Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 8)

Have you every been in a situation where you want an effect to happen in one section of your musical piece, but not in another? Or maybe you want to control the parameter? Maybe you want the dry (unaffected) signal to occur in the first half of the chorus and then to gradually become wetter (processed, effected) towards the end.

The simple solution, and end to the quick mix guide, is to add automation.

Simply, automation is having the DAW change a parameter without you having to physically do it as the piece is being played back through the speakers.

If you are unfamiliar with where in your DAW you can access automation, I advise that you do so. Once you are able to, play around and see what cool things you can come up with!

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Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 7)

Gearing towards the end of your mixing process, you’ll want to start adding your own unique touches – if you haven’t started already.

While mixing involves cleaning-up the sound, balancing, and placing instruments within the sonic environment, it also involves playing with effects loops.

Previously, we have talked about compressors, EQs, reverbs, and delays. However, there are so much more. From chorus, to flanger, phaser, distortion, etc., there is a multitude of ways on adding a person flavor to it.

Get familiar with the sounds of the effects and see which compliments the artistic vision of the piece. It may be one, none, or all! Also, be sure to get acquainted with the effect’s parameters to know the different knob controls. Above all else, experiment and gave fun!

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Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 6)

One you got your levels ready with the faders, instruments panned to their locations, filters applied, dynamic processors inserted, and tone shaped with the EQ… you can move onto the next step of adding reverb and delays.

Both reverb and delays are time-based processors that create echo-like effects of the signal. By creating and delaying the reflections of a sound, you can make it appear further back.

Think about it like this: imagine a person speaking to you up close versus very far away. They sound different because of how long it take for the initial sound the reach the ears as well as the following reflections from the space around it. Reverb and delays create artificial reflections to trick the mind that a sound source is father away than what it seems.

The purpose of using these time-based processors is to give some distance between the instruments. Just like panning was done to spread apart the different sounds, so can reverb and delay.

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Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 5)

One all your tracks have been filtered and compressed/expanded, the next step you should consider is EQ the timbre.

EQ has many purposes:

  • To filter out any unwanted frequencies
  • To shape the timbre of the sound
  • To reduce any interfering frequencies
  • To cut out any tonalities
  • To boost for added color
  • Etc.

Regardless, you should be mindful of how much you EQ. A little can go a long way of clearing things up; doing too much can cause the sound to drastically change. Just be judicious and constantly listening to what you do to make sure your edits meet your artistic direction.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 4)

The next step that you might want to take if you were to do a rough mix of your recording session is to add compression.

Compression is used for leveling out the dynamics of a recording. Meaning, that the dynamic range is compromised and squashed.

Take this for an example: say you have a recording where the instrumentalist plays very loud at some sections, normal throughout most, and very quiet at other places. To make this more even, you use a compressor to bring down the loudest parts to a normal level. Then, with a gain knob, you can bring up the entire modified recording to a louder level to make the quitter sections more audible.

Be mindful of the ratio of how much you compress the recording.

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Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 3)

The next step you should take into mixing your music is adding a gate. This is more ideal for situation where you are working with recorded material in stead of sample based/electronically programmed music… but, it is still valuable to know.

A gate works like a “backwards compressor” where if the sound hits there threshold the gate is pushed open. However, if the sound going through the gate is below the threshold, it does not open – and therefore, doesn’t sound.

So, the purpose of the gate is to cut out the bleed/leakage from other instruments that are less in amplitude, but still audible.

You will want to set the attack, hold, and release to breathe with the song. In addition, the threshold should just be enough to allow the main instruments with a few ghost notes come through.

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Mix and Master Yourself – Quick Mix Guide (Part 2)

Today we are going to be talking about a quick guide in several installations on how to give your recorded song a good mix.  These tips can also be applied to using live sound as well, so keep your imagination wide with possibilities.

The next step you want to take is filtering out some unneeded frequencies.  This is a MUST in recorded audio, but it can also help when working with MIDI and the sound coming from virtual instruments.

In situation where you have mic bleeding (meaning that you are capturing unintended recorded audio – say from another instrument playing or from another room) you need to make sure it is not there for when you do the final mastering.  Using a low pass filter (LPF) that cuts high frequencies, or a high pass filter (HPF) that cuts low frequencies will be the best bet in a plug-in to use for cleaning out your audio.

This will allow instruments that naturally sound in the extreme low or high ends of our hearing to have less frequencies competing against them.  The filtering out of unnecessary sounds will make the necessary ones pop-out!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.