​151 Mixing ​Techniques: The complete List (2018)

We all Get stuck in the middle of a mix sometimes.

But how do we get passed it?

Well, you're in for a treat because I've put together a huge list of 151 mixing tips.

which will not only help you get out of a rut...

...But will also give you new tricks to put in your pocket.

Let's dive right in.

Mixing Techniques

More...

​​Not So Quick Navigation


Preparing Your Mix

1. Gain staging

This easy but critical technique is overlooked by a lot of mixers and fundamentally you’re handicapping yourself before you ever start mixing.

Proper gain staging is as simple as making sure none of your tracks are clipping and ultimately making sure the level of the master fader is below -3.

You can do this by selecting all of the faders and linking them together and pulling all of them down. This will keep the mix balance but just lower the overall volume:

Gain Staging

​I suggest the loudest peak in the song to not go above -6 or even -10. However, this is a subjective matter but the more headroom you give yourself the more room you will have to work while using effects and plugins.


2. LCR Panning

LCR Panning is where you only pan in 3 positions, left, center and right:

LCR Panning

This might go against what you were taught (it certainly did for me) but it makes sense why to do it.

What are the 4 main ​Instruments in just about every modern song?

​Kick

Snare

Vocals

Bass

​So it makes sense to have these in the center and directly in your face.

But with the rest of the instruments Panning them out wide will make your mix sound wider than your headphones or speakers, make your mix more open and allows for the main instruments in your song to be heard.


3. Subgroups

Subgroups are really important for not only saving processing power on your ​PC but plugins can sound a lot more natural if processed on multiple tracks at once.

For example, It’s a good idea to group your drums together to one separate track after you have a good overall volume balance.

A trick I have learned is to EQ a little bit of 500Hz out and that can remove some muddiness drums can bring with them.

Do subgroups for all your tracks such as guitars, vocals, strings etc...


4. Mixing At Low Volumes

Our ears are the most important part of our body and that's why we need to take care of them.

There are many ways of doing this such as:

Going to fewer gigs

Wearing earplugs

Not listening to music so loud

​Not listening with headphones

But the main one for us music guru’s is to mix at lower volumes.

It’s so simple but not only helps our ears last through the many years of mixing.

But it will also help with creating better mixes.

This is because we all have the mindset of Louder = Better.

And this can really fool us at times and completely ruin a mix.

If you can get punch and clarity to come through in your mix at really low volumes, then it's going to sound amazing when you turn up the volume.

To do this:

Turn down your mix to a point where you can comfortably have a conversation and not have to raise your voice.

That will be a good conservative volume.

Try it in your next mix, it will be tough to not turn it up but it will improve your mixes.


5. pre vs post-fader sends

Sends are perfect for reverbs and delays.

In Cubase, the default send is post fader (It could be pre-fader in your DAW).

Pre And Post Fader

This means:

The send channel is dependent on the original tracks being sent to it.

For example: If I put a delay on my kick drum with a post fader, Muting the kick drum track will mute the send as well, or lowering the volume of the kick will lower the volume of the reverb.

On the other hand:

Pre-fader will allow you to change the volume of the kick drum and the reverb volume will always be the same no matter what.

The easiest way to understand is by doing it.

So try it out next time.


6. mixing templates

Mixing templates are constantly overlooked by beginner mixers…

...And it’s not even hard to do.

Take a look at your completed mixes and see what tracks you use in every mix.

This could be a drum bus, vocal sends, reverbs and delays etc…

...It just makes sense to always have them when you start your mixes to save time.

And time is money.


7. limit the number of tracks

As you could guess:

The more tracks you have the harder and longer it takes to mix.

So, it’s a good idea to reduce the number of tracks.

Even the pros that get 100+ tracks reduce them down to a more manageable size.

You can do this by grouping tracks together or just getting rid of them if you know you really don’t need them.

Doing this will not only make your mixing process a lot faster, but you will also be more focused and create a better mix in the long run.


8. prepare yourself ahead of time

When it comes down to mixing speed is key.

Not only will you have deadlines for clients.

But the longer you spend on a mix the worse your mixing decisions start to become.

So preparing yourself ahead of time is a great way to keep on top of things and finish your mix as fast as possible.

How can you do this?

One way is to pick what EQ and compressor plugins you’re going to use on 90% of your tracks.

It might sound silly but the time spent choosing what compressor and EQ you want to use on each track can really add up.

Another way is to sort all of your tracks out first by naming them, coloring them, Muting Parts etc...

Whatever can be done before you actually start mixing will help you in the long run.


9. Stop every 15 minutes

This is a good technique to try.

Every 15 minutes STOP!

Just for a few seconds. Stop what you are doing and bypass your plugins…

Stop Every 15 Minutes

...And see if what you did in the last 15 minutes actually made the mix sound better.

If they did then great!

But sometimes you will bypass the plugins and think AHH! What was I thinking? That doesn’t sound good at all.

Doing this will save you a lot of time.


10. use multiple studio monitors

Having as many different views of the mix is a must as an engineer.

And there are many ways of doing this.

One of them is to have multiple sets of studio monitors.

This isn’t something you need to buy right away as you can do just fine with one pair.

But, as you progress through your music career...

 ...Getting another pair of studio monitors can really help reference your mix in finer detail.

11. acoustic treatment matters

You can own a set of $10,000 Studio monitors but if they’re placed in an untreated room, they will probably sound bad and you will want your money back.

Throughout your music career, you will realize and understand how much acoustic treatment actually matters.

Mixing Process

​12. mix a song in under 2 hours

As a beginner mixer, the best thing you can do is bang out each mix as quickly as you can.

Don’t dwell on the little things, these don’t matter right now.

What matters is the important decisions that will give you big changes.

To do this:

Set yourself a target of two hours per mix.

This will not only get you mixing faster...

...It will also make you more productive as you only have a limited amount of time.

With ​​​​​only 2 hours on the clock, your mixing decisions will change and you will only be able to do the things that matter.


13. Work on the most important part first

This trick is awesome for starting your mixes and making sure you have some excellent dynamics right off the bat.

What do I mean when I say the most important part?

Well, it’s usually the busiest section and typically it's the last chorus.

Work On The Most Important Part First

But it could be the bridge.

It varies from song to song, so you have to decide.

Why should you do this?

Well, for one it’s where 90% of your instruments are playing…

...And two, If you get the busiest section to sound epic, in theory, the rest of your song will sound incredible as well.

And as the verses and other sections have fewer instruments, your dynamics will be on point!

The trouble with starting at the intro is you have to keep improving it as the song progresses which will get harder and harder, to the point where you’re at the last chorus with no headroom left and no way to improve it.


14. The mute button

This is probably one of the easiest tips you can do.

Sometimes the best decision you can make is to mute a track in certain parts of your mix to create space with other instruments and good arrangement is the start of getting a great mix.

The Mute Button

This also allows for big impacts when the chorus comes in and can be really exciting.

Not everything always has to be in at once.


15. mixing in mono

Most people aren't going to listen to your mix in true stereo.

And a lot of the time when we listen to music were not just sitting there in a quiet space listening to every fine-tuned instrument, usually were in the car, on the bus, at the gym, doing chores etc…

So, even listening on headphones there’s still going to be background noise getting in the way of our mixes.

So it makes sense to get everything balanced in mono with volume, EQ and compression. That way you will be able to get an idea of what it will sound like in the real world.

 I wouldn’t recommend only mixing in mono but reference back to it through your mix process and make sure your mix sounds good in both stereo and mono.

16. keep everything simple

Over complicating your mix can be your worst nightmare.

Once you start putting a million plugins on everything:

Things get messy

Clarity gets lost

CPU gets overloaded

Your head will explode.

Never forget:

Mixing is simple.

