Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Mixing Flow

  • This topic has 23 replies, 13 voices, and was last updated 8 years ago by Mike Krowiak.
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      I'm curious about how others tackle a mix. Does anyone have a specific method or do most of you just kind of do what's needed next?

      I was taught Subtractive EQ, Additive EQ, Compression, Effects, layer by layer, over the whole mix. I'm learning to let go of abiding by this method too strictly, which I'm pretty sure eventually you are supposed to.

      Just curious if people have rules of going about getting a mix done?


        My mix flow is working towards a moment CLA is talking about with Warren in his YouTube video. “Make it sound like a record from the get go… produce the track like a pro, which gives me a great start point.”

        Therefore I spent a lot of time bouncing down virtual instruments, editing, gain-staging and pre-mixing before I start the actual mix. After that I usually go: Subtractive EQ, Compression, Additive EQ, Automation, Effects, Sub-grouping (potentially more EQ, Compression and Saturation) & Final Mix.

        Guido tum Suden

          Since I haven't learned mixing from someone I have a special approach. I usually push some faders up and listen in on some points of the song, so I know what's it about. Then I go track for track and listen to it to find out if it sounds like I expect it to sound. If not (like in most cases) I change it with EQ, Compression and more often Transient Designer and Saturation. Sometimes I even insert effects at that point e.g. when it's clear that the snare needs a special reverb. Only after that I push up the faders to see what I get. Then it's time for all kinds of effects.




            Automation before effects is definitely something I will try.

            @Guido tum Suden

            I like your innovative approach. Especially doing all kinds of processing on individual tracks and then turning up all the faders.

            Anders Isberg

              I don't have any set rules, but there are a few things I normally do. I usually color code the individual tracks first and get them sorted by instrument groups. Makes it much easier to get an overview and create sub-groups, especially if there are lots of tracks. At the same time I listen to the whole thing with every fader up, if possible, to decide the direction of the mix and pick out the most important elements. After that I would probably work on the key parts, usually vocals, drums (kick, snare and OH), bass, acoustic / electric rhythm guitar or piano to make them to work well together, using HPFs, maybe EQ, compression, reverb, and build the mix from there.


              Andrew Mckenzie

                Yep, I spend a good deal of time "preparing" a session to be mixed before actually touching any faders. Usually if importing tracks, I'll gain stage them to about -10 with all faders at zero and around -20 for softer supporting tracks.
                Then I will colour code, organise in groups and add sub buses for each group and for similar multiple instruments and set the panning for any stereo tracks. Normally I would setup a master sub for the drums, guitars, keys, vox and any other groups of instruments and then include sub buses within those for things like kick, snare, backing vox, lead vox etc.
                Once all the prep has been done then I will save a copy of that session with a GS notation at the end (for Gain Staged) so I can always come back to it if I screw up the mix later on.

                After that it would be similar to most others above I think, initial HPF, EQ, panning, levels, Comp, EQ, Master Bus Comp, Verb, other effects and maybe some light mastering with some gentle EQ, Compression and finally into a limiter just to avoid any clipping and to wind it up a little if it needs it.

                Then off to the car to have a listen 🙂 and any other system I can reference it with...ear buds...headphones..etc

                Hope that makes sense.



                  This is all very interesting and helpful for me.

                  @Anders - I was especially curious about your mix flow because I couldn't imagine how you were able to create such separation of front and back in your 'Save Me' mix

                  @Andrew - You use reason, correct? What do you mean by gain stage? Is that adjusting gain near the input of the console? Would that be the equivalent of me using a gain plugin to adjust levels of each individual track before setting the mix balance with the faders?

                  Thanks everyone!

                  Steve A


                    Stephen Korst

                      I'm also curious about the meaning of "gain staging". In Sonar, there's a gain knob on each track console that can be turned from 0.0 down to INF. I start using this to reduce a track's output to the Mix Buss if I recorded it too hot. Is this a good technique without having to go back and record again?

                      Mike Krowiak

                        Hey Lara. I have a similar flow to most above, so I'll just mention differences or things I feel are important. I get a decent static balance & pan with all faders, no EQ or processing (unless there is an obvious problem.) I only gain stage (trim overall channel level, pre-inserts) on tracks that are way too loud or low. (You don't want to be riding faders at minus 25; it's easier to work around zero.) Sometimes I'll adjust gain (in Pro Tools, 'clip gain') on weak sections, also pre-inserts. In general, I find if I can get separation without effects (mixing in mono helps here), then adding depth with effects is easier. Vary your listening levels, take breaks (don't forget to eat) 🙂 , reference pro mixes... This is a huge question! good one.


                        Steve Dandrea

                          I use Slate's VCC on almost every channel, so I am always gain staging at about -18db RMS for that. This lets me have a lot of control as to how much saturation I push with VCC, and usually, it's a lot. I'm also a fan of putting a compressor on the 2 buss from the get-go. I'll listen once through as I wildly move faders around, but once I know what style the song is, I choose a 2 buss compressor and mix through it the rest of the way.

                          Oh and I always mix in mono (on one speaker) for a good 45 minutes to an hour before I come back to a mix the next day and flip it into stereo.

                          Mike Krowiak

                            Big fan of VCC too, although I mostly use it on subgroups. Everything goes though at least one subgroup--including the whole mix, before it goes to the 2 Buss. Buss-compressor-wise, I usually mix through just a dB reduction of Vertigo VSC-2 lately.

                            • This reply was modified 8 years ago by Mike Krowiak.
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