Mixing Down your Audio Recording
Getting Started - Getting started with the final mix is an exciting part of the recording process. Don't rush the process however, as it is vital to getting the best recording possible. We recommend approaching the process in three parts. In the first part we will cover how to get the basic levels and Eq the project.
Using a Compressor - First we recommend using a compressor on the final mix even if you plan to Master the project at a later stage. Turn the compressor on from the start because it will change the sound of the overall mix adding more bass. If you are using a computer or DAW there are some nice plug ins designed for mastering that are great for this.
Getting a Basic Level - Next start with the drums bringing them up to a moderate level. Do not use any reverb or effects on any of the tracks at this stage unless they are permanently attached to or "printed" on the track. Second bring the bass up to where it sounds about the same loudness as the drums. Use your ears here. Next bring up the guitars, and other instruments to where they are in proportion with the bass and drums. Next bring up the vocal and listen to the song with all tracks engaged. Notice any problems in the mix and write them down so we can work on them at the next stage. All we need to do here is make sure that the instruments are the right loudness first. Next we will pan tracks to the left or right and readjust the volume as needed. Then we will Eq each track to optimize it and then add effects next.
Panning Tracks - Now that you have a basic level listen to your project. Are instruments competing with each other muddying the mix? Try panning similar instruments or multi-tracked parts like multiple vocals either slightly (i.e. 10 %) or heavily (100%) to the left or the right. Remember that panning hard to the left or right effectively halves the loudness of the track so boost the volume to counteract this. Bass drum, bass guitar and snare almost always sound best in the center tracks so try panning other instruments out the the sides first and see if this helps. On other drum instruments try creating a virtual drum kit by panning each instrument to a unique position like snare slightly left and toms slightly right, etc. Take some time to try and get a good sound here before you move on.
Moving On - Now that we have a basic overall level and the tracks panned where we want them lets move on to Equalization or Eq.
Part 2 - Finalizing your Mix - Now that you have a basic mix and have added the Eq to it lets move on to finalizing the mix and put some polish on our project.
Tips and Tricks - Already set up and you just need tips and tricks to make your recording sound better. Click here.
Drums - If you need help or tips on recording acoustic drums then this is the place to check out.
Electric Guitars - If you want help recording a electric guitar then check out this page.
Acoustic Guitars - If you want help recording an acoustic guitar then check out this page.
Bass - Need help capturing that electric bass we offer a few options for you here.
Vocals - Vocals can make or break a project. Get some nice tips for recording vocals here.
Other Instruments - Want to add that saxophone, cello, or flute to a project. Get the facts here.
Mixing - Need help mixing those tracks to get the right sound from your mix. We can help here.
Equalization or Eq - Do you have a basic overall level and the tracks panned where you want them. Then check out our tips on Equalization or Eq.
Adding Audio effects - If you have the levels where you want them and have added Eq its time to add some plug-ins or effects like reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, and other effects to help that final mix shine.
Mastering - Need help mastering your songs. Get the low down here.
Other Items of Interest - Also while your here feel free to check out our record label Silver Dragon Records and see what we can offer your band in terms of recording and other services. Also check out Lazarus X Houston's hottest local band and their new CD release Weapon of Love or download a free mp3 for a limited time.