6 Secret Mixing Techniques Used By The Pros - Advanced Mixing Tips
Mixing is an art which makes music sound great and it takes years of experience to get really good at it. Here are some secret mixing techniques used by the pros which you can implement right away and start improving your mixes:
1. USING A LOW PASS FILTER FOR BRIGHTNESS
Suppose an instrument has frequencies predominantly from 3k-6k (Example: Electric Guitar) and ahead of that has noise (Hiss) Since the treble boost will bring out that hiss even more, just use a low pass filter with a very steep slope. This does two things: a) De-muds and increases brightness b) Accentuates the tone at the corner frequency, ie, around 6k, so it actually creates a subtle boost there.
2. ADDING MID-RANGE FOR BIGGER BASS
This is an extremely useful technique when you don’t have much headroom or there are too many instruments competing for the low frequencies. Having too much low end obviously makes things muddy. Therefore adding a warm midrange along with a tight low end can be extremely effective in making the bass of your song sound bigger. Saturating the elements in the midrange also adds pleasing overtones and harmonics which glues everything together.
3. COMPRESSION TO INCREASE DYNAMICS
A compressor reduces the dynamic range of whatever it is applied upon. However, if the attack is long enough and threshold is low enough, a compressor can actually exaggerate the attack. This is due to the compressor allowing the signal to pass through almost unaltered while still pulling down the sustain level of the signal hence making the attack more prominent relative to the sustain level.
4. TRANSIENT SHAPING INTO A LIMITER
Transient shapers boost in a different way from the way that the limiter is cutting. A limiter is basically a compressor with an infinite ratio which pulls down everything in the mix. Hence, adding a transient shaper before a limiter will exaggerate the perceived dynamic range without actually increasing the dynamic range. This is one of the major secrets of getting punchy drums without them being too dynamic.
5. USING SATURATION FOR BRIGHTNESS
Adding harmonics through various saturation plugins exaggerates the overtones in the source signal. This makes things sound more realistic, rich, full and also more bright. This is quite unintuitive but this is a very powerful technique that you can take your productions to the next level. Mixes without saturation may sound balanced but if you're looking for brightness without harshness along with ample bass, saturation can be of immense help.
6. USING REVERB FOR INTIMACY
Reverb is generally used to create a sense of depth. However, there are plenty of scenarios where reverb is used to do just the opposite. For the forward elements in the mix, to create a more ‘in your face’ effect, tweak the reverb parameters such that it has a long pre-delay time and consists of mostly early reflections. This has been used on plenty of records and is a staple technique that creates the psychoacoustic illusion of intimacy.