All you have to do is get separate instruments balanced with each other to make a great mix.

Some of the best mixes hardly have any processing done on them at all.


17. avoid the solo button

When we listen to a completed mix, you can’t solo an instrument and listen to it on its own.

So why do it when you’re mixing?

Now, there might be times when you need to listen to a track on its own for specific reasons.

But for any concrete mix decisions, do it with the rest of the mix.

Because that's what the final outcome will be…

...And that way you will mix each track to sound good with the song, not on its own.


18. learn the shortcut commands to speed up workflow

As a mixer, you never want to spend too much time on one mix.

This is not only because you have deadlines to meet and time is money…

...But also because the more you listen to the song the more your ears get used to it and the worse your mixing decisions become.

So, one great way of speeding up your workflow is to learn the shortcut commands for your DAW.

Grab the manual and spend a day learning them.

​Remember: keep using the shortcuts or you will forget them.


19. create aux tracks and use reverbs and delays as sends

For home studios, one big factor mixers have to take into consideration is how much CPU they’re using.

And the more plugins you use the more CPU resources you use up.

That’s why using reverbs and delays as send is a much better idea than having them on each individual track.

Not only does it save CPU usage but it also helps with organization and speed as most of your tracks will probably be going through the same reverb and delay settings anyway.


​20. Change it 4db

There's always a time in your mixing process where you are making sure everything fits in the mix and are the right volume.

And you start to second guess yourself.

Is that track sitting at the right volume?

The answer?

All you have to do is raise or lower the track 4dB.

You might say that's stupid, you're just changing the volume!

And you would be right.

But, when you have been mixing for hours, you can’t always tell.

It takes ten seconds and proves to yourself and ears that it either was or wasn’t the right volume.


21. Does that plugin actually help your mix

When you bring up a plugin especially if you use a preset, there will be times when you think:

AWW YEAH! That sounds amazing!

But does it really?

The easiest and quickest way to actually know is to match the output volume to the input volume.

As we know louder is not better.

And what you thought was amazing might actually just be louder.


​22. The static Mix

I love this technique.

What you have to do is create the best possible mix with every fader and panning position staying at one level.

What do I mean?

You need to imagine you can’t change the faders and panning later on in the mix.

This will force you to find the optimal position for every instrument.

Now, this is a false limitation, but it really helps start you off and get the ball rolling fast!


​23. one stereo track

When listening to a mix with all the instruments in do you really hear that stereo piano?

Or that stereo acoustic guitar?

Not really.

To give yourself more space and clarity in your mix make them mono.

And only keep one of your stereo tracks.

It’s usually Overheads for me.

You will find your mix will sound a lot more open and not washed out.


​24. reference pro mixes

Listen:

One thing you need to do in every single mix is reference pro mixes.

Doing this not only teaches you how your mix should sound in your studio.

But it can also help you figure out what to do with the tracks in your mix.

On your next mix, find a song you like that roughly matches the song your mixing…

...And reference it throughout your mix process.


25. stay organized and name everything

Keeping organized is very important while mixing, especially if you are given a mix with 100+ tracks.

It takes 10 minutes at the start of your mix to name and color your tracks…

...And it saves you so much more as you work through the mix.

Tip: Use the same colors for your instrument groups in every mix.

For example, I have drums in red, Guitars in blue and vocals in yellow.

I also like to use markers above the tracks so I know exactly where the chorus or verse or bridge is.


​26. most important instrument

Every song will be different and you will have to decide what instrument is carrying the song.

This could be anything from the drum beat, guitars or piano.

Listen to the song you’re about to mix and decide what instrument is driving this song.

That way you can mix everything else around that instrument.

And not let it get lost in the mix.


​27. first impressions

There's only one time to hear the music for the first time.

And that's the best time to write down what works and what doesn’t.

Because it’s your gut making the decisions…

...And you should always trust your gut.

So, next time you have a brand new mix in front of you, get a pen and paper and while listening to it for the first time and write down some strengths and weaknesses for it.

It really helps.


​28. EQ before compression

This is a very controversial topic and everyone will have their own opinions.

I will typically always use EQ before compression.

Why?

Because I like to use subtractive EQ first to clean up a track and takeaway offending frequencies and then use a compressor to bring some energy.

I don’t like to compress the bad frequencies.

Some people won’t agree with me.

But that doesn't matter​ as there is no right or wrong with mixing.

​So try it out, swap the order and see what changes.

29. subgroup automation

You should be able to group your whole mix into around 3-5 sub-tracks.

These would be something like Drums, Bass, Instruments, and Vocals.

Subgroup Automation

Grouping your tracks into subgroups will make it much easier and simpler to automate your mix globally…

...Thus, making it much faster and easier to boost the instruments or vocals in a chorus to create a little more excitement.

Or you could use it to create a crescendo type of effect.

You could even reduce the volume of the drums or instruments for the verse to create a bigger impact in the chorus.

The possibilities are endless!


​30. matching the volume with plugins

This is an important one.

When you start adding plugins on your tracks it's very possible your tracks will start getting louder.

This tricks your brain into thinking the plugin is making the track sound better, but in reality, all it’s done is increased the volume…

...And as we know louder is NOT better!

The way to resolve this and make sure your plugins are actually helping your mix is to use the output knob on your plugin and match it to the original volume.

Matching the Volume On a Compressor

Flip the bypass back and forth and match the volume.

This way you can see if your plugins you are using are actually helping or not.


31. close your eyes every once in a while

With so many visuals on plugins, it can be hard not to mix with your eyes.

But, as we all know.

That’s not how to mix.

Try this:

When you are listening to your mix or bypassing a plugin, close your eyes and just listen.

Then, ask yourself:

Does this actually sound better?

Doing this will force you to be truthful to yourself and ultimately finish your mix with a better result.


32. Ask yourself why.

While you are mixing you should always ask yourself:

“Why am I doing this?”

And...

“Does this actually help my mix?”

If you don’t know why or you’re just doing it because it’s what you always do.

Then stop!

It’s highly likely that you’re just making the mix worse.


​33. panning Space

If you’re like me and use LCR panning (left, right and center).

This trick will be great for you.

What I like to do is pan 50% either side for things like percussion or vocal delays.

As there is a whole lot of open space and they don’t need to be panned wide.

 But, they still get out the way of the important stuff in the middle.

​34. Take frequent breaks

Taking breaks is one of the best things you can do when mixing a song.

You will always make better mix decisions when your ears are fresh.

Try this:

Every 25 minutes take a 5 - 10-minute break…

...And then after 4, 25-minute work sessions take a longer break of 15 - 30 minutes.

This is called the Pomodoro technique and is one of the most productive ways of staying focused while learning.

Not only that:

It allows your ears to rest, allowing you to make better mixing decision and ultimately better-finished mixes.


​35. You don’t need new gear

A lot of mixers think they need better gear to make their mixes better…

...Or, if they could just get their hands on that plugin, their mix would sound so much better.

Here’s the kicker:

They’re Wrong!

Gear is not what makes your mix sound great, it’s how you use it that matters.

A pro mixer can make a song sound amazing with stock plugins and so ​can you.

​36. listen to the song that you thought was amazing as a kid

For most of us, our quest in audio started when we heard that one record that made us fall in love with our jaw to the floor.

​However, Back then when we listened to it, we would listen to it as a whole song.

So, go back and listen to that song or album again and see from a technical point of view and think about what made you fall in love with it.

What do the kick and snare sound like? How does each instrument sit in the mix? what do the vocals sound like? Etc…

Now, try to recreate that same feeling in your mixes.


​37. don't be afraid to push the limits

If you have ever seen Chris Lord Alge mix you will know be is not afraid to turn the knobs to full and make drastic mix decisions.

