How to Easily Mix Your Beats In 5 Simple Steps! (examples included)

How To Easily Mix Your Beats In 5 Simple Steps!🎵
Tell me if you can relate to this? You’re working on a beat, and something just “doesn’t sound right”. Or maybe you export your track and go and listen on other speakers, and it sounds much different.
 
This is a struggle that all producers go through, and bad mixing is usually the culprit. In this guide, I’m going to go over 5 easy steps you can use to get a high-quality mix on your beats!
 
Before we begin, there are a couple things you’re going to need…
 
First, a digital audio workstation (DAW) with mixing capabilities. This could be FL Studio, Ableton, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, or may others.
List of Digital Audio Workstations
Once you’re inside your production software, send each layer of your beat to a different mixer track.
Layers of beat in FL Studio
As you can see, the piano, bell, 808, clap, snare, etc, are all in different mixer tracks. What this means is you can change the volume to each layer separately, as well as adding different effects and EQ.
 
If you’re looking for hundreds of free samples and MIDI, check out this free pack here (also royalty free)
 
To add a layer to a mixer track, you should be able to click, or right click, and then click send to mixer track. There are also shortcuts where you can add every track at once. 
The next thing you’re going to need is a set of speakers or headphones🎧
 
It’s important when mixing to be able to clearly hear each layer and hear how small changes affect the mix. If you’re like me (my name is Luke btw), I used cheap earphones to make beats when I started, and it's not the end of the world. You can still get a good mix on earphones, and that is what most of your listeners will be listening on anyways…
 
But having professional equipment can make the mixing process quicker, easier, and more consistent.
 
The last thing you’re going to need are some different devices to test your mix on. For example, earphones, phone speakers, laptop speakers, car speakers, portable speakers, etc.
 
With that being said, let’s jump into the steps!
 
Step 1: sample selection🔥
 
This first step is often the most overlooked step. It doesn’t matter how good your mixing, compressing, EQ or maximising is…
 
Using low-quality samples will result in a low-quality mix!
 
Low quality samples are samples that are mixed incorrectly, have feedback or distortion that isn’t meant to be in the sample, have a wide frequency range that makes it clash with other layers, etc.
 
If you’re wondering why your beats just don’t sound the same as other producers, it’s very likely your samples are holding you back, not just your mix. Get 600+ free, royalty free samples here.
 
Not only do you want high quality samples, but you also want a lot of them, and samples that fit the track you’re creating. A super punchy kick and hard distorted 808 are awesome in some trap beats… but won’t really fit in most R&B beats, chill beats, Lo-fi, etc.
 
Before you make a beat, go and choose all the samples you’re going to use, and make sure they fit the style you’re trying to create.
 
Step 2: STOP your layers from clashing.
 
Here’s the thing…
 
More layers does NOT equal better music. I’m guilty of this. I used to put like 20 layers on a track and still think it needed more. I was perplexed when it still sounded like garbage after 2 hours of mixing.
 
You don't want your beats to be boring, but you don’t want them to be over complicated. This is for 2 reasons. First, too many layers will clash and be impossible to fix with mixing. Second, if you’re going to have vocals on your beat, they need room. Adding another snare or hi hat or melody layer only makes it harder to fit vocals.
 
Producers like Metro Boomin are masters at simplicity. I recommend listening to the instrumental version of his “Not all heroes wear capes” album to get a better idea of what I mean.
 
Simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean not adding more layers, it means not having them all in at once…
 
For example: Let’s just say you have a piano melody, a bell, and a flute, and you want to add something else to keep the beat interesting. Instead of just adding a guitar on top and hoping it’ll fit…
 
Take out one, or multiple layers. You can even take out all the melodies and just leave in this new guitar layers. You’d be surprised how awesome a “raw” beat can sound, especially if a talented rapper/singer uses it.
 
You also want to avoid having melodies playing notes in the same octave.
 
For example, let’s just say you have a piano melody that looks like this…
 
Guitar Melody in FL Studio
 
Instead of copying and pasting this melody exactly onto a guitar, you’re going to want to transpose the melody. This means moving it up or down an octave or 2. This isn’t a “rule” but let me explain why doing this can make mixing much easier.
 
This is the piano melody, and the guitar melody. Notice something?
 
Guitar and piano melody EQ in FL Studio
 
They are both extremely similar when it comes to their frequencies. This means they clash. There are some exceptions where you can add a more subtle melody playing the same notes but lead instruments should be in different octaves when possible. 
 
Step 3: EQ your layers.
 
This involves perfecting the equalisation of your layers, which will help them mix together.
 
The most effective way to do this is to open up the EQ inside your DAW and cut out the frequencies we don’t need.
 
How do you know what to cut out? This is just about using and training your ear. There are 2 ways I like to use EQ. The first is to cut out harsh frequencies, and the second is to trip the top and bottom frequencies.
 
Cutting out harsh frequencies:
 
Do you ever listen to a melody and there’s a harsh or distorted sound you hear? Yeah well, we want to get rid of those. The best way to do that is to identify the frequency and cut it out. An alternate solution would be swapping instruments or changing around the melody, but this way works just as well and doesn’t require changing your melody.
 
