5 tips you should do before mixing music
Mixing music is such a rewarding experience. It’s the part of production we dream about during the rest of the recording “I can’t wait to mix these drums.” However, it can also be an absolute nightmare if you start with out a plan. So here are 5 mixing tips everyone should do before mixing music.
Tip 1 – Organize your session
Taking 20 minutes to get everything organized in your session can save you a lot of time while your mixing. If you have to stop all the time to create subgroups and effects it can really crush your mixing groove.
Colour your tracks. If you are mixing a big session, having everything coloured ( drums yellow, guitars red etc) will make it easier for your eyes zero in on the tracks you want to work on.
Creating a template in your DAW is a great way to save even more time.
Tip 2 – Make A Plan
Once your session is all organized, zero everything and just play the track a few times. Make notes on things you like and don’t like. What songs does the track remind you of or even an era the track would fit in with.
Make a panning chart to get an idea where you want to place all the instruments. Are guitars going far left and right or right down the middle.
Write down everything. Once you have some solid notes you are ready for the fun part. Well almost, at least you aren’t just randomly pushing buttons. You can always fine tune as you go along.
Tip 3 – Use Reference tracks
When mixing music this is always a very over looked step but can make the biggest difference. Find a couple of tracks that inspire you and listen to them before you start mixing. This step can give you awesome mix ideas but also calibrates your ears in regards to loudness.
Loudness is a relative term, our brains perceive loudness differently every day. If I went to a concert the night before or was blaring my music in my car before a mix session I will mix very differently than if I went to bed at 6pm the night before.
Having a reference track fixes this problem. If I need to figure out where the bass should be sitting, I have a track I can refer to.
Tip 4 – Save Copy In
Before I mix I always perform a save copy in in Pro Tools instead of a Save As. I will also mix off of the copy session instead of the original. The reason why is because a Save Copy In duplicates my entire session. So if I delete unwanted tracks it doesn’t delete the tracks from my original session.
A Save As only duplicates the session global file and still uses the audio tracks from the original audio folder. So if I launch a track and decide to recall it later I’m SOL.
Tip 5 – Get Comfy
Again a very over looked step. Dedicate a block of time to your mix and turn off your phone. Also dress for the occasion, drink lots of water, lower the lights and put on some comfy pants. You will thank me.