Sometimes when we mix, we can be too conservative.

So, take a note out of one the best mix engineers notebook and don’t be scared.

If the snare needs to be boosted up 15dB at 8kHz. Then that’s what you do.

“If it sounds good, it is good”.


​38. Use drum samples

Using drum samples is something every pro engineer does.

And if you don’t you should start using them now.

I think you will agree:

Most musicians haven't got a lot of money or a big studio with great microphones.

Many have little knowledge on recording.

This makes it hard for us mixers because we keep getting sent poorly recorded tracks…

...Especially drums.

Many times I find myself reaching for samples for the kick and snare.

A great plugin for this is Trigger by Steven Slate drums

Steven Slate drums

39. use group tracks and mix instruments together

Mixing tracks individually is all well and good.

But, have you tried mixing the group channel first?

For example: try to get the drums sounding punchy and great on the group channel before you start surgery on the individual tracks.

This will not only speed up your mixing but will also help the mixing process sound more natural.

Give it a try and see what you think.


40. The low-end mix trick

If you struggle with balancing the low end, such as:

Getting the kick and bass to sit together nicely.

Or…

Having the right volume of low end in your mix.

This will be great for you.

  • What you need is a VU meter on the master fader.
  • Solo the kick drum and set it to unity gain.
Kick Drum At 0dB
  • Next, raise the gain on the VU meter until the kick drum hits -3dB.
Kick Drum At -3dB on the VU Meter
  • Now, bring in the bass with the kick and set the bass volume to the lowest.
Bass Turned Down
  • ​Slowly bring up the volume of the bass until the VU meter hits 0 every time the kick hits while the bass is playing.
Kick And Bass VU Meter
  • Finally, Turn the gain back down on the VU meter.

You can now mix the rest of the band knowing your bass and kick drum is matched and balanced.


41. More OOMPH from your low end

A quick and easy tip to get more bottom and punch in your mix is to use a bit of parallel compression.

Create a mono aux or group track and route your kick, snare and bass guitar to it.

Mono Group Track

Make the track a pre-fader.

Pre Fader

​And then compress it with a really high ratio to give you a squashed, unnatural and unusable sound.

Finally, fade your compressed group track with the rest of the mix and hear the low end become fatter.


​42. buss mixing

When you start to mix, try EQing and compressing on your group tracks first, such as drums, guitars, strings, vocals.

Buss Mixing

​One reason for this is you can save yourself a lot of time.

If you are able to get the sound you are hearing in your head by processing on the group track, you will have done it in a fraction of the time.

And you may not even need to do anything on the individual tracks.


43. Raising the attack

Sometimes when you’re near completion of a mix and just doing the final tweaks with automation…

...There might be one instrument that just gets buried in a section of the song.

But, it doesn't need turning up.

What do you do?

Try turning up just the attack of the instrument wherever needed.

​This allows your ear to perceive that the instrument is playing and focuses on it more.

Raising The Attack

44. save often

The most frustrating thing that can happen when you are mixing is your DAW crashing.

But, what’s even more annoying than that is when you don’t save your work…

...especially when you got that kick drum sounding amazing.

Get in the habit of saving your work after every major processing decision.

Tip: Use the shortcut to save time.

CTRL + S for PC

Or

​CMD + S for Apple


45. Double a track without a double

If you are unable to re-record a track to create a double for one of your instruments.

There's a really easy way to fudge it while having it sound realistic and great.

The only downside is the part you want to be double has to be played at least twice.

All you have to do is copy the second version of the part and place it on a separate track in the first position.

Double A Track 1st Move

​And then you copy the first part of the original track and place it in the second position.

Double A Track 2nd Move

​Compression

​46. room mic compression

This technique only applies if you have a room mic in your mix.

What we are going to do is over compress the room mic with a long release time. And this will sound unnatural, but blended in with the drums will make it sound huge.

Insert a compressor on the room mic track and have a short attack with a long release and a high ratio.

Room mic Compression

once done, you might want to EQ afterward to bring down any frequencies that get annoying.


​47. Compress drums quietly

This is a simple but effective technique.

Compressing drums loud can be deceiving, They sound great, punchy, cut through the mix etc.

But, do they actually sound great, or is it because you have to volume turned up.

If you can get a great sounding, punchy drums at low volumes…

...Then they’re going to sound incredible when turned up!

Next time you compress drums, force yourself to turn them down.


​48. stacking compressors

Instead of using one compressor and working it extremely hard.

It may be beneficial to use two and half the amount on each.

This way, you’re not squeezing just one.

This technique is subjective, some say you should always do it…

...And some say it’s a waste of time.


​49. compressing bass guitar

When we listen to music we have come to love a nice round and overall consistent volume for the bass.

Even though a bass guitar is usually very dynamic.

We can achieve this by using a compressor.

  • Start out with a slow attack and long release.
  • This will let the initial pluck to not be compressed and the end of the note to stay audible.
  • Next, you will want to set the ratio and threshold to achieve about -3dB to -6dB of gain reduction.

​Don’t copy what I’ve just said and then leave it.

Start out with my settings and tweak it to whatever sounds good.


​50. Compressor Listening

Have you actually listened to your compressors?

And compared them to one another to see why you like them and also how they affect your tracks?

If the answer is no.

Then, good news!

I’m giving you permission to have some fun and just listen to 2 or 3 of your favorite compressors.

And just try to understand what they’re doing to your track sonically.

It doesn't take very long, but it’s so helpful and worth doing.


51. side chain compression to reduce snare in overheads

​When all you can hear in your overheads is your snare drum...

...You might want to try this technique.

Bring up a compressor on the overheads and sidechain it to the snare drum.

Make this a pre fader.

Next, set a fast attack and a fairly fast release time.

​Finally, set the threshold For 3-6dB reduction.

​This is a really simple technique but works extremely well.


52. multiband compression

If you are not using multiband compression, you should look into it.

It’s a really great technique to help the low end of your mix.

As what it allows you to do is only compress a certain range of frequencies.

​It’s exactly the same as a normal compressor, but if there are some frequencies that need to be tamed, a multiband compressor is the way to go.
Multiband Compression

​​53. parallel drum compression

This is a really good trick for your drums.

First, add a new effects channel with all the drums routed to it.

Add a compressor and use a fast attack and a slowish release, as we want this to be aggressive.

Next, turn the ratio up between 8:1 - 12:1 maybe even more.

Turn the track up with the rest of the mix and listen out for the crack of the snare and body of the kick.

You will hear this will make your drums much fatter with more energy.

Sometimes you might not want to compress all the drums, so try just sending the kick and snare to the effects track.


​54. Fatter snare with compression

A compressor is a great tool for getting a fatter snare drum.

You will want to have a fast attack and a slow release.

A high ratio and the threshold to be set so it's compressing mostly the transients.

You will want to bring up the makeup gain a bit…

Fatter Snare With Compression

...Remember: don’t just copy my settings. Start with them and change them to suit your instrument.


55. Get a Thicker and energetic mix

Route all your individual tracks apart from the drums to a send.

You want to be using post fader and to link the main panning.

Bring up a compressor on the send and compress all the tracks a little.

Finally, blend the track into the mix.


​56. Compression on everything

A cool technique you can try is to put a compressor on the master fader before adding plugins on the individual tracks.

This will glue your all your tracks together because everything will be going through it.

Watch out:

It’s very easy to over compress, as you’re compressing all the tracks you don’t want to squash them.

So, keep it light.

Typically, aim for a -3dB to -6dB reduction with a low ratio.

You’re going to have to tweak it to your song.

Try it out and see if you like it.


​57. 1176 "DR Pepper" setting

This little trick is to do with the compressor 1176 by waves.

