing your mixes across a broad range of playback platforms cannot be overstated. Yes, you will eventually get to know your normal studio and the monitors well enough to be able to trust them. However, you’re probably going to pick up a new piece of knowledge about your mix each time you consult it elsewhere.

Therefore, to discover a balance that works well across multiple playback devices, try using earbuds, headphones, different speakers, and as many different places inside and outside of your space as possible. As you listen, make comments and fix any problems in your mix until, in most cases, you’re happy with the way the mix sounds.

2. Keep an eye on those levels.

When mixing, try not to monitor at too high a volume for too long!

So, when making music, how loud is too loud?

This might easily spiral into an extended technical argument over SPL levels, speaker distance, and room dimensions. Let’s avoid going there! 😉

Rather, just to be cautious, mix most of the time at a conversational volume or below.

One short- and long-term benefit of working at a lower level is that you can save your ears. This implies that you can operate for extended periods of time before auditory tiredness distorts your perception. It also implies that you won’t eventually end up doing additional long-term harm to your hearing.

Naturally, during the mixing process—especially when you’re choosing frequencies—you should check at higher volumes. Avoid continuing to work at that level, and try to limit the amount of loud monitoring that you perform.

Monitoring at just below conversation level for the majority of the time, with really low levels occasionally to ensure the balance is maintained, and higher levels occasionally to ensure it’s still appropriate, is a sensible approach.

Working at extreme volumes all the time will result in poor decision-making due to equal-loudness curves. If you work too loudly, the perceived bass and highs will make you feel like everything is fantastic, but in reality, the noise will be deceiving you. If you work too low, you can be overcompensating for the exaggerated mids and overdoing the highs and lows.

Now, if you’re still inclined to grab an SPL meter, crank up some pink noise, and calibrate your system correctly to ensure that you’re monitoring at peak performance most of the time, be sure to check out this excellent step-by-step guide on the calibration procedure at Sound-on-Sound.

3. Shut your eyes and lift your ears.

Although meters and analyzers serve a purpose, the sound of the music is ultimately what counts.

So, at least once or twice during your mixing process, try to keep an eye on things with as little visual distraction as possible. Shut off the lights, switch off your computer monitor, close your eyes, and simply listen.

You’ll be astounded at the level of impartiality this can provide. We tend to give a lot of conscious weight to what we see because our visual sense is our primary sense. Therefore, when we remove the visual stimulus, our conscious mind is able to concentrate more on what we hear.

4. Mono Check—Yes, It’s Still There!

Always give a mono reference to your mix.

Mono playback is, of course, becoming less and less common in modern society. But because mono is still a thing, at least ensure that crucial elements of your mix, like voices, aren’t adversely affected when you total your left and right channels.

If you run a fast mono check, it might at least help you identify a phase problem in your mix that you might have missed otherwise.

5. Remain contextual

Refrain from spending too much time playing an instrument alone. Avoid adjusting EQ or compression in solo mode unless absolutely necessary.

Recall that the goal of audio mixing is to blend the sounds of numerous instruments into a cohesive whole. After all, you want to pay attention to the entire mix, and adjusting one instrument will affect the entire mix.

6. Move off of the L2!

This is a somewhat divisive subject.

Is it appropriate to always use a limiter on your master bus? While some say nay, others say yay.

I’d prefer not to say that.

When mixing audio, don’t leave a brick-wall limiter like the L2 on your master bus. Limiting your mix bus during the mixing procedure yields no benefits. It’s also challenging to determine whether or not any peaks in your mix surpass digital 0dB because of the limiter.

However, a master bus compressor works well, so if you haven’t used one before, I suggest you give it a try. When applied correctly, master bus compression can significantly improve the coherence of a mix.

7. Use Compression Caution

Steer clear of excessive compression. An excessive amount of compression on several tracks can soon result in a mix that is flat, lifeless, and one-dimensional. The final bus may potentially experience undesired distortion as a result of excessive compression.

Remember at all times that when you use several serial compressors, you increase the ratios with each subsequent compressor in your chain rather than adding them.

Therefore, the signal is subjected to a total ratio of 16:1 after applying a compressor with a 2:1 ratio and another with an 8:1 ratio. If you don’t take care of that, dynamics will be greatly reduced. Not to mention that at some point, perhaps during mastery, you will be limiting yourself. Assume that the limiter has a “subtle” 10:1 ratio. On the same audio, you now have an incredible 160:1 ratio! You got dynamics, dude?

Make a point of compressing less rather than more. It’s not always necessary to add compression when sound design and selection are strong. There’s always the option to add compression afterwards. While it isn’t hard to add additional dynamic range to a pancake mix with some production magic, it is frequently too much work.

You will thus hear the effects if you proceed cautiously at each step!

8. Group Interactions

Instead of compressing individual instruments, try compressing groupings of instruments.

