Sometimes mixing can be a complicated process, but it actually can be broken down into a few simple steps to make it much more manageable. In today’s article, I am going to be focusing on the last 10-20% of the mix to help you take something that sounds good and turn it into something that sounds great.
Enhancing Your Sounds
The majority of your time mixing is spent on making the song sound good but in this phase, you make your song POP through the speakers. Not every mix is meant just to sound bright and punchy; it’s also to try and evoke emotion from the listener while taking them on a journey. Every second of every song should be engaging and sonically interesting. It’s a thing of reality that people’s attentions spans are rather short, so it’s up to you to keep them listening.
The sweetening stage is pretty straightforward: just listen to the song from start to finish and try to do whatever you can to make sure that the song keeps evolving. If the first and second verse sound identical, then try and separate them a bit. You could mute something, pan another thing but I think you get the idea. Attempt to make every part of the song important.
So at this point, your mix should be clean and energetic and also engages the listener form to start to finish. This is the point where you want to make sure that it’s going to translate to other speaker systems. This is where referencing comes in. Our mix might be great, but we need to use references to make sure that it is competitive with other songs in that sound similar.
We can reference our songs a couple of different ways. We could listen to them it on headphones or another set of studio monitors. Every speaker system is going to sound different and has a slight color to it even though the manufacturer is going to try and convince you otherwise. Send your mix through a pair of speakers that are an a completely different sound from your monitors and keep track of the deficiencies. Now make adjustments to make sure it sounds good on both sets.
The other way to reference is to load up a pro mix and then listen to see what we think sounds amazing about it. Once the pro mix is inside your software, just volume match them and compare. Now bring your mix to a closer tonal balance from top to bottom. This will do wonders for you when you try to make it translate.
Follow A Blueprint
If you follow a set of steps in the mixing process, it will take your songs to the next level. The three that I have highlighted in this article are only a few. If you aren’t happy with your mixes, follow the necessary steps and then add these 3 to your process. There are many different approaches to mixing, but the fundamentals along with these three tips are at the core of a great mix.
If you want some more mixing tips check out the following videos: