5 Tips to Make Your Mix Stand Out
1.Bass to Kick Ratio
When working in the sub and lower frequency ranges it is always a good idea to separate the frequency space between the kick and the bass. If this ratio is off balance then your mix wont be as punchy or give you the push it need from these core rhythm sounds. First decide whether you want the kick or the bass to take up the lower register of frequencies, whatever you choose the the other will take up the register right above it. as an example the bass will take up from 0-100 Hz and the kick will take up from 100-250 Hz. This will clean the low end up making sure there is no phase issues that would cancel out certain frequencies. Try flipping these frequencies during the mix to see which one give you a better feel.
Vocal reverb can be tricky, you want to make sure that it fits with the vocal track you are working with. You don’t want to make it sound too much like it is in a cave. Try adjusting the early reflections to match. as you are using volume automation to build up dynamics, remember that you can do the same with reverb and delay. Take time a listen to the sound space of the mix. if it is a more intimate track try a small dry room. if it is more a rock song try a bigger vocal plate reverb.
3.Don’t Crush Your Mix
If you want to hear your mix at a loud level like it would be when mastered then turn up the volume on the monitors. Don’t add any stereo compressors or limiters on the mix bus. You want your end meters reading at between -10dBFS to -3dBFS. If you are pushing above that then bring the entire mix levels down, if you have to group all your tracks and bring them down 4 dBs do so. I f you have to have a stereo compressor on your mix bus then make sure you set it on a low ratio like 2:1 or 3:1.
4.Rest and Reference
Make sure when mixing you rest your ears before you start and take frequent breaks. If you run around for 8 hours straight your legs will get tired, the same goes for if you mix of 8 hours straight your ears will get tired. When this happens you start to not accurately hear what your mixing, you ear will lose the focus on high end first and you may start to mix your song too bright to compensate. It is also a great idea to have a reference track that you mix too that you either want to mix around or that you know very well, and keep listening to that track compared to the mix. This will let you know if your mixing too bright, too compressed, or too spacious.
5.Wake Up and Listen
One of my favorite tips is to not finalize any mix the same night you finish it. Always take another day to listen to it. What I like to do is sleep on the mix and listen to it again in the morning. Check out the mix on other speakers, like in your car, or in headphones.