Mixing 101: Tips for Beginners

If you are new to recording, you may wonder what the process looks like after you finish recording instruments, vocals, etc. – or maybe you are not wondering, because you actually did not know that mixing and mastering are incredibly important steps to making the final recording sound balanced and complete!

Let’s go over a few basics when it comes to mixing a track after you have recorded it.

Listen to the track, unmixed.

You will want to listen to your track a few times through, unmixed, taking notes as you listen.

Things you can ask yourself or take notes on as you listen to the unmixed track: 

What stands out?

What is distracting?

What do you not hear enough of?

How is the EQ?

Is there something on the left side but not the right side?

Is anything clipping?

How does the song make you feel?

Consider the story you’re trying to tell with the track.

If you want to get people dancing, it might be a good idea to focus on bringing the rhythm section up over vocals.

If you’re creating a soundscape, or want to move your listener, focusing around the elements that create.

There is no right way to mix a track. Sure, there are things you should do to make the track sound good, like EQ and balancing the master sound, but mixing is part of the creativity that can bring a song to life in different ways.

Ask for feedback.

Do you have a few friends you could share your mixed track with? Do that!

Peer feedback is incredibly important, and if you choose friends who don’t have an ear for sound in addition to those who do, you will get varying, valuable feedback.

Don’t overthink it!

As artists and creators, we can often overthink things and get stuck in the trap of comparison. You don’t have to do exactly what someone else did, or even listen to someone’s advice for that matter.

Learning your style of mixing is part of the fun and part of the creativity. Having a different mixing style than others can also make you stand apart and get asked to work on projects more often, because of your unique style.

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