Mix like an Expert with these 3 Concepts
“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.“ -Sun Tzu
Here is an exercise. Put all your faders up recorded tracks.
Think Tall. Wide. And Deep.
Tall – Frequencies
With your eyes closed, what needs to be tall? Which elements need high frequencies and which need low frequencies?
Which instruments can you trim the top off of and place in the low end? Which instruments can you filter out the fat of and make shine in the high end? What needs to be all encompassing in the middle?
Wide – Panning
Think about pushing each part into its proper place. You need to fill out the stereo spectrum, so pan your instruments around your canvas. Artists are supposed to fill out their canvases and therefore don’t just paint in the middle.
The same goes for you. Don’t place everything in the middle; instead, spread it out and find a good spot for each individual object.
Deep – Effects and Reverb
Push the instruments back, pull them forward, move them closer, or push them away. Think of the mix like a 3D image. With volume, reverb, and effects you can place anything anywhere in the room.
If you want the drums by the rear wall, add some reverb and lower the volume. Push back with reverb and effects; pull forward with more volume and short delays.
Once you’ve placed all the elements in both highs and lows, left and right, and front and back, you can have a better idea of where you’re headed and what you need to do.
For more in-depth mixing techniques, check out Step By Step Mixing.