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3.Big Bottom Now I like to add in bass. Nothing too important here if you have good source audio. I’m also a huge side-chaining fan. I LOVE to side-chain bass with kick so low end frequencies wouldn’t fight for space in mix. It just makes things sound “tighter”. Sometimes you may have to eq lowest of lows out of kick in order to make a little more room for bass to sit in mix.
4. Pads and More Here is where I add “pad” type of sounds. These are sounds that usually have longer sustains and hold chords of song. Sounds like strings, sustained electric guitar chords, synth pads, and maybe even some rhythm acoustic guitars are great foundation instruments. I like to lay these instruments on top of drums and bass tracks we have already mixed. You can get very creative with panning of these sounds and create a wide stereo field. This will help make your mix interesting by allowing your lead instruments and vocals sit in center of your stereo image, attracting attention to themselves.
5. The Vox Let’s finally add vocals. I usually start off with lead vocal, and then place all harmony and background vocals underneath lead. Sometimes, you can end up putting vocal a little too high in mix, and a great way to check this is to turn your monitors way down and listen to mix at an almost inaudible level. This way of listening to your mix will surprise you, but you have to be confident and trust your ears. If something sounds disproportionately loud at this quiet level, then it is too loud. If you must, then you can compress vocals too, but that really depends on song’s style. Maybe a few fader rides are a better choice then some static compression.
6. The Rest You can start adding effects and other fancy shmancy things to your tune. Get funky with automating some pan knobs, fade-in some pads etc.. Here is a good time to get creative. It’s also a very good time to actively listen and re-adjust your mix. Is kick too loud? Should I put some higher frequencies on bass? Should I compress backing vocals more? Is coffee finally ready? When you feel you have a good mix, burn it to CD and listen to it EVERYWHERE! In car, in bath, at home, on TV set, at your friend’s place etc., and make a lot of notes. And at end, if all your notes cancel out, then you are finished!
©2005 Richard Dolmat (Digital Sound Magic) =========================================================== About The Author Richard Dolmat is owner, engineer and producer for the Vancouver based recording studio Digital Sound Magic. Visit his site at: http://www.digitalsoundmagic.com