Previous: 9. Begin mixing by creating a rough premix.

10. Action: Use EQ, compression on the individual tracks.

Ingredients: The tracks, your mixer and digital signal processor software/hardware.

Explanation: Listening to your premix, you'll notice that some tracks stand out, and some get swallowed up. You want every part heard, in the proper proportion. Later, we will deal with levels and panning, but now there's a more important step. We must find the right timbre and frequencies for each track. This is huge in getting each track to stand out in the mix. Generally, the less we interfere with what we have recorded, the better. Try to avoid overprocessing.

Write a list of all of your tracks. Using the solo function, adjust each track's frequency range using your equalizer. Make sure each track achieves its best sound on its own. Then, open up all of the tracks, and make sure that together they sound great. Go through your list to make sure that every instrument and part is heard.

Then apply compression. Be gentle. Clipping, and that annoying in-out-in the effect are the result of too much compression. Instruments and vocals that are too loud and then disappear are the result of too little compression. Make sure every track has a smooth, constant level that sounds natural. I like presets that come with software and hardware. They are a great starting point, especially if you are new to using signal processing.

Result: With proper EQ, compression and other tweaks, the tracks are sounding really good.

Next 11. Set levels and panning.



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