35 Mixing Tips To Improve Your Production

Producers never seem to have enough tips when it comes to mixing music. There are so many ways to mix and yet there are so many types of music genres that demands different types of mixing techniques.

So we went out and asked a few of our friends, who were industry mixing engineers and music producers to share their tips on mixing.

Unfortunately we did not manage to get the number of responses we were aiming for, but we are happy to round up a total of 35 mixing tips.

Make sure you read till the end of this post because you’ll discover a few golden mixing tips in this compilation. Enjoy!


 

Peter Juul Kristensen – Mixing Engineer

Peter Juul Kristensen-Clearwww.peterjuulkristensen.com
clearproduction@gmail.com

 

 

  1. Always mix using more than one pair of speakers. When mixing 5.1 it can be difficult, but in that case cross-check a down folded 2.0 mix on different speakers. Also listen back at different levels. If it sounds as you like it on more than one pair of speakers and at both high and low levels, you’ve come very far.
  2. When in doubt: Lo-cut. Digital media will record sound waves down to almost 0Hz, whereas old tape had a natural limit. Digital audio doesn’t. You don’t want that low frequencies anywhere in your mix. I even lo-cut KICK and BASS, just no so high as the rest of the sources of course. You will find, that you get a much tighter and clear button end.
  3. In conventional pop-music the vocal is half the song. Well, then use half the time you mix on the lead vocal. It’s the single most important factor in order to get the energy from the song to the listener.
  4. Work fast until you’re close to the end. Then go into details. If you start out by finding that perfect feedback % for an effect, you will loose the overall feeling of the song and loose the mix.
  5. Always do a down the hall test. Playback your mix and leave the room. Listen to it, through the open doors – down the hall. You will be surprise how effective this method is.

 

Benson Chiang – Music Producer, Educator, Product Specialist (Vogelogue, Roland)

Benson Chiang-Vogeloguewww.facebook.com/vogelogue
www.vogelogue.com
vogelogue@gmail.com

 

  1. Do not underestimate free plug-ins. Variety of Sound, Tokyo Dawn Records are some examples of developers producing top notch Free VSTs. & there are plenty of website, blogs sharing & promoting free plug-ins.
  2. Do not mix for long hours continuously. Your ears will get ‘Numb’. A change of mixing monitors or references time to time can help refresh your hearing.
  3. Always refer to your favorite track, & try to mix towards that level of balance & clarity.
  4. Mix through multiple monitoring source: Earphone, headphones, speakers, Hi-fi system, etc.

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

TDR Kotelnikov Compressor
A1 Stereo Control Plugin

Steve Chab – Music Artist & Producer

Steve-Chabwww.stevechab.com
www.soundcloud.com/stevechab
@SteveChab

 

  1. Listen to every mix with every playback system available to you, and take notes. – Listen to every mix with earbuds and nice headphones. Listen on your studio monitors. Listen on your dad’s living room stereo from the 80s. Listen with your coworker’s desk boombox. Listen with your girlfriend’s car. If you don’t make sure a song sounds good with different playback systems, then there’s a good chance you’re releasing a bum track. Make notes for the problems with your track in each system, and fix any issues you hear.
  2. Watch out for muddy bass. – I especially run into this problem. If you can’t hear the kick drum over the bass, then you have a problem. Sometimes basslines cover up the kick drum and vice versa. Be careful to leave room in the mix for each instrument.
  3. Finish it. – I’m a perfectionist. If I can’t get a mix in the pocket, then I’ll delay releasing a track. Just publish the darn thing! Plenty of popular songs could be mixed better. At the end of the day, the quality of the songwriting is more important than the mix. If you have a good song and it’s mixed reasonably well, people will like it. Don’t stress over a mix that’s 95% in the pocket.

 

Neil Charles – Music Producer & Audio Engineer (AAA Sound Design)

Neil Collins-AA Sound Desigwww.aaasounddesign.com
hello@aaasounddesign.com

 

 

  1. Mix at sensible levels. You should be able to have a conversation with the person next to you without raising your voice.
  2. Don’t over complicate. You don’t need to use every plug in you own, I probably only ever use 10 go to plug ins.
  3. Reference track. Choose a track similar to the one you are mixing and cross reference, see where your mix is lacking / overcompensating.
  4. Listen to your mix back through at least 2 different monitors. I use 3, my main speakers, a Behritone and a pair of headphones

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

I’m not a massive fan of emulators but Slate Digital VCC series really add a nice analogue feel to your mix

 

Steve Stroud – Music Producer (Big Cloud Productions)

Steve Stroud-Big Cloud Productionwww.bigcloudproductions.com
www.facebook.com/bigcloudproductions
contact@bigcloudproductions.com

 

  1. Check your mixes on different systems. Once it’s sounding good in the studio then try it in the car, on a phone, on your stereo in the living room. This is how most people will experience your music, so make sure it sounds just as good on inexpensive gear as it does on your fancy monitoring chain.
  2. Invest in Acoustic Room Treatment.
  3. Mix until you get an emotional response from the produced song. If it’s sounding flat and lifeless, then you’re probably not done 🙂

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

I like the CLA Bundle In Waves for quick and easy solutions to live recording when you haven’t got a lot of time to dial things in.

