Monday, September 23, 2013

First step in mixing your music.

     From now on I will try to make my blog in english so be nice with me, it's not my main language. Today I will be talking about how I mix my music and what you need to do before starting mixing your music.

     As we know, if you are the composer and also the one that does the mix of the song, there are 2 stages which could look the same. When you put the idea on the "paper" and be creative with tools used also in mixing. When I start making a song I also process it until the sound is exactly as I want it to be, meaning I use compression (in a creative way), transient designer, eq, reverb, delay and about the last one I will tell you how I use it, what settings I recommend.

     This can easily be confused with the mixing stage since we use this tools for that too. My suggestion for all music producers is, when you start a new song, fiddle with your sound until is the one that you have in mind, don't say: I will fix it in the mixing stage. No! That's not the way, it will create more problems than you may think. So start processing it until it sounds right. About delay, use short delay, with short feedback, just to double your notes. Longer delays will be used in mixing stage.

     After you have all your sounds as you want don't forget to check your levels. This is the most important step in mixing. I suggest your master have around -12 to -6 dB with all sounds and no clipping on channels. This will make the mixing stage a lot easier. If you feel like the sound is too low in volume, turn the speakers louder until it's right for you, but don't increase the master gain. Having more headroom it lets your sound breath meaning you can hear it more clearly.

     I will tell you this again, get the sound you want before starting mixing, don't say: I will fix this bass instrument in the mixing stage. There is no such thing, you can't have a clear image until you have the finished sounds. Imagine you have a glass that can take only 250ml of liquid. You have drums that takes 100ml, piano that take 50ml, guitars that takes 50ml and a bass guitar that takes 100ml. All your total liquid is 300ml, 50 more than the glass can take, but you say you will fix that after you put it in the glass. In mixing is the same. Get it right before you start mixing, it will make your mixing stage a lot easier and more clear.

     If you've got all that right, start with an EQ to clean your sounds. I will say again, to clean your sounds. This means you cut freq that you don't need or wanna hear. For example if you have some hihats, cut the low freq with a high pass/low cut. You don't need bass in hihats, right? Do the same for every instrument that needs. I recommend using a Spectrum Analyzer, something like Voxengo Span (free). This will help you see what's going on in your sounds. Cleaning your sounds will make room for the others, they won't fight on the same freq. Imagine some hihats that have a lot of low freq and they run at the same time with kick and bass guitar. They will have a fight on the low freq and it will sound mud. If you clean those hihats removing low freq there will be more room for Kick and Bass guitar.

     This is what you need to do before starting mixing. If you've done all that, you'll see it's a lot more easier to control and mix your music. I hope this is helpful for you and I'm waiting to hear your thoughts about it.

Thank you!