Check out this video to see what the DR Pepper setting is all about:


​58. Using Multiband Compression On The Master Fader

Once you have finished your mix you can give your mix a little more energy with some multiband compression on all the tracks.

And lightly compress the midrange (100Hz - 10kHz).

​Make sure the volume is the same when bypassed to see if it actually helps.

​59. Look Ahead Compression

​Sometime with instruments like percussion the transients are too quick for compressors.

And because of that the instrument can have too much attack and punch.

An easy way to rectify this is to duplicate the track.

​Nudge the new track back slightly.

Put a compressor on the original track, sidechain it to the duplicate track and set it to pre fader.

​tweak the compressor to how you like.

And you're done!

​EQ

​60. high pass filter

This is an awesome technique that everyone should be using.

I would go as far to say this could even save your mix!

Not only that:

This is super easy to do!

To do this, bring up an EQ on any of your tracks apart from kick and bass.

Studio EQ

​And use a high pass filter (every DAW will have it).

High Pass Filter

​Move the high pass filter up the spectrum until you hear the instrument get thin.

Finally, roll it back a little.

If you listen to it in solo and bypass it, you will hear the low-end rumble disappear.

However, if you listen to it in context with the track you won’t be able to do hear a difference…

...And that's what you want!

Do this with every track apart from the really low stuff like kick and bass.


​61. kick and bass ​EQ

I use this technique all the time.

It helps to get your kick and bass to sit nicely together and not fight each other.

What you need to do is bring up an EQ on your kick drum.

​Boost 60Hz around 3dB and cut 120Hz around 3dB.

Next, apply the opposite on the bass guitar.

So, Cut out 60Hz around 3dB and boost 120Hz around 3dB.

Kick and Bass EQ

Now, listen to them in context with the track and see if it's improved at all.

You might need to cut and boost more for a bigger separation.

Or even change the frequencies.


​62. EQ carving

This technique is good for multiple instruments of the same tonal frequencies.

Such as Multiple guitars, multiple strings or even multiple vocals.

Anything that is overlapping each other, and needs a little bit of separation between each other.

What you need to do:

  1. Bring up an EQ
  2. Find a nice sounding frequency
  3. Boost it around 3dB
  4. On the competing track Cut the same frequency 3dB
  5. On the same track Find another frequency that sounds good
  6. And boost it about 3dB
  7. ​On the original track Cut the frequency 3dB
EQ Carving

​What this does is separate the tracks by attenuating the different frequencies of the different tracks.

It subtle but also makes your ears perceive the tracks are wider if they are panned hard left and hard right.


63. find bad frequencies by sweeping the spectrum

The easiest way to find the annoying frequencies to cut out is to sweep the EQ spectrum.

You can do this by Setting the Q factor to the max and raising the gain to max.

You then search the frequency spectrum to find the nasty sounding frequencies and cut them.

Find Bad Frequencies By Sweeping The Spectrum

64. EQ is just a volume knob

All EQ is, is a volume knob that can turn up and down specific frequencies.

And that’s all we are basically doing in mixing…

...changing the volumes for everything to fit together nicely.

That’s all it is!

​Sometimes we forget that mixing should be simple and to not make our lives so complicated.


65. Boost Wide and Cut narrow

This is a great technique to remember while EQing.

Using wider EQ moves while boosting will sound more musical…

...And using narrow cuts will help it sound more natural.


​66. eQ in mono

Here’s the thing:

It’s much easier to EQ in stereo as you already have separation from panning.

But, if you listen in mono, you will find the balance isn’t right and you will need to tweak your EQ settings.

So, why not save time and EQ in mono.

That way it will sound great no matter where you're listening to it, whether you’re in the car or in a professional studio.


​67. Help your drums Instantly

This is a quick and easy technique that use more often than not…

...And in most cases, it helps.

All you have to do is bring up an EQ on your drum bus.

And cut out around 500Hz.

Help Your Drums Instantly

​Now, 500Hz isn’t the exact frequency and this won’t be a magical fix. Sometimes it might not even help.

But I find it cleans up the drums and rid of some mud and ring.

It takes 2 seconds to try it out.


​68. subtractive ​EQ

What is subtractive EQ?

It’s where you cut out frequencies more than you boost them.

Why should you do this?

  • You will be removing noise
  • Giving yourself more headroom
  • Removing the offending frequencies
  • ​Producing Cleaner sounding tracks

Subtractive EQ will also force you to not to boost what you wish there was more of. But rather get rid of what's getting in the way of the good parts of your tracks.

I'm not saying don’t ever boost with EQ.

Just use subtractive EQ first, and boost later if you really need to.


69. don't use just subtractive eQ

The problem with reading mixing tips on the internet is anyone can tell you what to do.

And there are a lot of people who sound smart but don’t actually know what they are on about.

One struggle I went through in my first few years is, I only tried to use subtractive EQ.

Everyone told me to do this.

But it just frustrated me as I knew how I wanted the track to sound but I wasn’t able to do it with subtractive EQ.

I thought to myself:

“There must be another way”

And there is!

The trick is to boost as well as cut.

As soon as I started doing this my mixes were sounding better, I was working faster and I was much happier overall.

What I tend to do now is clean up the track by cutting out frequencies first…

...And then with another equalizer after it, I boost what needs enhancing.


70. use eQ with a built-in analyzer

This tip is great, especially for beginners.

Try using a built-in analyzer while EQing to help visualize what needs boosting and cutting.

Ultimately your ears will be the final judge but it’s a great start.


​71. Cut Out This Frequency

Especially as beginner mixers, we tend to gravitate towards boosting around 2kHz.

This frequency can sound exciting and also help instruments cut through the mix.

The problem is:

Too much of this frequency can cause pain and just be too much for your ears to handle.

So much so that after a minute or two the listener will be done with the song.

How to resolve this?

Try cutting out 2kHz from your mid-range instruments.

Cut Out This Frequency 2kHz

This can also really help your vocals cut through the mix since that 2kHz is where they shine.


​72. depth with eQ

Usually, we create depth in our mix with reverb and delay.

But, we can do this with EQ as well.

Our ears tend to perceive tracks that have a lot of high-frequency information to be closer and right up front to the listener.

But a track with a lot of the high frequencies cut out will be a little more muffled and will seem to feel a little more further away.

So if you have a track you want to sit back in the mix to separate it from the more important track for the section.

Try using a low pass filter and cut out some of the highs.

It will be subtle but may give you just what you need.


​73. using faders as EQ

A lot of the time we jump to EQ too fast.

And sometimes all you need is a volume change.

As the louder, the track is the different frequencies we perceive.

Try it out before you jump to an EQ plugin.


​74. Cut Out This Frequency

Especially as beginner mixers, we tend to gravitate towards boosting around 2kHz.

This frequency can sound exciting and also help instruments cut through the mix.

The problem is:

Too much of this frequency can cause pain and just be too much for your ears to handle.

So much so that after a minute or two the listener will be done with the song.

How to resolve this?

Try cutting out 2kHz from your mid-range instruments.

This can also really help your vocals cut through the mix since that 2kHz is where they shine.


​75. Easy Fatter Snare Drum

If you find yourself in a mix with your snare feeling a bit weak…

...And you want to add some body and weight to it.

Try this:

Open up any EQ.

Cut out the frequencies that don’t help the snare first.

For example anything below 100Hz and in my case around the 1kHz range.

Easy Fatter Snare Drum

​​Then find where to fatness lies (usually around the low mids section)

And boost that a few dB to your liking.

This is super easy and super simple but super effective.


76. start with a preset when EQing then change it from there

For some people looking at an EQ can be the same as looking at a blank screen for a 2000 word essay.

To get you going. Start with a Preset.

It is a big help.

Remember: Change the settings to suit your track.


