Mixing is a hard task in the process of creating a track, but it could be even worse if you don’t start it properly.
By starting your project with the wrong process, you could lead yourself to some mixing problems that could impact the overall result of your track.
The first problem is overworking. If you don’t have a streamlined process for your mixing and mastering, which we covered in this post, your mixing could end up as a never-ending loop until you get tired of your track. Or, worse, it could lead you to a result that sounds worse than what you could have achieved if you had a decent workflow for it.
The second problem is objectivity since a tidy mix avoids mistakes like unwanted settings that you may have forgotten, and also by setting your mind to the task at hand. This, ultimately, leads you to a more productive and straightforward mix, as mentioned in the linked post.
However, your workflow starts with a decent mixing template, which is what we’ll talk about today and you can download it RIGHT HERE. Although this template is for Ableton Live, if you understand its concepts by watching the video below, you can apply it to any DAW. What matters is the organizational concept that I’ll share in the video below and here’s what it will cover:
- 00:00 Introduction
- 00:33 Reference Tracks
- 01:23 Master
- 02:17 Busses
- 02:54 Kick & Sub Buss
- 03:35 Drums Bus
- 04:28 Break & Drop Bus
- 05:40 Bass Bus
- 06:04 FX Bus
- 06:21 Vox Bus (Non-Recorded)
- 06:41 Vox Full Bus (Recorded)
- 07:51 Mixing Template in Action
- 10:46 Mixing Template Download
- 11:45 DAW Requirements
- 12:11 Final Thoughts
The Mixing Template
This mixing template is composed of several different parts, as you may have seen above:
Your references are REALLY important for this process, as they represent your guides for this mix. Not only will you understand key aspects like volumes and compression levels, but also character and tone from them, as said in this post.
We’re starting the mix and master with the mastering chain ON. If you don’t know how to make a mastering chain, you can watch how to do one in the video below:
Kick & Sub
As your kick and sub are the only elements that should have sub frequencies and could cause you a lot of problems if you don’t mix them properly, they have their own separate group.
All your drums besides your kick come here. This includes percussions, snare rolls, drum fills, rides, hit hats, and any other percussive element. It could also include a kick during a break, but not the main kick used throughout your drops.
Break & Drop Bus
These are for your melodic elements and any element that plays a role in the composition of your track. These include pads, chords, leads, arps, top leads, stabs, etc. Risers, however, are not included here, since risers are FX and do not play a role in the melodic part of your tracks.
These are all the basses besides your SUB. This includes mid basses, reese basses during breaks, and bass shots, possibly.
White noise, Risers, Cymbal Crashes, Sub Impacts, Percussion Impacts, Atmos, all these elements are mainly adding tension to your track, as said in this post, so they have a separate group for that.
Vox Atmos, vocal beds, vocal risers, basically any sample that you use during your track that is vocal based comes here. This is important to differentiate since vocals have a lot of harmonics and have to be treated differently when compared to chords, for example. This does not includes ANY recorded vocal, as these go in the next Bus.
Vox Full Bus
If your song has a vocal, all your recorded vocals will come here. These are different from a sample-based vocal since most of your recordings will have the same tonality and, therefore, you can apply similar treatments to each of them.
I want to hear from you now!
Is this mixing bus the same as yours? How do you setup your mixing process to have a concise and streamlined process that avoids waste of time and is direct to the point?
Let me know in the comments below!