When you’re just starting out in music production, figuring out how to mix might be difficult. Because of how complicated it is, there will be occasions when you doubt if you’ll ever be any good at it.
As a result, some producers choose to concentrate on the song’s composition while totally outsourcing the mixing and mastering aspects of a production.
The volume levels in mixing have a significant impact on how loud you may make your tracks throughout the mastering process of a project.
One of the reasons why a producer must ensure that the audio is at the proper volume levels before sending it to the mastering engineer for mastering is because of this. The volume levels at which the music is blended come into play at this point.
Producers would sometimes begin by entirely disregarding volume settings, resulting in destroyed tunes. This is because tracks would be so distorted that any effects made with audio production software would be impossible to reverse.
The output level at which a song is delivered at the conclusion of a mixing process is quite important.
Typically, the mixing engineer ensures that the blended track’s output level is roughly -6dB. This is the ideal sweet spot for mastering professionals to perform their magic on the mixed track and improve it even further. All tracks that have been commercially released have been mixed at a -6dB level.
When you start looking into what mixing is all about, you’ll find a wealth of information.
In this essay, I’ll go over why songs are mixed at a certain volume level and why you should care about it as a producer. Let’s get this party started.
What exactly is mixing?
Mixing is the process of putting together the various parts of a track. Various approaches are utilized to improve the sound of the track throughout this procedure.
This procedure also assures that the music is ready for mastering, the last stage in the audio production process.
Mixing requires a variety of talents in order to get the polished sound that audiences like hearing over and over.
Mixing engineers are in charge of ensuring sure the audio is clean and free of resonance frequencies, which may be rather irritating.
A lot of faults may happen throughout the recording process, and mixing is the answer for them. Even manufacturing errors are sometimes corrected by mixing engineers.
Mixing is difficult for most individuals to master because of the mixing engineer’s skill to comb through every aspect and make it sound excellent.
When it comes to mixing, the volume levels and the point at which the mixing engineer begins to mix as a reference are critical.
Some mixing engineers like to start at -12dB, which is an excellent position to hold your loudest part while mixing everything else. This will provide you adequate room to master.
The most crucial phase in the production of a song is mixing. With the right blending skills, even a bad artist might appear to be a professional.
Mixing is a post-production technique for compensating for anything missed during the studio recording process.
Why is it vital to mix at -6dB?
When you mix at -6dB, you’ll have enough of headroom, which is crucial when it comes to mastering. The sound will begin to climb in loudness again when the mastering engineer adds effects.
There will be distortion if the track does not have enough headroom. One of the worst adversaries of music creation is distortion. You can occasionally get around that, but it isn’t always doable.
As you may be aware, distortion reduces the track’s details and introduces noise. Songs with a headspace of around -6dB are advised to avoid this issue of too much distortion.
Any excess volume gain can then be rectified during the mastering procedure. After the music has been produced in mastering, the Loudness limit is what makes it more lively.
You should not mix your music for commercial release if you have no expertise mixing music. Learn audio production to mix your song more successfully if you want to do mixing.
You will also learn the finest methods for combining with adequate training.
The most crucial aspect of mixing at –6dB is that all of the project’s aspects must be kept at a nominal level in order to interact nicely with each other.
Increase the audio monitor volume while keeping the mixing main master volume around -6dB to manage the harmonization of these.
Mastering and mixing engineers are paid more than producers in some projects because honing these methods requires time and accuracy. The amount charged for mixing engineers is typically determined by the project’s complexity.
The Advantages of Mixing at -6dB
The track will have a higher shine at the higher frequencies.
The bottom end of the track will have less rumbling.
The mastering engineer has greater leeway when it comes to restricting the track.
In the mixing step, resonance frequencies are lowered.
There is no distortion.
By making more room in the mix, more clarity is added.
Gain staging is not a concern for mastering engineers.
Software distortions and significant volume increases will not create any issues.
It is possible to get a clean limitation of -14 LUFS.
Why do we need to mix and monitor at such low volumes?
Mixing at low volumes allows the music producer to concentrate on making the mix as unified as possible rather than focusing on a single ingredient. While mixing, keeping the volume down helps the producer’s ability to discover the troublesome frequencies in the mix more frequently.
Can you tell me about the fundamental mixing techniques?
Leveling, adding space with reverb, adding dimension with delay, and compressing for dynamic range reduction are some of the basic mixing techniques.
In the mixing studio, these are some of the most widely utilized mixing techniques. They enable a mixing engineer to create a sound that is ready for commercial distribution.
What’s the best way to produce a loud mix?
A limiter can be used by a mastering engineer to make a mix louder. The limiter is used to drive the track’s loudness towards the 0dB ceiling.
There will be distortion if the track is pushed over 0dB. Mastering experts typically push the recordings to the point where no distortion is audible.
In a mix, how loud should my vocals be?
During the mixing process, vocals might be as loud as -12dB. Typically, voices and percussion are mixed at maximum volume, with all other parts being mixed within this frame of reference.
Vocals, like the bass and kick drum in a track, should be positioned in the mix’s center. The song’s other parts may be panned around the vocals.
When it comes to mastering, how loud should a mix be?
Before mastering, a mix should not be louder than –6dB. If the recording is louder than -6dB, it will cause distortion and leave the mastering engineer with less headroom to apply effects or even push the song to make it louder.
At the end of a mixing session, the mixing engineer should double-check the output levels in the master channel.
It may take some time to get the hang of mixing, so don’t be discouraged. When you try mixing at -6dB for the first time, you may discover that it is a difficult task.
This is entirely typical for any music producer who is just starting out. Mixing is the most important skill in audio manipulation, and mastering it will take some time.
If you’re interested, click here to read about how to equalize voices and here to learn about the 7 key audio production techniques that can help you get the most out of your project.
The only way to get better at mixing and training your ears is to learn and practice. Make sure you really immerse yourself in the trade, absorb as much as possible, and put what you’ve learned into practice.