Music Production Tutorials

Top 5 Less-Is-More Mix Producing TipsJune 18, 2013

Tip 1 Make the Instruments Thin Solo

The goal of a mix is to make multiple instruments work together, so in a complete mix, most of the instruments will sound thin solo. When one track buries another, it’s better to thin down the dominating track than to fatten up the buried track. (Example: Sidechain EQ in FL Studio tutorial).

Tip 2 Use Mono Sounds for a Stereo Mix

Making all the mixer tracks mono, as strange as it sounds, helps because panning mono tracks left and right adds up to a clear stereo mix. And if you pick a few sounds to be stereo they will jump out beastly because the rest of the mix is clear and simple.


Tip 3 FX Plugins Cannot Improve Sound Quality

Plugins can change a sound dramatically but one thing they can’t do is make a sample from a laptop mic sound like it came from a condenser microphone. A low quality synth sound played through a high-quality eq and reverb won’t become a high-quality sound, and if you're trying to hide a sound in your mix by burying it with plugins (we've all done this) it might be better just to remove it.

Tip 4 Make a Very Small Favorites Folder

Imagine having the top 1 percent of your favorite kick drums from all your libraries in one single folder, and your top 20 lead synths in another. As long as you’re ruthless and super-selective in what sounds make it into the favorites folder, you’ll be in producer’s heaven whenever you sit down to make a tune. Whenever I’m in a creative rut but still want to do something music-y I’ll maintain and prune my plugins, samples, and presets.

Tip 5 Remove Plugins that Change Nothing

This one isn’t really a paradox, but it’s hard to stick to. When mixing, test to see if all of those instruments, samples, and effects are really making a discernible difference in the full mix. If they aren’t, remove them. They might make a difference when the track is solo’d, sure, but the only test that matters is how it sounds with everything playing. You may end up with a few tracks with no effects plugins on them at all, not even an eq roll-off, and that’s okay, maybe the sound producer already did that.

Better Drum Samples


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