SOUND 101: Pre-mix is key to good Mixdown
For everyone who has been mixing music for awhile now may or may not know this, but having a good pre-mix is the key to a really good mix-down and final master. What I mean by pre-mix is how each channel in your track sounds before you start mixing all your channels together. This sounds fundamental but many producers don’t spend enough time on this and when they try to get tracks mastered, it doesn’t sound the way they envision it.
So far we covered:
1. Proper monitors
2. Placement of monitors and what type is best for you.
3. How to get your room to the best recording medium as possible.
4. How to use filters to get better mix-downs.
and now we are covering inserts, effects, equalizing, plugins, and leveling of each channel in your track.
Depending on what type of EDM you make, all rules of recording and mixing down all apply. I will discuss what I use and others that have produced a large volume of tracks with good results. Here are some rules to follow:
1. Never max out a channel, make sure each channel is at at least -3dbs. Personally, I go to -6dbs per channel. I do this because I have more room to adjust if needed. Plus, later we can really max out the volume and thickness of the track. We will cover that in the next segment.
2. Use equalizers in order to fine tune each channel strip. I usually use a 31 band equalizer just because I can see all the different frequencies and experiment on which one will make the sound to my liking. Most music recording software comes with a standard 4-band parametric equalizer connected to the mixing board. All you need to do is go to your “INSERTS” and pick an equalizer to use. It should look something like this:
Don’t be afraid to experiment with all the frequencies, sometimes the frequency you don’t expect to boost or lessen is the one that really makes the sound come alive and unique. I do this with all my channels one at a time, and then I begin to layer on the drums and then other samples. Sometimes the frequencies in your sound will interfere with other ones, so it is important that you layer each sound one at a time so that you can listen for any irregularities. One mistake I use to do a lot when I first began recording music was to add too much bass. I know there isn’t really too much bass, but too many of the same bass frequencies together forming a sound that is not clear.
Think of a “rogue wave,” a bunch of small waves can add up to become a monster rogue wave. The same goes with bass waves, if you add to many of the same frequencies together, you will develop this in your tracks.