How to achieve a professional mix
If you want to impress your listening audience, you’ve got to cover your basics when mixing your productions.
Below we list 6 secret methods in order to achieve a professional mix:
1) Volume Balancing – All your instrument tracks added together must represent an even/balanced structure with volume. It’s easy to lend too much volume to the wrong tracks in your production. Coming up with the proper balance where each tracks has it’s own proper level is a practicing art.
2) Panorama & Placement – Whether you’re mixing in stereo or surround sound, achieving a unique pan & placement for each musical track within a mix is essential. Proper sound field placement fro all tracks will reveal the detail & beauty of your entire production while, at the same time, satisfying the listener’s ears with acoustic balance.
3) Frequency Spectrum – One of the biggest problems producers create for themselves is not making sure to fulfill the entire audible frequency spectrum in a mix, approximately 30hz-18khz. Too often, mixes have too many ear-piercing highs or too many muddy uncontrolled lows. Today’s hit songs demand a proper mix & balance of the full frequency range. And, as a reminder, “proper balance” doesn’t mean boost all knobs!
4) Effects & Dimensions – Learn to entertain and embellish your mix with subtle effects such as reverb, delay, overdrive, and chorusing. Be careful to not overdo it, but by giving a variety of the tracks in your mix their own unique ambient dimension and effect, the overall mix can become a richer listening experience.
5) Compression & Dynamics – While giving some tracks in the mix their own dynamic freedom, other tracks (particularly vocals) need more dynamic control for two main reasons. Reason one: You don’t want a track to sound amateur, being too quiet to hear at one section and then suddenly too loud in another – so compress it! Reason two: You don’t all the hard work you’ve put into track placement, EQ, and dimension to be over-masked and thrown out of balance by uncontrolled dynamics from competing tracks – so compress them!
6) Keep it Interesting – Ok, so we’ve laid down a foundation of elements to adhere to above, but that doesn’t mean your mix should end up cliche’! Keep it interesting and original by trying more experimental methods such as over-compressing a certain track or creating abrupt drum and/or bass mutes. If you want to try something real extreme, try your tricks on tracks that have a short presence in the song rather than on tracks that are consistently present throughout. This keeps it interesting, yet not annoying!