Do you want your beats to sound more professional? Have you been working on a beat, but can’t get it to sound like you want it to be? I’d suggest you to focus on mixing, if you haven’t already. With mixing you can make your beats more presentable. It will make it sound more professional. I find this a very important skill to master as a beatmaker and/or music producer and once you get a hold of it you will really notice improvements in the quality of your sound. In this article, I will share some beatmaking mixing tips with you.
What is mixing?
One of the primary roles of mixing is to moderate the volume of each element throughout the song so that the desired instrument or vocals stand out or come together nicely. However, mixing is more than just adjusting the volume levels of an individual instrument and vocal tracks. The process can include: Balancing the levels of the tracks that have been recorded. Fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using equalizers (EQ). “Panning” the tracks between speakers to create a stereo image. Adding reverb, compression, and other effects to enhance the original recording.
What’s the difference between mixing and mastering?
If you heard about mixing, you probably heard about mastering as well. So, what is mastering? Mastering is the final step of audio post-production. The purpose of mastering is to balance sonic elements of a stereo mix and optimize playback across all systems and media formats. Mastering optimizes the overall sound and brings your music to a commercial loudness, which makes it sound more professional. Basically, mixing is the step before mastering that involves adjusting and combining individual tracks.
In this article I’ll go in on the mixing part of beatmaking. Here are 6 beatmaking mixing tips I have learned along the way.
Tip 1: Make beats on a low volume level
Making a beat on a volume level where you can have a conversation with someone without having to scream can help you hear volume imbalances in your mix. If you can mix your drums to be clear, big, and punchy at low volumes, they will sound great at any volume. And another very important reason why you should be mixing on a low volume is it will save your ears. If you want to record and mix music for a long time as a hobby, or for a career, I’d suggest you to be careful with your ears.
Tip 2: Don’t overdo your mixing
Mixing should improve your sound but if you’re overdoing it, it could remove the power or feeling of your original idea. Therefore, I advise you to not overdo parametric equalizer or other effects unless that’s the point and you want a particular instrument sound completely different.
Tip 3: Use different reference points
The people who are going to listen to your music, will probably won’t be using the exact same set of speakers or headset you’ve used to make your beat or song. So it’s important to keep this in mind and build your music in a way it sounds good on various sound devices. Personally, I use at least 4 reference points: My studio monitors KRK Rokit 5 G3, my studio headphones KRK Systems KNS-8400 Studio Headphones, my Apple Earpods with 3.5mm Jack Connection and my car speakers. Before releasing my music I also sent it out to some of my close friends of whom I know are critical when it comes to music. Other people’s ears can be a great reference point as well.
Tip 4: Mix your sounds on different tracks/channels
After having the volume level of your sound or instrument slightly balanced amongst the other sounds in your beat, I would advise you to send each sound to a separate channel in the mixer. After that, you can add the effects you want on each sound and manage the volume and effects with a better overview.
Tip 5: Experiment with automation
Automation Clips move linked controls on the FL Studio interface or plugins. From each button you see in FL Studio 20, you can create an automation clip. I advise you to play around with this. It can really help to make your beats more dynamic. I often use this method to give another vibe to a certain part in a song, which keeps it interesting.
Tip 6: Don’t spend too long on 1 beat. Do or work on something else to give yourself fresh ears
When I have been working on a beat for a while and am satisfied with how it sounds, I save it and check it out later to see if I still feel the same way. I rarely finish and export a beat after one session. If you’re working on the same beat for a while, your ears will get numb for certain things and won’t notice things your “fresh ears” will. So before sending your beat out to vocal artists or putting it online, I would advise you to take your time by having a small break or working on another project and then fine-tune the beat you were working on.
Now, use these tips in your projects!
Enjoyed reading these beatmaking mixing tips? Use them in your next project(s) and let me know how it worked out for you. If you got any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
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