How can I make my mixes sound better?

03 May 2017

Making you mixes sound better isn’t always as easy at should be. We’ve run down the top ways to get your mix sounding as good and as crisp as possible.

As mastering engineers, if we have a good mix to start with, what we do with our analogue and digital tools will make your mixes sound even better.

Most engineers or producers have their own sound and flare with the tone and make-up of a mix, but if it’s not sitting right, there’s a few things you can do to get your mix sounded bigger and less flat.

 

  1. Listen to it somewhere else and listen quietly.

Make the time to take it out of the studio, or just plugin a pair of cheaper headphones. This will help you hear things more clearly (the issues at least), especially if you’re working in a decent studio space.

2. EQ

Equalising is key. These pieces of hardware of software let us carve out sounds and tame frequencies, whether it’s the muddy mids or the cutting top end. Using a decent EQ throughout your mixing process will help you create a good sound easily and quickly.

3. Compression

We love compression, in a subtle way. These days, compression is used as an instrument itself, sometimes, so it is a pretty versatile beast. Adding in a compressor to your tracks (not on the master bus, please) will help boost the overall level, and keep a consistent sound throughout that track.

4. Distortion is an issue

If you’ve been clipping and hitting the red when recording, do it again. If your tracks are suffering from the horrible clip then you might as well go back and re-record, the sound will be much clearer and crisper if you do.

 

5. Turn your mixes down.

This sounds similar to the first point, but it’s kinda different. Not many people will admit to this, but when people are recording and mixing, stuff clips, it goes above zero in your digital meters. Well, what do you do? Turn down your master fader. Now, this isn’t so say this is the best way to do this, but it can seriously help if you ears have had enough of digital clipping.

 

6. Leave enough head room when recording.

This is so important, and when you’re starting out it sometimes feels like your levels coming in should be looking like huge waveforms, they shouldn’t. Leave enough head room for it all, everything will sit tightly with each other then.

7. EQ those nuisance frequencies.

Being able to remove those frequencies that stick their head out is really important, it can genuinely make the difference between a good sounding record and a bad sounding one.

This is something that we look at when mastering, we spend so long looking at how a track sits, so we can help with this, but it is something that should be addressed throughout the mix process.

 

8. Use some reverbs and delays

This can really add some space and open up your tracks. It’s quite a simple solution, but can really make your mixes stand out. For me, personally I love using delays and heavy reverbs on percussion instruments.

9. Less channels, less mess, more fun.

Developing a track takes time, but it doesn’t initially need 200 tracks. Keep everything clean and tidy, there’s no need to start off with more than you need.