Monday, 13 February 2012


So, over the last week and a bit we’ve been through Phasing, High pass filters and drum editing. I’ve been deliberately keeping it simple for all to understand. A lot of people do come to me with way more complicated questions regarding mixing but I often find that it’s the simple things that are not understood. Once the foundations are there it’s easier to build a mix on top of it.


We’ll look at Levels today. A basic point but they really are the fundamental that all mixes are built on.

OK, so load up your mix and turn everything down. The first thing that should be turned up is, more than likely, the vocal. 9 times out of 10 it’s the focal point of the mix. All your other levels are based around this. So get it up there at a nice level. Watch your meters, if it’s too high then adding more stuff could well make the whole mix distort, and we don’t want that!

Next we want to look at the core melody. It’ll either be guitars or a keyboard line or the like. Turn it up to a point that the vocal is still clearly heard and not drowned out.

The rhythm section is next. Again, turn up each instrument so they fit with the previous instrument. You will need to manually move levels during the song, like in a guitar solo, but just forget that at the moment. Just get the core stuff right first.

When it comes to drums, it’s always best to “group” all of the drum channels together. Most programmes have a way of allowing all of the levels of a certain instrument to be turned up or down at the same time. By doing this you can raise the whole kit without worrying about ruining the balance you already set for the drums.        
Typical Krecording mix balancing.
Lastly once the drums are up, throw up the bass. Don’t turn it up so the kick drum is drowned out. Let both be heard.

You’ll find having done this that you’ll notice that, let’s say, the rhythm guitar is muddy. If that’s the case then you can think about eq. But that’s a whole ‘nother article or 6!

That’s it for today. Hopefully I’ve left you with a relatively well balanced mix. You can look to the other articles in this blog to help you tweak it. I’ll be back by the end of this week with the next part.

Don’t forget to email me any questions you want about recording or mixing. No question is too stupid unless you already know the answer!

Also if you want to do the STC “Intro to recording course” then call Maggie on 01 6709033.

Thanks for reading,

Andy Knightley

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