77. add a very high shelf to add air and give a shine to the vocals

A quick tip to add some shine and air to your vocals is to EQ a high shelf at about 8 - 10kHz.

However:

Be careful how much you add as it can start to sound artificial and harsh.

​Delay

78. using delay instead of reverb

The problem with reverbs is they can wash out your mix and too much reverb will ruin it.

Try using a delay instead of a reverb, especially on vocals and see if it helps.


79. mono vocal delay

Sometimes in a mix, you don’t need a washy, atmospheric, stereo ping-pong delay.

Your vocals might just call for a mono delay.

It depends on the song.

Try it next time the delay seems to be too washy with a stereo delay.


80. distorted slap delay trick

This is a cool trick you can try to give more energy to the vocals.

Open up a mono delay plugin...

...Any will do, but for this example, I will be using ​Echoboy.

Set the delay to 1/64th note and the tempo to your track.

Distorted Slap Delay EchoBoy

​Next turn up the saturation.

If you are using the Echoboy, change the style if you wish (I like to use echoplex).

Distorted Slap Delay EchoBoy Saturation

​What this does is sits tightly underneath the vocals and subtly gives it a bit of energy.

Tip: If you’re not using a delay plugin with saturation, you can use a saturation plugin before the delay.


81. give movement to your mix with delay on your drums

If you need to create more movement in your mix but you don’t want it to be another instrument or anything that’s going to clutter the track.

Try this:

Create a stereo drum print by exporting all of the drums and importing it back into your session.

Give movement to your mix

open a delay, set the BPM to your track and the delay to a 1/8th note.

Also, set low pass filter and high pass filter so you can only hear the low mids.

In this case, My high pass filter was set to 180Hz and my low pass filter was set to 1kHz.

Give movement to your Mix EQ

Bring this up in your mix for a very subtle way to create movement in your mix.

This technique is very subtly used on the kick drum in Hey Sister, Soul Sister.


82. mix delay into reverb

This is a really cool trick.

What you want to do is create two FX tracks.

One for a reverb:

Mix Delay Into Reverb Settings

​And ​another for ​delay:

Mix Delay Into Reverb Delay Settings

​Set the parameters to taste.

But, don’t do any high pass or low pass filtering, you want it loud and in your face.

Next, make the delays output the reverb FX channel.

Mix Delay Into Reverb Output

​Set the setting to how you like and remove some of the lows and highs.

Finally using a send, send the reverb back into the delay channel.

​Be careful:

If you send too much signal back into the delay you can create a feedback loop.

Slowly fade up the send to your desired taste.

This creates a washy delay that can sound really nice on vocals.

But try it out on different instruments and see what sounds good.


83. let delay fill out empty parts of songs

A good way to transition from one section of a song to another or to fill out an empty part of a mix is to use a long delay.

Try using a ping pong delay to fill the stereo spectrum.

​Reverb

84. reverb glue

When listening to a band live, it sounds like the band is in the same room.

And that's because…well...they are in the same room!

But when we record a song in our home studios.

We can’t always track everything in the same space.

So, one thing I like to do is to create a send with a reverb plugin.

Start off with a medium plate (you can tweak it after).

And finally, send all your tracks to that reverb.

This will glue all your tracks together and make them more uniform.


85. Abbey Road Reverb

This is something Abbey Road uses on their reverbs.

It’s simply a high pass and low pass filter…

Set the high pass filter at around 600Hz.

And the low pass at about 10kHz.

Abbey Road Reverb

​Doing this allows the reverb to be heard but doesn’t wash out your mix or become overpowering.

Tip 1: Cut out 2kHz a few dB to allow for the vocals to shine through.

Tip 2: Experiment with using different frequencies, Instruments, and effects such as delay.


86. use a shorter decay time with reverb

Reverb is the key to making your mixes sound deep, wide and 3 dimensional.

But, using it wrong is the easiest way to make your mix washy, muddy and amateur.

One thing beginners like to do is have a long drawn out reverb…

...And this can sound great in certain applications.

However, Most of the time this can easily make your songs sound muddy.

If you are someone who does this...

...Try this:

In your next mix, set the reverb to how you like it:

Use a Shorter Decay Time

...And then dial back the decay time a little:

Use a Shorter Decay Time

It might just help.


87. pan reverb the opposite side of the instrument

A cool Trick to try is to pan the reverb of an instrument to the opposite side of the instrument.

If you have two instruments playing different things at the same time, one panned hard left and one panned hard right.

Try putting a little of the reverb in the opposite positions, as this is what you will hear in real life.

You can go more extreme and pan all the drums to one side and have the reverb in the other side…

...Like Queens Of The Stone age did in A Song For The Dead.


88. use a high pass filter on reverb

Reverbs are great but if they have too much presence they can wash out your mix and lose its clarity.

That’s why using a high pass filter after the reverb is a really good idea.

It really helps tame the washiness and stays in the background as a reverb should do.

Most reverbs will already have a HPF built into the plugin itself.

If that’s the case, there's no need for an EQ after the reverb.


89. use just one reverb plugin

Have a reverb plugin that is your ‘go to’ on every mix.

This will not only help you learn everything there is to know about that reverb.

But, it will also speed up your learning and mixing.

Tip: This doesn’t just apply to reverb, it’s a great idea to do this with every plugin.


90. use the same reverb for all your instruments

Using just one reverb for all of your instruments not only makes it easier on your CPU, it also helps your tracks sound like they were recorded in the same space.

And that’s what we are constantly fighting for.

It doesn’t matter what reverb you use.

Learn it and stick to it.

It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.


91. use eQ after reverb on sends

Most reverbs will have some sort of EQ built into them.

But, sometimes I like to use an EQ plugin after the reverb on the send.

This gives me more control with what frequencies I want to cut or boost.

For example, I might want to use a high pass filter along with a cut at around 300Hz to remove some mud and a high shelf for a bit of sparkle.

Use EQ After Reverb

These moves are too specific for a reverb plugin but simple on an EQ.


92. use a longer reverb on vocals on the chorus

Don’t be afraid to use more than one reverb.

It can really help open a chorus and give more life and energy to the vocals if you use a longer reverb and a shorter one in the verses.

Just automate when you want them to come in and out.

​​Vocals

93. mix vocals last

I almost always mix vocals last.

This is because they need to be up front and sitting on top of the rest of the mix.

I find if I mix vocals first they start to get buried and covered up.

On the other hand:

A lot of professional mixers like to mix the vocals first and bring everything up around them.

It’s very subjective and varies from person to person and sometimes from mix to mix.

​Try it out and see what you like best.

94. vocal delay

Using a delay on vocals can remove the washiness and loss of clarity you get from reverbs.

It can also do some really cool effects for vocals.

But, we are going to keep it simple with this technique.

Bring up a delay on your vocals and start with a quarter note or eighth note (providing you have set the bpm).

Next, change the delay time in either the left or the right to add a stereo effect.

Set the feedback to your liking.

And finally, use a low pass filter.

Vocal Delay

If your delay doesn’t have a low pass filter, use an EQ plugin after the delay.


95. De-esser

Everyone should be using a de-esser on their vocals.

It removes the sibilance we as humans can’t avoid.

Basically, it’s a compressor that’s tied to a certain frequency.

De-Esser

​Start with a preset and then tweak it to your vocals.

If you are able to, sweep around the frequency spectrum to find the really annoying part of the sibilance.

Using a de-esser will help your mixes sound less amateur and only takes a few minutes to do.


96. Airy Vocals

Try this:

Duplicate the lead vocals without any plugins.

Apply a compressor and compress the vocals heavy (around 8 - 10dB).

Airy Vocals Compressor

Next, use an EQ to boost the high end (Between 8kHz and 12kHz) and use a high pass filter around 600Hz.