Luc Odin recording studio ” l’Archet dAnémos” -Musician, Composer, Sound Engineer

Luke L'Archet-d'Anémoswww.larchetdanemos.com
plus.google.com/luke.musician.composer
larchetdanemos@gmail.com

 

  1. Know the frequencies of the instruments and know what they are for.
  2. Play songs in the style you want to mix references to sounds. It can also be done instrument tracks that sound good reference. load them in the session will be able to compare .
  3. You need a good monitoring system that is as neutral as possible. Pay attention to those who have a sub bass as it often distorts the mix.
  4. Observe how the other producers do, because our days internet is a huge source of information.

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

I mix with plugs such as UAD quad, Sonnox Oxford , Wave, spl , api , ssl , wave many more.
I work with Nuendo (I tried with Cubase , but I prefer Nuendo ) .

I kinda don’t have much preferences, but some of the ones I usually use are the Sonnox Oxford , 1176, LA2A , SSL , API, pipe tech.

 

Michael Schoonmaker – Mastering Engineer (Gigantic Mastering)

Mike Schoonmaker-Gigantic M

www.giganticmastering.com
mike@giganticmastering.com

 

 

  1. With all the great plugins and tools we have available in mixing these days it’s easy to forget the basics. Here are a few things that are at the top of my checklist when mixing as well as some of the most common things I find myself saying when doing mix reviews for clients.
  2. High Pass Filters will clear up your mix more than any other EQ-ing you do. High Pass-ing everything that isn’t a sub-oriented instrument (kick, bass guitar, synths) will clear up your low end and help everything in a mix become more defined and distinguishable.
  3. Phase is important. It’s another simple step to ensure you’re getting a great sounding mix. One of the first things I do when mixing is bring up flat drum tracks and make sure multiple kick mics are in phase, snare mics are in phase, the snare bleed in the hat and toms is in phase with the snare mics and the overheads are adequately delayed to be in phase with the snare mic. It’s not just drums though… Bass DI/Mic as well as doubled Guitars or Vocals can easily have phase issues as well.
  4. A Mono Check is normally one of the last steps of mixing for me. It’s becoming more important these days as ‘hifi’ stereos are on their way out and small bluetooth speakers, sound bars and phone/tablet/laptop speakers are how music is enjoyed. The speakers on these devices are close together and you lose a lot of the stereo field of a mix, creating more of a ‘summed mono’ listening environment. Then again, if you use High Pass Filters and check your phase between tracks, the mono test should be fairly painless!

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

A must for me when mixing would be the TT Dynamic Range plugin by the Dynamic Range Foundation. I use it on every mix (or master for that matter) that I do. You can quickly check not only your peak and rms levels of an entire mix, but it also has a dynamic range meter and a great mono function for mono mix checks.

Andrew BaltaZzar – Music Producer, Audio Engineer

Andrew-BaltaZzarhttp://www.audiojungle.net/user/baltazzar
www.facebook.com/andrew.baltazzar

 

Electronic Music Production Courses from Pluginboutique.com

 

  1. Be careful with EQ. Sometimes it’s much better to cut some high freq. instead of adding lows. Remember, if instrument sounds great by its own, doesn’t mean it would sound so great in the mix.
  2. When mixing, don’t forget to compare your mix with original stems. Pressing “bypass” button on the plugins always helps to stay focused and not to spoil the sound.
  3. Have your own references. Start every work day with listening to it. It helps to “tune” your ears.

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

  • SSL Comp (by Waves) on master stereo bus. Yes, I’ve found it amazing to mix through the soft compression (something close to emulation of legendary SSL consoles).
  • SPL Vitalizer MK-2 on your master bus.

reubenchngReuben Chng – Music Producer 

http://www.reubenchng.com

 

 

  1. Always check your mixes in mono. Actually, check your mixes in every place possible. I still have to cross reference my tracks on difference speakers even with when I already knew the sound of my main monitors in the studio.
  2. Take regular breaks. Your ears begin to adjust to like a bad mix even when you mix for too long.
  3. Take the time to learn your DAW and plugins. The plugins in your DAW are actually good enough for finishing a mix. Stop complaining and brush your skills. A great place to pick up better skills is on Udemy where one of my course are hosted at as well.
  4. Check your mixes on a headphone. Even a simple pair like the Samson SR850 would do. I always use headphones to identify problems in my mix.
  5. Be careful not to over-mix your mixes. Simple is always more.
  6. When mixing, I like pulling the effect dials all the way up or down to really hear the changes it does to the track before returning them to a setting I like. It helps a lot to know what your effects are doing, rather than beating around the bush and guessing.

Must Have Plugin/Gear When Mixing

I love the vintage compressors by Native Instruments that comes with Komplete. I use the VC 2A on vocals a lot, together with the other vintage compressors.

Find more awesome plugins at  Plugin Boutique to save more cash, when buying plugins. 


 

I hope you find the list of tips helpful. Maybe you picked up a tip or two that you could try this weekend!

Would you like to see more post entries like this? Comment below because I’d really love to know.

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