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Mixing and mastering are two of the most important aspects of music production. It’s often said that the mix and the master are what make or break a track. If you want to get better at them, you need to know a few key tips and tricks. In this article, we’ll discuss how to get better at mixing and mastering with some simple and easy to follow advice.
How to Get Better at Mixing and Mastering?
Getting better at mixing and mastering is all about practice and familiarity. That being said, there are some important techniques that you should keep in mind. Here are our top tips for getting better at mixing and mastering:
Consider Your Destination and Appropriate Loudness Standards: Different platforms have different loudness standards. It’s important to be aware of the destination for your mix and master and adjust your levels accordingly.
Secure Genre-Appropriate References: It’s important to have references that are genre-appropriate and from the same era as your track. This will give you a better idea of what your mix and master should sound like.
Get Yourself a Meter: Having a quality meter is essential for checking your levels and ensuring that you’re hitting the right targets.
Limit Processing: Too much processing can make a mix sound over-compressed and muddy. Limit your processing and make sure you still have plenty of dynamic range.
Keep It Simple: When mixing, don’t overcomplicate things. It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but it’s important to remember that less is often more.
Keep It Down: When mastering, try to keep your levels below the 0dBFS mark. This will give you plenty of headroom and ensure a loud yet clean master.
Watch the Gloss: It’s easy to make a master sound over-processed and glossy. When mastering, make sure to keep the gloss to a minimum.
All Together: When mixing, don’t forget to listen to the track as a whole. Make sure to check your mix in the context of the entire song, not just part by part.
Give It a Rest: Mixing and mastering can be a tiring process. Take regular breaks to give your ears a rest and come back to your mix with a fresh set of ears.
Listen from a Distance: When mastering, it can be useful to listen from a distance. This will give you a better sense of the overall balance of your master.
Combine Tracks: When mixing, combine multiple tracks into one. This will help to create a unified sound and make your mix sound more professional.
Consider Distribution: When mastering, consider the distribution platform for your track. Different platforms have different requirements and will affect your master.
Use Reference Mixes: Make sure to have reference mixes on hand when mixing and mastering. This will help you stay on the right track and make better decisions.
Use a Quality Metering Plug-In: Invest in a quality metering plug-in. This will ensure that your levels are right and your mix and master sound great.
Keep Adjustments Simple: When mixing and mastering, keep your adjustments simple. Don’t overcomplicate things and make sure your adjustments are precise and effective.
Check Yourself: When mastering, check yourself before you master. Make sure you’re happy with the mix before you move on to the master.
Test Your Mix on Different Systems: When mixing and mastering, test your mix and master on different systems. This will give you a better idea of how it will sound on different platforms.
Typically, Engineers Stick to One Limiter: When mastering, typically engineers will stick to one limiter. However, using two limiters in a series can help alleviate the pressure on one of them. By splitting limiting amongst two, you can get a better result.
Listen to Great Sounding Records: To get better at mixing and mastering, it’s important to listen to great sounding records. Try to gauge why they sound good and use this to inform your own mix and master.
Each Recording is Unique: Remember that each recording and mix is unique. Don’t try to copy someone else’s mix and master, but use references as a guide to create your own unique sound.
At the end of the day, the best way to get better at mixing and mastering is to simply practice and familiarize yourself with the techniques and tools. Mixing and mastering are an art form and
What makes mixing and mastering such a challenging process?
Mixing and mastering are challenging because it takes a long time to train your ears to detect and concentrate on specific frequency ranges. Even more time is needed to figure out how to solve an issue with a frequency and the necessary measures to make a certain aspect of your mix louder or softer.
What is the amount of time required to become proficient in mixing and mastering?
It typically takes around 5 years to become an expert in mixing and mastering. You can learn the basics in a few weeks, but it will take more time to be able to create good mixes. You should be able to make decent demos in 6 months, even though they won’t be of a professional quality.
Does mastering have the potential to damage a mix?
The last step of creating music is mastering, and it’s the most crucial one. It’s also one of the least understood. Good mastering can lift your mix to a higher level, with more vibrant highs, deeper lows, and more powerful dynamics. However, if done wrong, it can ruin an otherwise good track.