Mixing is an art and even professionals learn something new every day. When we began our production journey we were frustrated and discouraged by our poor mixing/arrangement skills and always compared ourselves to the professionals.
We know how hard it can be when you are just starting out and would love to share the 5 tips we wish someone had told us when we were just starting out.
5 Tips For a Better Mix
1. Start with the drop/hook
Most producers have gone through the following story: you make the chords, add effects, do the buildup and then BAM! Here comes the drop that’s the point most of us don’t really know what to do 🙁
So you go to your piano roll and experiment with different melody ideas, sometimes you get it just right but most of the times it goes horribly wrong and from our experience, making a drop can take hours and hours on end when starting with all the other parts of the song first.
The reason for that problem is that you build the chords and rhythm of the entire track first and make the drop based on these elements. The problem with that practice is that you don’t have enough creative freedom writing your drop’s melody and rhythm.
That’s why we always start with the drop and build all the other elements later.
2. Never work with mastering plugins on your master bus while mixing
The majority of big DJ/EDM producers and mixing engineers agree that you should never use plugins such as Soundgoodizer or Sausage Fattener on your master bus while mixing.
Don’t get us wrong, using these plugins is completely acceptable when used on individual elements. However, they give a false perception of your mix’s dynamics and overall color when used on the master bus.
For that reason, you should only use these plugins on individual track elements or on your master bus once the initial mix is done.
3. Learn and experiment with sound design
Using presets is great and we think you should never start with blank presets if you want to keep the creative flow going. However, we do believe that great sound design skills are one of the few major factors that separate the amateurs from the pros.
From our experience, almost all presets need some tweaking before they sit just right in the mix.
That’s why we encourage you to start practicing sound design for at least 15 minutes a day, You will be surprised by the amazing sounds you create and we are sure your tracks will go to the next level 🙂
4. Use the appropriate kick length
One of the biggest mixing mistakes we see in EDM mixes is definitely the use of inappropriate kick lengths. What we mean by that is that many producers are using long kicks with long basses and short kicks with short basses.
As you may already know, your mix’s low end should be as tight and clean as possible. From our experience, the use of long kicks and long basses can make your mixes muddy and the use of short kicks and short basses will lead to a general lack of bass.
Our rule of thumb with kicks is that opposites attract. In most cases, we use short kicks with long basses and lengthy kicks with short basses.
Artists such as Nickey Romero and David Guetta have previously stated that you should let your kick’s tail completely fade before the bass comes in and we advise you to use simple volume automation on your kicks to precisely control its tail.
No matter how many tutorials or guides you will consume or how many hours you will put in every day producing, the results you are looking for won’t come easy and most big artists put in years and even decades before they produce the tracks you hear on big festivals and the radio.
For that reason, our last tip is: Stay consistent and believe in yourself even when it gets tough! Remember that your idols practiced for years before their big breakthrough. You can breakthrough in your own unique way if you just keep at it and believe in yourself 🙂
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