Airy Vocals EQ

​Take a listen to what it sounds like in context with the mix.

Finally, this will give you a lot of sibilances so add a de-esser to reduce them.

Bring the track to just sit under the vocals as if it’s too loud it will sound tinny.


97. vocal stutter effect

This technique is used a lot in dance and EDM and not a whole lot in rock music.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use it and it’s a great tip to have in the back of your mind.

To do this find the section you want to create the stutter.

Make sure you are snapped to the grid and using 16th notes cut up your audio.

Near the end of the stutter, you might want to use 32nd notes.

Finally, mute every other one.

Here’s how it should look:

Vocal Stutter Effect

98. Wider lead vocals

In a lot of mixes, you will likely have a double track of the whole vocals or at least certain parts.

And they can sound great.

But, sometimes you need more than just a double.

This trick will show you how to get exciting and wide vocals.

Take the vocal double and duplicate it.

Wider Lead Vocals Duplicate

Pan them hard left and right and nudge one a little to the left and the other a little to the right.

Wider Lead Vocals

If one side is louder than the other turn it down.

This happens because you perceive the first side that hits you ear louder than the latter side.


99. Polished stereo delay

Sometimes reverb doesn’t work on vocals as it makes it too washed out and a mono delay can sound too affected.

Whereas, a stereo delay can give the vocals an edge with them sounds affected.

What you need to do is put a different delay time on either side…

...For example, I have set my delay to the tempo of the track and have the left side an 8th note delay and the other side an 8th note triplet delay.

​Try it out:
Polished Stereo Delay

100. Get Thicker Vocals With De-tuning

Here’s a neat little trick to make your vocals thicker and sit on top of the mix a little more.

I got this trick from Warren Huart “Produce like a pro”.

And I will let him explain it to you as it will be much easier to understand in a video:


101. vocal telephone effect

To get the telephone effect is really simple.

Bring up an EQ and apply a high pass filter and low pass filter.

Vocal Telephone Effect

​Next, boost the midrange and find a sweet spot for that vocal.

Vocal Telephone Effect With a mid Range Boost

​And that's it!


102. panning harmonies wide

Having the vocal harmonies up the center with the main vocals is all well and good.

But when you want a section of the song to open up and have even more energy…

...Panning the harmonies hard left and right can be really effective.

If you don’t have a harmony double, check out ​number 45 "Double a track without a double”.


103. Vocal Automation

As you are getting near the end of your mix and everything is sounding good.

You will want to listen to the vocals and find small sections that are too quiet.

Leaving them are what makes your mix sound amateur.

So, you will need to use automation to raise the volume on the quieter bits.

Do this throughout your song, line by line and make sure every single word is audible and heard clearly.

I do this on all my mixes.

Don’t just stop at vocals, This can be done with any instrument that needs it.


104. A simple way for some vocal presence.

This trick will give your vocal a little more presence and is simple to do.

Step one: Duplicate your vocal track without the plugins.

Step two: Bring up an EQ and apply a high pass filter about 1kHz.

Simple Way For Some Vocal Presence EQ

​Step three: Distort the vocals with a distortion plugin or amp simulator.

Simple Way For Some Vocal Presence Distortion

​Step four: Compress the track hard so it’s one consistent volume.

Vocal Presence Compression

​This will give you a thin, distorted and nasty sounding vocal.

But as you bring it up in the mix it will give energy and presence to the original vocals.


105. getting background vocals to sit in the mix

This is a simple technique but can help with getting the background vocal to sit in the mix.

Which I'm sure we have all struggled with one time or another.

All you need to do is a simple low pass filter of about 8 - 10kHz to reduce the highs and clarity.

Getting Background Vocals To Sit In The Mix

This is subtle but helps duck the backing vocals under the main vox.


106. switch vocal delays

Switching vocal delays is a great way to get separation from the verse to chorus.

It can also open the chorus up and make it wide and exciting.

All you need to do is have a short delay for the verses…

...And have a long delay for the chorus.

This might not work for every song your mix, but for the right songs, it can sound great.

Instead of using two different tracks, use automation to turn the delays on and off.


107. Remove unwanted vocal noise

One thing that gets overlooked by beginner mixers is not removing the unwanted noise in the vocal tracks.

This includes:

  • Breaths
  • Coughing
  • Rustling
  • Sniffing
  • Moving

It’s really easy to remove these and takes 10 minutes to go through the vocals to remove any unwanted noise between each vocal line.

One thing I like to do is fade up the breaths.

Remove Unwanted Vocal Noise

​This keeps it natural and not so in your face.


108. tighter vocal harmonies

When you listen to a professionally mixed track with harmonies. They always sound tight and match up perfectly.

It doesn’t matter how good the singer is, it’s extremely hard to get a perfect harmony.

And every mixer will manipulate the harmonies to make them sound tight.

Now, I don’t mean using timestretch or squeeze the vocals lines…

...I mean editing the consonants and syllables at the start and end of each phrase.

This is as simple as cutting and dragging the harmonies to match up with the main vocal.

Remember: Don’t touch the lead vocal track, only manipulate the harmonies and overdubs.

​Instruments

109. bass saturation (distortion)

Using distortion on a bass guitar can allow you to hear it in a completely different way and help cut through the mix.

This is simply done by creating a duplicate of your bass track.

And then use a distortion plugin, any will do just get a gritty, distorted and saturated sound.

You don’t want any low end so turn that down on the distortion plugin and you will have a gross bass sound. (This is what we want)

Bass Saturation

Turn that track all the way down and slowly bring it up with the clean original track until you can hear the bass with more presence in the mix.


110. piano in mono

As good as a piano can sound in stereo, once it’s sitting in the mix of many different instruments that are all panned out wide, that stereo piano is going to get completely lost in the mix.

Try making your piano mono and see if you really notice a difference.

 It’s a really simple trick but can be really effective to bring space and clarity in your mix

111. fatter bass with controlled low-end

If you have a mix with a bass DI and a bass amp, try this:

Put a low pass filter on the DI bass and set it to around 200Hz ish.

Fatter Bass With Controlled Low-End Low Pass Filter

​Next, use a high pass filter on the bass amp at the same amount.

Fatter Bass With Controlled Low-End High Pass Filter

​This will give you really clean and controlled low end from the DI with the great characteristics of the bass amplifier.

Tip: To give your bass some grit, duplicate the DI and put it through a distortion plugin.

Apply the same high pass filter that you used on the bass amp

Compress it hard so it’s one consistent volume.

And bring it up in the mix.


112. Bring more life into your acoustic guitars

Are your acoustic guitars feeling lifeless and need to punch through?

Well, good news!

There’s an easy and simple trick that might work for you.

All you need to do is compress the acoustic guitars with a slow attack and fast release.

Bring More Life Acoustic Guitars Compresser

​This way the strums don't get squashed, but you will be able to bring up the overall feeling and energy of the body of the guitar.

Try it out on your next mix and see if it helps.


113. guitar In The Center

To create a fatter tone with your guitars try panning one of your guitars straight up the center.

Usually, this isn’t ideal as you want to keep the guitars wide to save room for vocals, snare, kick and bass.

But sometimes to create some fatness, try panning one guitar up the middle.

It might just be what you’re looking for.


114. Pitch down the solo

This trick is great for a lead guitar or solo of some kind.

If there's a part that just needs that little something extra…

...You could try copying the part to another track and then with a simple transposer.

Transpose the part down an octave (12 semitones).

It doesn't sound great ​on its own but adds thickness and energy.


115. Kick and bass sidechain

You have probably come across the kick and bass fighting each other in the mix.

And there are many ways to tackle this problem.

Here’s another one to add to the collection.

We are going to use some sidechain compression.

And what this means is, we are going to use a kick drum to trigger a compressor on the bass guitar.

