How To Mix And Master? 14 Steps On Mixing And Mastering
Updated: Jan 3
PREPARATION 1. Listen to the unmixed track and make sure it already sound clean from recording.
2. Fix production issues before starting mixing.
3. Check sample selection (quality and key).
4. In case of having drum racks, ungroup the sounds.
5. Export production stems.
6. Make another session for mixing.
7. Import production stems.
8. Organize stems by busses and colors.
9. Mark track sections.
10. Mark track sections.
11. Select a reference track(s) (use Isol8, spectrum analyzer and place it at -6.7 db).
12. Identify most important elements of the track.
1. Balance every stem (gain staging): o Loop the loudest section of the track. o Turn the faders all the way down. o Listen to a few reference tracks to prime your ears. o Bring up channels in order of relevance. o Check for phasing and polarity issues. o Once all the channels are up, spend at least 10 minutes adjusting the balance. o Take a short break and listen again.
o Automate volume.
2. Clean tracks by aplying high-pass EQ filter on them.
3. Low end mixing (kick and bass): o Make bass mono. o Make sure kick is around -9db to -12db and bass around -4db to -6db in relation with kick’s db. o If needed, add extra sub bass. Recommendation: Waves’ RBass.
o EQ them to fit together:
▪ Filter at 30hz on kick and bass.
▪ Lower bass frequencies where kick is predominant and vice versa. o Use A1 Stereo Control’s on kick:
▪ Safe Bass (302Hz). o Use saturator (place it before the EQ). o Use harmonic exciter on kick (if needed).
o Sidechain bass. o Compress on kick and bass. o Balance low end levels. o EQ again. o Use a glue compressor on the low end buss. o Rebalance volume if needed.
4. Do corrective EQ on the rest of the stems.
5. Compress stems if needed. Recommendation: Waves’ CLA-2A (Adds warmth to vocals and instruments).
7. Create depth with aux tracks: o Delay. Recommendations: HDelay (useful for pianos and synths), MondoMod (useful for making vibrato, widening the stereo field and panning). o Reverb. Recommendations: Waves’ Treverb and IRL.
8. Wider (width vst). o Use it on build ups to create tension before releasing the drop/chorus.
9. Group mixing. o Use Bark of Dog (frequency exciter). o Compression.
▪ Mid/Side compression.
▪ Parallel compression: for drums Recommendation: Waves’ HCOMP.
10. Sidechain compression: o Almost every stem. and vocals. o Aux channels.
11. Creative EQ. Recommendation: Waves SSL.
12. Check mix for phasing issues. Recommendation: Waves’ Paz Analyzer.
14. Get a -6db peak level.
REVIEW P1 1. A:B Test: a. Compare mix with reference track(s). If necessary, make changes. i. Use ISOL8 and SPAN to compare its parameters.
2. Rest 1 day (at least) from the mix.
3. Listen again to the mix and, if necessary, make changes.
EXPORTING P1 1. Select: o Sample Rate: 44100. o Depth: 24-bit. A. Type: WAV
B. No Dither.
1. Check mix on mono.
2. Check mix on: a. Headphones.
3. Take notes, in case of having to make changes to the mix.
4. If necessary, make proper changes to the mix.
5. Ask for feedback on the mix.
6. If necessary, make proper changes to the mix.
1. Same exporting process as “EXPORTING P1”.
2. Send mixed song to a master engineer.
● Remember using saturation and compression in busses, this will glue like elements to together and provide a bit more headroom.
● Mix at low volume; take care of your ears and prevent on falling into the Fletcher-Munson Curve.