1. Set all of your faders to 0db. If using a digital program like Pro Tools or Logic, these will appear as vertical volume dials. When you set them all to 0, you can play back your composition and immediately notice which tracks dominate the mix and which need additional volume.
2 Keep your kick drum track at 0db and use that as your guide for adjusting all other tracks. I recommend this technique because it gives you a standard by which you can adjust all other tracks without creating “clipping”–an unpleasant distortion sound–in your main mix from the excess volume. Do not use heavy effects on your kick drum, and stick with a very low frequency setting for electronic music.
3. Set your snare drum at a slightly lower volume than your kick drum, approximately -2db. Snare drums have a much higher frequency and therefore require less volume. Also, consider panning your snare drum 30 to 50 per cent to the left or right channel in order to keep your percussion from sounding overly-centralised. Additional percussion tracks should be set at a much lower volume to avoid crowding the mix. Try -20db and raise the volume gradually if you cannot hear the percussion notes.
4. Set your synth pads at a very low volume. It may be best to go as low as -20db. Your synth pads are similar to your leads, but almost always polyphonic and often played as chords, with low attack settings that typically have a soft, harmonic sound. Therefore, they work best as background harmony and should not dominate the mix. For a surrounding effect, consider splitting your synth pads into dual tracks and panning them one each to the left and right with a pre-delay on one of the two tracks.
5. Set your bass at approximately -10db and adjust accordingly if the bass sounds too dominant or too transparent. Always leave your bass track in the centre of the mix.
6. Set your lead vocal track (if applicable) to 0db and go easy on the effects unless you seek to generate a specific robotic or ambient sound. In most cases, you will only need a touch of reverb to help your voice blend smoothly into the mix. Adjust the dry and wet mix of your reverb by no more than 10 per cent and find the smoothest setting for your particular song. The amount of reverb needed will depend on the number of tracks and the type of song, but keep it low. Too much will ruin your vocal track and cause it to fade into the background.
7. Apply EQ sparingly on necessary tracks. On tracks needing additional bass, reduce the treble rather than adding additional bass. On tracks with too much low end, lower the bass rather than raising the treble or mid tones. By diminishing the unwanted characteristics rather than boosting desired characteristics, you dramatically reduce the risk of negatively impacting your overall mix.
8. Apply compression where needed. Compression will help you to lower the intensity of dominating tracks and raise the presence of tracks that continuously fade into the background. Select tracks that need compression and adjust the gain slightly, by 1 or 2 decibels. Then play back the track and adjust again until the track reaches the desired level.
These quick easy steps on how to mix electronic music should help you tremendously at the start of every new project you embark on in your production journey. If interested, you may want to check out another post I did title, “How to Make Electronic Music- Eric Prydz Music Production Tips“. Eric Prydz has always been known to have a unique and amazing ability to keep his tracks sounding rich and full with his superb mixdown techniques so you might definitely want to check that out!
Techno Addicts 2019