This is a topic that I believe will be helpful to novices and even some intermediary producers. We all know that the general work flow of any project is to usually start off by getting our music into the project. However, when we do this we don’t bother ourselves much with nuances such as adequate frequency arrangement. All we care about is getting the track or loop that we will build the song around to be as mean sounding as possible. And while that is a very important part of the creative process, utilizing some of these simple tricks to get a quick rough mix.
The Frequency Spectrum:
Understanding the foundations and natural law of the frequency spectrum will help you get a rough mix quickly. As you all probably know, different instruments and sound have different positions on the spectrum. Knowing where the most commonly used ones are is very important to the process of getting a rough mix together.
Let’s discuss getting rid of some «dirt» that might be in a female vocal recording. The easiest way to get some more clarity out of her would be to simply cut all of the low-end. Once you’ve done this it will remove any excess noise in that track. Doing this will immediately discard unnecessary frequencies without altering the sound of her vocal.
These rules apply to just about anything you can find in your audio project. Depending on the type of instrument or how the recording was made can make a huge difference in the process. If you are using a VST Synth, it will probably be very sterile and not to mention clean, and you won’t have to clean too much.
Getting to the Quick Rough Mix:
The best way to start cutting out the “dead areas” of the spectrum is by using Filters or subtractive EQ. You can cut out most of the noise by using a high pass coupled with a low pass filter. Using shelving EQ parameters to get rid of the most prominent problems in the low and high-end frequencies.
Attenuating the most problematic frequencies on both ends is the first step. Using your EQ to filter through the frequencies can pinpoint more problematic areas. Reverberation caused by the room in which the recording was made can create a lot of unwanted noise in addition to distortion. Cutting out dead areas where the sound shouldn’t be on the spectrum, creates room for the other ones. Understanding music theory can come in very handy here. Sometimes you won’t even have to listen to what you’re attenuating. You will simply do it naturally by knowing the function the sound serves.
Achieving a quick rough mix allows you to have a much successful project overall. It allows you to layer your sounds and arrangement in addition to even greater accuracy and clarity. However, a rough mix still is only a rough mix and that’s it. If you want to get even more out of your mixing practice be sure to check out these 7 Mixing Mistakes made by professional producers, not to mention amateurs.