Production Tips: Basic Mixing
Basic mixing should be the first thing you do on a mix, this is mainly just to help fit parts into place and see where they best fit in the song. I will be using a standard rock band set up (guitar, bass, drums and vocals) to help explain how to do a quick mix.
EQ is a major part of creating a basic mix; this is used to find frequencies and either cut them out or tries to bring more of the frequencies out. For instance, if you wanted more hit from your bass drum, you would add frequencies around the 200 Hz line, to bring out the punch of the drum. This can be applied to anything; all you do is change where the frequency change is.
Compression is used to make loud things louder, and quiet things quieter, this is good as it means you can bring out certain aspects of the track using it. Be very careful as to how you use this feature, as over compression is a regular problem. This will drown your mix below whatever you have over compressed and make the mix not sound right. Expanders can be used in the opposite way to compressors and help bring out quiet points of the track.
Gates can be handy, especially on drums. Gates only allow sound to play when they’re over a certain volume and cut out all other sound. You can change the speed at which the gate ‘opens’ and ‘closes’ to help allow only a certain amount of sound through.
Reverb can be applied to tracks. This is used most effectively if you place a reverb on a bus channel and send all the tracks through it, and chafe the amount you send through it for each track. This helps create the perception that all the instruments are in the same room as each other.
Thanks for reading!
Next week we will look at DAW effects and how to use them.