This will turn down the bass guitar every time the kick drum plays and will allow room for the kick to be heard.

To do this:

​Add a compressor on the bass track and sidechain it to the kick drum with it set to pre fader.

Change the settings on the compressor...

...And that's all you need to do.

This is a really simple and easy technique, and is subtle but can definitely help.


116. use a de-esser on guitars

Sometimes a distorted guitar can get a little painful and aggressive for your ears.

You could fix this with EQ…

...But if you like the way it sounds, cutting out the highs might not be the best option.

This is where a de-esser comes to save the day.

Set the frequency range you want to reduce and then the threshold.

Try it out in your next mix.


117. Add an acoustic guitar to enhance your distorted guitars

A simple way to make your thick distorted guitars cut through the mix and be felt as well as heard…

...Is to use an acoustic guitar to play the same part.

It might sound silly, but it actually works.

This is because the attack of the acoustic guitar gives a percussive element and texture to the electrics.

Try it on your next mix with some over-driven guitars that don’t seem to cut through the mix.

​Drums

118. Open up the drums

As mixers, we are always looking for ways to make our mix more exciting and have as much energy as it can.

A simple way we can do this with the drums is to have the overheads narrow in the verse and then automate the panning of them wide for the chorus or bridge.

Open Up The Drums

​This isn’t a massive difference and it is subtle.

 It won’t make your mix suddenly sound amazing, but what it will do is create a small impact in the hook of the song.

And that's what mixing is,

Many small subtle enhancements all brought together to make one massive improvement.


119. tape saturation

We use tape saturation nowadays to recreate some of the nuances of what sound did when it hit the analog tape.

This is sonically pleasing to the ear and can sound really great on drums.

And will subtly add a little more grit color and energy.

It won’t make your drums sound amazing but using tape saturation used subtly on different instruments in your mix can make a big impact overall.

Try it out in your next mix.


120. gating drums

A gate plugin can be a really helpful tool to clean up your tracks. It will simply mute a track when you want it to be muted.

Your drums will always have bleed and there is no way to get around that.

Sometimes we want that as it can beef up the drums and make them more natural.

But, more often than not though, the bleed is not needed as it just muddies up your mix.

Try using a gate on your kick or snare and set the ratio (in my case range) to the max.

Next set the threshold to the lowest, play your track and turn it up until the gate is only opening when the kick or snare hits.

Gating Drums

Finally, Once you have that increase the release time to make it sound more natural.

You might have to turn the ratio down.

Give it a try as this can be done to any instrument in your whole mix.


​121. phase check drums

This is probably one of the easiest and fastest ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your drums.

All you need to do is check the phase between your close mic tracks with your overhead mics.

To do this you need to be in mono.

Phase Check Drums Mono

​Solo the overhead track.

Then one at a time solo each individual close mic track.

Find a plugin that enables you to flip the phase, usually, EQ plugins allow this. You might even be able to do it on the mixer itself.

It looks like this:

​Have a listen and flip the phase.

One will sound better than the other and leave it on whichever is the best.

Do this with all your close mic drums.

And that’s it!


122. Adding percussion

One thing beginner mixers do all the time is not use percussion in their mix.

And if you listen to any professional mix, you will almost always hear some kind of percussion buried in there.

It adds energy without being in your face.

It’s a great trick and if you’re not using it, try it.

You won’t regret it.


123. ​Using Sidechain Compression

​Check out this video to learn what sidechain compression is, how to use it and a really cool way to help your vocals to sit on top of the mix.


124. Making the high hat feel ​realistic

Programmed High hats have a way of feeling like a programmed high hat.

There are a few little tricks to subtly give your high hats a bit of life and realism using automation.

 First, check to see if you can change the automation tool to random in your DAW:

If you can’t, you can still do this it will just take a little longer as you will be doing it by hand.

To start, randomize the volume throughout the high hat track no more than 3dB.

Next, add an EQ and randomly automate one of the mid bands.

To make it even more interesting you can automate the frequency subtly as well.

If you are programming the high hats yourself, change the velocity of each hit to get it to sound even more realistic.


125. overhead automation

This is a great trick to create a little bit of excitement in your mix.

And it’s extremely simple.

All you need to do is boost the overheads of your drums up around 3dB using automation.

Overhead Automation

It’s great for getting a bit of high-end energy fast!

And is something many professionals use all the time.


126. reverb pre-delay on the snare

The trouble with reverb on a snare drum is it can get too washy.

The way I like to deal with this is to use pre-delay on the reverb.

To do this:

Create a send with a reverb plugin and send the snare to it.

And simply, turn up the pre-delay and ​reverb time to your liking.

I find that a good amount of pre-delay with a lower ​reverb time works well.

Reverb Pre Delay On Snare

127. reverse crash

You want transitions from one part of a song to another to be smooth and fluid.

And one easy way of doing this is by using a reverse crash cymbal.

It is super simple to do.

Find a cymbal in your drum overheads that you think will work and reverse it.

Reverse Crash

It’s that simple! But so effective.


128. Lift your chorus with stereo percussion

This is an easy technique to give some energy in the hook of the song.

All you need to do is make yours percussion stereo.

You can do this either by recording the percussion again (recommended) or do a little trick to create a second track.

For the trick:

Get the first two shakes of your percussion and copy the second hit onto a new track where the first hit should start.

And then get the first hit on the original track and place that in the second position.

It will look like this:

Lift Your Chorus With Percussion

​Doing this will give you a true stereo track even though you only recorded it once.


129. snare drum distortion

If your snare drum isn't cutting through in the mix and you don’t want to change the volume because the balance is good.

You can try adding a little bit of distortion.

This will add some harmonics to the track that wasn’t there before.

Now, it won’t sound good in solo, but in the context with the track, it can make a major difference and really make that snare pop.


130. cut through kick

When you are mixing many tracks, the kick drum can get lost and buried within the mix.

So, to be able to perceive the kick we can attenuate the beater head without using EQ on the original track.

To do this we will use a parallel processing technique.

  • Step One: Create a Send for your kick drum and set it to pre-fader.
Cut Through Kick Send
  • ​Step Two: Open up an EQ.
  • Step Three: Roll off a lot of the low end.
  • Step Four: Do a huge boost where the kick drum is most clicky.
Cut Through Kick EQ
  • Step Five: Compress it really hard.
Cut Through Kick Compressor

​This will give us a constant volume and a really ugly sound.

But, if you bring that up slowly in the mix with the original kick drum, you will find the kick will be much easier to hear even when all the other instruments are thick and in your face.

​Arrangement

131. Make your chorus pop

We as mixers need to make our mixes as exciting as possible.

And one way to do that is to make the section before less exciting.

How do I do that?

Let’s take a verse and a chorus:

Make the Chorus Pop Arrangment

​We want the chorus to be exciting, so we need to mellow out the verse.

You can do this in many ways.

But, I want to talk about panning the verse in mono.

Doing this is super effective as when the chorus comes in it hits you with this huge, wide, open, larger than life and wider than the speaker's energy.

I would recommend keeping the drums stereo but have everything else up the middle.



132. Use Them Dynamics

A good song requires dynamics.

It doesn't matter how good your EQ moves are and how balanced it is.

If it's all the same volume it’s extremely hard to create that excitement songs need nowadays.

All you have to do as a mixer is mute parts where you think they’re not needed.

It’s simple but also one of the quickest way to make your mix sound better.


133. Industrial drums for a section of the song

You will only be able to do this if you have a room mic.

All you need to do is find a section of the song you want to manipulate like a bridge or second verse.

And mute all the close mic and overhead tracks.

So only the room mic is playing.

You will need to turn the room mic up for that part of the song.

To make the transition a little smoother, bring the overheads in for one or two bars longer than the rest of the close mics.

