What is Mixing ?
What is Mixing in Music Production?
Making music is like cooking. You may have all the ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that that the plate will taste good when you’re done. You’d still have to know how much of each ingredient to put to get things tasting good and you can even put your own lil’ spin on things by adding your own seasonings. In music though, instead of a pot of steak and potatoes, we have a a stew of sounds that need to be made to sound good on their own and to also sound good interacting with each other. This is the entire point of mixing. It serves the purpose of providing a level of clarity in the music and making sure that musical elements sound the way the producer or artist envisions the track. This is usually achieved through the use of through the use of Equalization (EQ), Compression, Limiting, and various Effects.
Mixing is one of those things that is as much a science as it is an art. There is no one way to mix a song. Two of your favorite producers or mix engineers could mix the same song separately and both versions could sound good afterwards, even though they were different from each other. It comes down to personal taste, but usually songs mix follows the parameters of genre conventions or musical trends. In other words, a rap song would be mixed differently than a rock or classical song. Hip-Hop is usually drum and bass heavy and emphasizes clarity, whereas rock emphasizes the guitars in middle frequencies and usually leans toward a distorted sound. Mixing for jazz for example, would see a focus on the high-mid frequencies of the snare drum and cymbals. The lo-fi sound of Drake can be thought of as musical trend, and many producers are mixing their songs for a similar sound. All of these issues are dealt with in the mixing stage with by a mix engineer or producer.
There are literally tons of software packages out there specifically made for mixing with various tools for EQ and dynamic processing, many of them come bundled with other useful or interested effects. The Waves series of software plugins stand out as some of the best packages for mixing. Also notable are packages from FabFilter and BrainWorx.
There’s plenty of online resources to help you get a better understanding of mixing Hip-Hop and rap music. HTMB gets you started here with the foundation concepts.
- Basic EQ for Hip Hop.
- Compression and Limiting in Beat Making.