This can frequently assist you in getting more organic and logical outcomes. Of course, there are situations in which you want to compress specific tracks. Compressing instruments in groups typically results in mixes that seem more natural.

Thus, only add compression to individual instrument channels when necessary; otherwise, apply compression to your groups first.

9. Advice on Relationships

Putting something you’d like to hear more of in the mix seems only reasonable. However, you might not always benefit from this strategy. To get the same outcome, first try to figure out what you need to cut out of the mix. By doing this, you may maintain better control over the overall levels to protect the headroom on your master bus and cultivate a more unbiased listening style.

Learning to listen to different instruments is a nice thing to do. A prime example would be your bass and kick, which frequently cooperate. When adjusting the EQ, compression, or level on your bass, pay attention to your kick and vice versa. This compels you to mix in context and listen with an awareness of relationships.

You may apply the kick and bass example to your effects’ wet/dry levels as well as to synths and bass, keys and vocals, and kick and snare. When adjusting parameters, you should always listen to the opposing instruments and the full mix.

10. Pots & Pans

Two instruments should never be in the exact same pan position. Achieving a satisfactory spacing between two or more instruments becomes more challenging when they are at the exact same pan position.

Of fact, some panning methods, such as LCR, totally defy this recommendation, and as a result, your mix will frequently contain mono sounds. However, if two sounds are competing for attention in the mix and have similar frequency contents, you may usually resolve the issue by slightly shifting the pan position of one or both of the instruments.

This may eliminate frequency conflicts and eliminate the need for EQ.

11. Pen and Paper

It’s incredibly simple to go into a kind of hypnotic trance when producing or mixing music. You are familiar with the emotion. Almost nothing gets done when you’re sitting there with the audio repeating. Here’s how to make that right:

Using a simple pen and paper to jot down notes while you run the track is a smart habit, especially as the process progresses. All you have to do is listen back to your current mix and quickly jot down anything you notice and don’t like.

Ultimately, your list should look something like this:

Sibilant voice with the word “sunshine” at bar 44.
The synth entering at bar 32 requires a high-pass.
Take out the bongo entirely!
More cowbell is required. 😉
Next, take a look at your list and go over each item individually. Continue doing this until there is nothing else that you would alter.

This allows you to break free from the production trance and continue working on the mix.

12. Limit the Echo

Avoid overloading the mix with too many different kinds of reverbs. Try to stick to no more than two or three distinct reverbs. By doing this, you’ll be able to maintain superior control over your mix’s stereo image and spatial clarity.

As sends, set up no more than three distinct reverbs. This may be a short room with a plate, a black hole reverb, or any other arrangement that fits the music.

For instance, you could occasionally automate some black hole reverb on a synth section. However, because it gets messy, you might not want to send your percussion to the same reverb. Rather, direct your percussion instruments to a smaller room for reverberation to situate them far from your synth.

Using a plethora of various reverbs as inserts on separate channels is something you should avoid doing. This is due to the fact that reverb almost always leaves a space in your mix, and an excessive amount of various spaces will just sound off and rapidly degrade the image.

You can add individual songs to one of three spaces using three distinct reverb sends. Maintaining a consistent image is made easier by using only three spaces.

13. Control the Reverb

Reverb requires room in your mix, it’s a fact.

However, you don’t want your reverb to occupy too much room. All you want is for it to function properly and have the desired outcome. The reverb return can be subdued and placed more comfortably in the mix with the use of EQ and possibly some compression.

Experiment with the low-pass and high-pass filters on your reverb plugin. After that, turn those off and experiment with your preferred filter plugins both before and after the reverb in your chain to see how you feel.

Using a de-esser before a reverb plugin allows you to dynamically manage higher frequencies in your audio before they are amplified by the reverb. This is one of the more often used audio mixing techniques. By doing this, you can slightly reduce the signal’s sibilant content, giving your reverb plugin a rounder response.

Don’t be afraid to explore compression as well, because it can give your reverb some stability. You may move your reverb out of the way of crucial components like your voice or even your kick and snare by applying a little side-chain compression.

14. Trim Narrow, Expand Wide

For boosts and cuts, use broader bandwidths and tighter bandwidths, respectively. You should generally obtain more melodic results with your equalization curves if you equalize according to this idea.

If the boosted frequency is present in the signal, it will jump out at you in a way that sounds abnormal to the human ear. A narrow boost is more likely to cause a harsh resonance.

It is more likely that a wide cut will eliminate too many harmonics from the signal. It will sound strange again and change the nature of your instrument by thinning it out too much.

Naturally, there will be instances when you want to defy this general recommendation and increase narrow or cut wide, but overall, it’s best to avoid doing so.

This post contains additional information regarding audio equalization.

15. Refrain from Sweeping

A common audio mixing method for identifying problematic frequencies is to apply a narrow boost, then scan the spectrum to see what stands out. The problem with this kind of sweeping is that it might be disorienting for us, as our ears need time to become used to unfamiliar noises. Therefore, as you sweep, you are rapidly increasing a wide range of rapidly shifting frequencies.