You will want to grab one of the EQ bands and drag it up so it’s loud. You then want to lower the size of that EQ band. Play the melody and move the EQ band along the top until you identify the harsh sound. Once you hear it, lower the volume of that frequency completely.
How to cut out harsh frequencies when producing and mixing beats

Trimming low and high pitch inaudible frequencies:
 
Melodies usually have high and low pitch melodies which are inaudible. These frequencies clash with lower pitch layers like 808s and higher pitch layers like snares, hi hats, and high pitch melodies! (Without you knowing)
 
You can fairly easily trim these frequencies by opening up an EQ and cutting them out until you start to notice the layer sounds different. When this happens, stop, and go back to when it sounded exactly the same.

Low and high pass filter when producing and mixing
Another way to EQ your melodies is to lower or boost the volume of certain EQ ranges. You may do this when a hi hat sounds too sharp:
 
When you want a bass/kick to be punchier:
 
Or when you want a melody layer to have quieter mids:
 
Step 4: Mixing (leveling)
 
This involves leveling the volume of your layers. This is probably 80% of mixing. It’s going to take some time to get the hang of but perfecting this is super important.
 
The best way to start is with all your tracks muted, then unmute and level each of them 1 by 1. You’re going to want your finishing volume to be about -6db. We are going to boost that when mastering in the next step. 
I recommend starting with the melodies one by one, getting them mixed how you want, then bring in the drums. The most important thing to remember with mixing is it's easier to make everything quieter to make a layer stand out, instead of trying to boost the volume of that layer.
I used to be OBSESSED with having a punchy kick and hard 808. The issue is, everything was mixed so loud that I had to max out the volume of my kick and 808 to get them to stand out. I learned through making a lot of mistakes that you want your mixer tracks to look something more like this:
 How to mix your beats
None of the layers are up to loud. I let the mastering boost the track volume. Mixing can be tricky, but with a bit of practice and patience, I know you'll nail it.
  
Step 5: Mastering
Mastering is the last step and involves using compressor or a maximiser to boost the volume of your track and results with the finished product. Here are 3 ways I master my tracks to get the best quality possible, in a very quick amount of time.
 
Option 1: iZotope Ozone Maximiser:
 
This is (is my opinion) the easiest and best way to master a track. All you need to do is load it on your master, and tweak 3 settings. One is the character which effects how quickly the volume is raised again after the maximiser lowers it, the second is the ceiling which effects where the maximiser limits the volume, and the last is the threshold which can be used to raise or lower the volume of the track.
I usually set the character to 1, the ceiling to around 0.7, and lower the threshold slider until the blue starts to hit the ceiling. It will change for every beat, but it usually ends up looking like this. 
Mixing, mastering and maximising a beat with iZotope Ozone 9
For best results, make sure your beat is about -8db before using a maximiser. If the beat is already very loud, the maximiser can't do much... maximising. 
If you have $120 to spend on this plugin bundle, I definitely recommend it. I learned about this from watching Nick Mira (an RIAA Diamond Producer...), mixing his beats.   
Option 2: A Clipper
A clipper is a plugin that cuts off your beats volume in a straight line. It will add a lot of punch to your mix and is very common in trap/drill beats. You can alternatively add this soft clipper to your kicks to make them hit harder. 
Some examples of clippers are Fruity Soft Clipper, Boz Digital Labs Clipper, JST Clip and Initial Audio Clipper. 
They usually have 2 main settings: Gain, and clip/ceiling. The gain will increase the volume of your mix, and the ceiling will control how it is "clipped". 
Using fruity soft clipper to mix and master a beat in FL Studio
You can also use a Multiband Maximizer like Maximus, MLimiterMB, L3 Multimaximizer, and Classic Multiband Limiter. 
These allow you to be more precise in your maximizing and change your settings for multiple EQ ranges. For example, you can make your low end punchier with a quick release and make your high end a bit softer and less intrusive with a different threshold and a slower release. This gives you more control, but in my opinion isn't the best for beginners. 
Option 3: A Compressor
A compressor manipulates the attack time, release time, and output level of your music. It tends to result in a softer mix which is more suited to R&B, Pop, EDM, etc. 
Compressors include Waves compressor, FabFilter Pro, Softube Tube-Tech CL 1B, iZotope Neutron 3 Compressor, and many more. 
When compressing, it's recommended that you tweak each layer separately. For example, mute the mid and high end, and start with just the lows. 
Mixing and mastering a beat in FL Studio with maximus
You can tweak the pre gain, post gain, attack, release, threshold, ceiling, and many more settings. You can also manipulate the "knee" of the EQ band by grabbing one of the points in the top left. You can soften the sound of the EQ band by doing the following: 
Using maximus compressor to mix and master kick and 808 in FL Studio
This limits the volume of the low and, end lowers the ceiling, which is the maximum volume it can reach. You can do the opposite and boost this EQ range by doing the following:
Boosting kick and bass in FL Studio with maximus compressor
 
I also increase the pre and post gain slightly which boosted the volume further. Compress all EQ bands and make sure they mix together well. It's a much more difficult process but you have much more control over your final mix.
I hope you learned a lot from this mixing and mastering guide! If you're looking for high quality royalty free samples and MIDI to produce with which will make mixing and mastering much easier...
Download our free pack here, or go to WavGrind.com
~ Luke
 
 
 
 

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