3 Tips For Mixing Audio

Mixing can be a relatively easy process if you have a set idea going in. With so many options and tools to play with while mixing recorded tracks, it is easy to lose track of where you want the mix to go. However, with these tips, staying focused on your track is simple.

1. Focus on volume first.

Before touching any of the other options on your mixing program, the first thing you need to do is balance the volume of your tracks. Smooth out any audio peaks with a compression tool, make sure the balance of each track is at a level where nothing is drowning out anything else, and realize that not every track should be at the same level.

To give your song dynamics, it is important to raise some tracks and lower others. Play around until you hit the right balance.

2. Be prepared to rebalance.

Don’t expect your initial balance to be the only balancing you do; it won’t be. The initial balance gives you a good reference point of where each track should ultimately be, but with each layer you add, each effect you tweak, and each tool you use, you are changing the balance of your tracks.

To keep the overall balance relatively the same, be sure to go and rebalance after doing anything to your tracks. This will take a lot of time, but it is well worth it.

3. Pan left and right.

Whether you want to make your tracks stereo or mono, stereo will be your best friend. If you have all of your tracks fighting for center, nothing will have room to breathe. It’s always a smart idea to pan the drums throughout both the left and the right, giving the track a wider depth. It’s easy to tip the balance of the mix left or right when panning, so be sure to try to find an equilibrium.

This advice works even if you want to keep the tracks in mono. Just space out the sound, and your tracks will feel like they all have the room they need.

Mixing tracks can be a fun, rewarding experience if you have a game plan in mind when going in. Though it is easy to get lost in all the options and tools, if you focus on volume, rebalance every chance you get, and open up your sound with panning, you’ll make it out with a great new track.

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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.

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