Also, apply a small fade out to the room mic when everything comes back in.

 And that’s it!

134. increase the volume in the chorus to make it more exciting

One of my favorite ways to create more excitement in the last chorus is to automate the volume up 1-2dB.

It’s so simple yet so effective!


135. using pads for excitement

One way to bring your final chorus up a notch is to use a pad in the background.

Doing this adds frequencies that your song may not have.

This in turn makes your song more full and gives it energy.

Strings work great too.

You will be surprised how much energy it will bring to your last chorus.


136. create impact by removing the bass

One way to make your bass create an impact is to remove it from a specific section.

This could be a verse, pre-chorus, bridge etc.

It’s really easy and simple. All you have to do is mute it.

If done right, when the bass comes back in, it can be exciting and bring loads of energy.


137. Muting Guitars

One way to make a great mix is to remove guitars in certain sections of the song like a verse.

This will create dynamics, openness...

...And a huge impact!

The arrangement is the simplest way and a really great way to make an amazing mix.

​After The Mix

138. automate your tracks at the end of your mix

Use automation at the end of your mix to soften the loud parts and increase the quiet parts of your mix.

You will want to do this with every mix and at the very least, automate the vocals because compressors only do so much.


139. work with other peoples tracks

One of the fastest ways to improve your mixing capability is to mix other people's work.

This is because you have:

...Once you feel confident enough, start charging for your services. You can do that on sites like
  • Pressure
  • deadlines
  • other opinions
  • Unfamiliar genres

You will probably be working a lot more on your craft as well...

There are a lot of ways you can do this, such as:

  • Asking friends
  • Facebook communities
  • Forums

Get active and ask.

To start, mix other peoples tracks for free…

...Once you feel confident enough, start charging for your services. You can do that on sites like Fiverr.


140. Great recordings and songs are not about the gear

We all want the expensive gear and a room full of old analog hardware.

But we all know that we don’t need it.

We don’t even need to buy any plugins whatsoever to make a really good mix.

Everything your DAW comes with is good enough.

So, just remember before you go off to buy another piece of gear, maybe save your money or go and spend it on something more worthwhile such as ear training.


141. Get in a community to share your mixes

As much as you don’t want anyone else to hear your mixes and judge you and say what's wrong with it after putting in all that effort.

But, one of the best ways to improve your mixing skills is to let people better than you listen to it.

They will give you constructive criticism and maybe even tips and tricks that will stay with you forever.

A great site I like to use is Cambridge music technology.

Cambridge Music Technology Logo

They have hundreds of raw high-quality tracks all available for you to mix.

​And then once you have mixed them, each song has a discussion where you can showcase you mix and have other people comment what they thought.

Cambridge Music Technology Mixes and Discussions

​Everyone is really nice and it’s worth posting on there.


147. Export more than one mix

Once you think you’re done with the mix and it’s time to print it out.

It’s a good idea to export a few variations.

All this means is to export the mix with the vocals raised 1 or 2dB and lowered 1 or 2dB.

And you can also do this with the drums or guitars.

Doing this allows you to hear the mix a little differently in various locations.


142. Reference your mix on many speakers.

You don’t know what type of speakers or headphones people will be listening to your mix on.

And as we know:

Every speaker sounds different.

Not to mention the frequency responses are never the same.

How do we combat this?

The only way is to listen to your mix on as many different speakers in as many different environments as you can.

This includes:

Car stereo

CD player

iPhone earbuds

Gaming headset

TV speakers

Laptop speakers

Bluetooth speaker

Whatever you can listen to your mix on, do it!

Doing this will give you the best understanding of how your mix sounds in multiple environments.


144. limiter for reference

When working on songs for other people, you're going to be sending the mixdown to your clients.

And before mastering the overall volumes is going to be around -3 to -10.

Limiter For Reference

This is all well and good but when your client listens to it...

...He/she will reference it with other commercially produced songs.

​And when your mix is so much quieter, your client will send it back saying it needs more work.

Even though you told them to just turn it up!

So to save any headaches what I do now is add a limiter on the master fader.

This will boost the volume to make it sound similar to professionally created tracks.

And help the process go much smoother for you and the client.


145. always be curious

Being curious is a great thing...

...It has no downsides but a lot to gain.

When you have some spare time be curious with your DAW and music tracks.

Try out different plugins in orders you never would.

Go against what everyone else says.

You never know what you might find.

Most importantly, have fun!


146. Check your EQ

As you know:

It’s a good idea to reference a track at the start of your mix.

It’s also a good idea to reference a track and the end of your mix.

This is to check the EQ balance of your top and bottom end.

Make sure they’re the same volume to start with and listen to them both.

Does your track stand up against the professional mix?

If you feel like your track needs a bit more top or bottom, use an EQ on your master fader...

...And bring it up 1 or 2 dB.

Not too much as you’re affecting all the tracks.

It’s always a good idea to reference your mixes before and after you mix.


143. Check your mix balance

Once you’re just about done with you mix, there's one thing you should try.

Go to the hook of the song and pull the fader all the way down on the master track.

Really slowly bring the fader up until you start to hear something.

Take note of the first thing you hear as that will tell you a lot about your mix balance.

The two things you want to be able to hear at the lowest volume is snare and vocals…

...And next, you need to be able to hear the kick drum.

Those are the most important in your mix.

If the vocals or snare drum are buried and you can’t hear them, you might need to go back to your whole mix and tweak them a bit.


148. separate mixing sessions

When you are finished with your mix and you bounce it out, while listening to your mix on different speakers you might want to change something.

Such as: raising the vocals a few dB.

Instead of doing this in the same project session, it would be easier for you to save the change as a separate session…

Separate Mixing Sessions

​...This allows you to know what changes you have made and always keep that original copy just in case you or your client decides that actually that ones the best.

It’s worth doing just to be safe!


149. The last listen

This technique is more important than it sounds.

It’s really easy to do but at the same time can be extremely difficult.

What you need to do is listen to your completed mix from start to finish.

Have a pen and paper ready to note down anything you don’t like while listening to it.

If you notice something DON’T stop it playing, just listen to it all.

If you like the whole mix and nothing stands out, then guess what…

...You're done!

If there is something you wrote down, then you're not done.

Sort out whatever you need to and re-listen.

REMEMBER: Listen to the whole song and don’t press stop!


150. Ignore all the tips on this post

We all say “rules are meant to be broken”.

But Dave Pensado says “rules are not meant to be broken, they’re meant to be ignored”.

Rules, tips, and tricks are great but they restrict the freedom you have to create.

So, all in all, don’t live solely by these 151 tips... Make them your own.

​My Favorite Tip!

​​151. Train Your Ears

​​There is one tool I use every single day.

And I believe it's the one that made the biggest impact on my mixing.

What am I talking about?

Training Your Ears.

specifically training them for EQ.

​When I first started mixing, I never thought I would be able to identify frequencies or be able to say "that guitar is a little muddy around 350Hz".

But after consistently using this tool I instantly know roughly what needs to be done to the track, whether it's cutting away nasty frequencies or boosting the nice ones.

​If you have never trained your ears properly before. I highly recommend doing it.

But only do it if you are actually willing to put in the effort...

...It only takes 30 minutes a day, but you have to do that every day!

Trust me:

If you do, you will notice drastic improvements to you mixing in a short amount of time.

The tool I use is called Train Your Ears EQ Edition​.

​And I have made a review for it, showing you how to use it...

...And how it increased my speed for completing a mix in a few days to just a few hours!

​Check it out here:

Train Your Ears Review

​​What Did You Think?


​That was quite a list.

​Now I'd like to hear from you:

​What mixing tip from this list was new to you?

Or maybe you know one I didn't say.

​Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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