Mike Stavrou’s great book “Mixing With Your Mind” suggests a better method, which is to make your cut with your EQ plugin deactivated, then turn it on and listen. Did you achieve the desired outcome? Alright. Proceed. Doesn’t it sound good anymore? Turn off the EQ and adjust the cut. Once more, turn on your EQ and pay attention.

This procedure eliminates the confusion that a sweep may bring about and makes it easy for you to compare your before and after. It also works well as an auditory ear training practice, which is an extra bonus.

Now, this is not a hard-and-fast rule, just like with other audio mixing approaches. The sweep is popular among producers and engineers, and you might find it appealing. If you haven’t worked that way previously, try the other way of EQing with your plugin bypassed and see how it works for you.

16. High-Performance Screen

You may have heard this one before, but I felt compelled to include it for other producers who might find value in it.

Put a high-pass filter on the instruments that aren’t bass-related. Your low end may sound cleaner as a result, particularly in live recordings. If you want to produce a precise, clean, and crisp low-end in your mix, high-pass filters are pretty much a necessity.

Now, you don’t want to go overboard and eliminate the body or basicity of your sound by turning up your high-pass filter too much. This produces a thin mixture.

One effective method is to increase the filter frequency until you hear the body begin to fade, and then simply back it up a little bit by reducing the filter frequency.

Must you always play every non-bass instrument at a high pass?

In theory, you don’t have to. Certain sounds or instruments don’t contain any frequencies that could interfere with your low-end. Having said that, it’s a good practice as long as you remember to follow the following instructions and pay attention while doing so.

17. Reverse Phase

Never let the phase reverse button scare you! On some instruments, phase inversion can sometimes enhance the way the instrument blends in with the mix. That certainly applies to live drum mixes.

Always pay attention to how phase inversion affects the mix’s various drum and microphone relationships. Additionally, you can try the opposite phase switch on any other sound or instrument to see if it produces a better result.

18. A/B Prior to and following

You can begin to EQ your bass and believe that you’ve made significant improvements within five minutes. But did you?

The speed at which our ears and brains adapt to a sound is remarkable. Therefore, even if you believe your newly EQ’d bass version sounds excellent, it’s always a good idea to do an A/B comparison with the original, unprocessed sound to be sure.

This kind of rapid on-off comparison makes it easy to identify problems and provides a benchmark for evaluating the recent decision you made. So, commit to hitting that bypass as a habit!

19. Automate

As you listen to the music, one feature of a well-mixed mix is the shift in energy from one area to the next.

You may make little adjustments to automate elements like level and filter cutoffs, which helps smooth out your mix and add more contrast between parts.

As an illustration, consider raising the mix’s overall level by one or two decibels during the chorus or drop to heighten the effect following the breakdown or pre-chorus.

Another example would be to gradually reduce the volume of a particular instrument during a section in order to introduce more variety into the mix and sustain attention. A similar effect can be obtained by using gentle, gradual filter cutoff sweeps that gradually eliminate the high or low end, or the opposite.

Additionally, you may program your sends to gradually add or remove reverb and delay from your instruments.

Thus, pay attention to automation. Yes, it takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth your time and effort if you want your mixes to sound professional.

20. Take Frequently Scheduled Breaks

Working with audio puts you against the clock all the time. Naturally, ear tiredness is the cause of this.

Your ears begin to function as soon as you begin to listen, and as they grow weary, your hearing gradually changes. This is the point at which the benefits start to fade. When you’re not hearing well, it’s impossible to make informed decisions regarding a mix.

You can, of course, make up for this by working at lesser levels, as was previously said, and this is a wise move. But even when you’re monitoring low, you still need to take regular breaks.

Therefore, try to determine how long it takes for your ears to get tired and take a quick pause before that occurs.

Starting your experiment with a 5-minute break every 20 to 30 minutes of work is an excellent starting point. Make taking breaks a frequent component of your process when producing music.

audio-mixing-techniques
audio-mixing-techniques

 

Try this electrifying "coffee fat-burning trick” that can boost your health, metabolism and energy at the same time by just drinking your favorite drink.. coffee!

If you’re like most women trying to lose weight… you diet, you count calories, you tear up the treadmill, and…nothing.

That’s how I was was feeling…

I did “everything right” and never lost an inch. My Energy was gone..

Until I stumbled on this delicious electrifying "coffee fat-burning trick” and electrifying my metabolism and torched off fat from my problem areas in just 13 days by drinking Coffee.

And because of this one simple shift in my eating, I shed pounds and inches from my body without starving myself and without a lick of exercise!

With the same “reduce hunger” trick I dropped a good amount of weight in the FIRST month and I shocked my doctor by completely reversing ALL pre-diabetes symptoms!

If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim your life inside the body you DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.

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