If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to mix music, now is your chance. In this article, we’ll walk through 10 simple steps that will get you mixing like a pro in no time.
Set up your workspace.
To get started, you need to set up your workspace. If you’re using speakers, make sure they are the right ones for your room acoustics. The ideal speaker will be able to produce deep bass without losing clarity or volume.
If you’re using headphones, make sure they are comfortable and fit properly in your ears so that they don’t fall out while mixing music. They should also be high quality so that they reproduce sound accurately and don’t distort at higher frequencies when listening at loud volumes (which humans tend to do).
Learn the basics of mixing.
Learning the basics of mixing is a skill that you can learn. The process of learning how to mix music is a creative process, but it’s not impossible to grasp. When you start off, there will be things that don’t make sense and feel complicated — that’s normal! But if you hang in there and keep practicing, eventually it will all come together and become second nature for you.
Turn on your mixers EQ & HPF.
EQ stands for equalizer. This is a handy tool on your mixer, in which you can adjust the sound of your audio by increasing or decreasing certain frequencies.
EQs are used to bring out the desired frequency range in a song and remove unwanted parts.
For example, if you have recorded vocals at home but find that they don’t sound as good as when someone else does them, an EQ can help you get rid of some of those annoying frequencies. This makes it easier for listeners to hear what you’re saying and enjoy listening to your work!
Cut the lows.
The first step to cutting the lows is to use a high-pass filter. This filter will cut all frequencies below your chosen cutoff frequency, making sure that you don’t include any unnecessary low end in your mix. If you’ve used an EQ before, then you’ve probably seen a high-pass filter on it before—it’s usually represented as having a “shelf” shape. However, if your DAW doesn’t have an HPF built into it (or if you’re looking for more control), there are also standalone plugins available from companies like FabFilter and Waves that can help with this task (and many others).
You can also use EQs and filters to remove the bottom end from individual tracks in your mix. By using either of these tools at different points in your signal chain, you’ll have even greater ability to tailor each track specifically to accentuate what’s important about its sound while keeping unwanted elements out of the picture altogether.
Cut the high frequencies above 4kHz.
The high frequencies are the first to go when you’re mixing. The general rule is that you should cut at least 2dB per octave below 4kHz (that’s about 6dB for a band starting at 8 kHz). This will leave enough air in your mix to make it sound open and spacious, but not so much that the whole thing sounds fuzzy. It’s important to keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules: some people prefer a smoother sound overall, while others like their music to have more bite and edge to it. If you find yourself cutting too much, don’t worry—you can always add more later!
Shape up your kick drum.
If you want to shape up your kick drum, here are a few tips:
- Cut the lows and boost the mids. Sometimes a kick drum can be too boomy and muddy, so cut some of those low frequencies and boost everything above 500Hz by roughly 3dB. This will help make it sound big without making it feel like there’s an earthquake in your ears.
- Boost the highs. The most important thing to remember about drums is that they have to be punchy! To do this, boost all frequencies above 4kHz by 2-3dB—but don’t go overboard on this one because then you might end up with sizzle cymbals instead of nice round tones from them too (which wouldn’t work well with what we want).
Shape your snare and clap sounds.
Now that you’ve got some basic tools at your disposal, it’s time to shape your snare and clap sounds.
Compression is a great tool for increasing the sustain of a sound (like the snare). Try applying 2-5dB of compression with a medium attack and release setting (around 40ms) on your snares, adjusting the ratio until you’re satisfied with how it sounds. You may want to add some EQ as well to remove unwanted frequencies from your snares—a high pass filter can help remove low frequencies if they’re getting in the way of other elements in your mix.
Gate compression can be used to reduce noise from samples by using an adjustable threshold level so that only sounds above that level will pass through. If there are any unwanted noises within this threshold range (such as breathiness), try adding some transient shaping instead—this effect uses an envelope follower circuit which responds dynamically based on changes in volume levels within an audio signal so it doesn’t just cut off all unneeded highs like gating does.
Pan some of your tracks to create space in your mix.
Panning is the act of moving a sound from the left or right side of the stereo field. This can help you create space in your mix by placing different instruments either to the left or right side.
For example, if you have multiple tracks playing at once, it can be helpful to pan some of them differently so that they don’t all end up fighting for attention in the center channel.
Shape up your lead vocals.
Shape up your lead vocals. When mixing, you’ll want to make sure that the lead vocal is not over-compressed and that it sits in the mix well. The best way to do this is by setting the lead vocal track to a different EQ setting than the rest of your song.
Set your lead vocal track to a different EQ setting than the rest of your track. Once you have separated out your lead vocals, set them up with their own high pass filter above 4 kHz at around 20dB per octave roll off, and then add an SSL channel strip on top of that with plenty of compression (9:1 ratio) and 6dB boost at 1 kHz for clarity and presence—this should help make sure that no matter where they come in or go out within a song there will always be enough room for them without sounding harsh or overpowering other elements in the mix!
Start mixing in the effects.
Next, you’ll want to add some effects. You can use effects in your DAW to make your music sound bigger and better, more professional, or more unique.
Most of the time when we think of “effects” we think about plugins that emulate vintage gear like tube amps and analog delays. But there are also plenty of digital effects that can be used in place of or along with these traditional ones.
Learn how to mix music with these ten easy steps!
Learning how to mix music is a skill that can be learned. With the right skills and techniques, you will be able to create professional sounding mixes like a pro in no time.
With these ten easy steps, we’ll teach you what it takes to learn how to mix music like an expert!
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I hope this article has helped you learn how to mix music and given you some tips to get started. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out!