Review: Best Audio Mixing and Mastering Tips & Tutorials For Dummies

Review: Best Audio Mixing and Mastering Tips & Tutorials For Dummies

Written by Jaron Lewis

Here’s the basics of how to get started with mixing and mastering music. The top five things you need to know and how to gain more in-depth knowledge into the process...practice makes perfect.

So you want to get into mixing and mastering music? Well, there’s quite a lot to know and it involves a great deal of practicing, however lucky for you we have come up with a few handy tips on how to get started in this area, along with some recommendations on the way so that you will appear as a seasoned pro before you know it.

Before we begin, this assumes you have the hardware to record and the software to mix. It will help if you are slightly familiar with digital audio workstation effects and have some headphones plugged in already.

So What Is Mixing And Mastering?

It is the technical - and very creative - process of combining many individual tracks, mixing them together to create one brilliant song.

To do this well you need to think about which features of the song you want to be louder and quieter than others. Which instruments do you want to be prominence and which are more suited in the back?

Think about how each instrument sounds, is it clear and crisp, or is it dull and distorted.

You can change these sounds in roughly four different ways to make sure your tune sounds great.

The Key Elements

Volume

This is essentially the balance between the tracks, think about backing vocals during a guitar solo? Or a calming acoustic guitar under a softer voice and song. The volumes here would be very different. It can be changed using tools called compressors, which control the dynamics of the tune.

Panning audio

This is the location in which the instrument is placed within the stereo field. It can range from hard left to hard right or anywhere along that line. If they were all in the centre, you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which and the song would sound really cluttered, so spread them out to get a clearer mix.

Equalisation

This can change the focus from one frequency to another, be it a melody or a vocal. So if you boost a vocal frequency to high it will add air to them, if you focus on the bass it was make it sound more booming, and if you put a guitar in the centre range it may smooth out the sounds for a chilled out tune.

Effects

To effectively mix you need to know how to insert effects, most of which are time based. There are others that can change the sounds of instruments in order to create a different ambience in the song. This is where it gets a lot more complicated but we’re sticking to how to mix and master for dummies, so more detail in that after you’ve mastered the basics.

SHARING IS SEXY!

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