Mixing for Music Producers
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Mixing for Music Producers

Get your tracks radio-ready with this comprehensive guide to mixing for producers.
Bestselling
4.5 (126 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
932 students enrolled
Created by Dylan Bowes
Last updated 6/2015
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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Includes:
  • 6.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Mix a song in any genre
Export a production session for mixdown
Prepare a mix session with naming, organization, and color coding
Set up submix routing
Achieve a static mix with fader balancing
Shape tone with EQ and avoid frequency masking
Apply compression for dynamic balance
Choose and apply plugins for maximum impact
Use automation to create a dynamic mix
Prepare a mix for mastering
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • Any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Description

This course is a comprehensive guide to mixing for music producers.

At the end of this course, your tracks will be transformed into radio-ready, commercial quality songs which you can pitch to labels, contests, or simply release for your fans.

I created this course because I wish someone had taught me these principles when I was just getting started producing music. I had spent all of my time learning about synthesizers, recording live instruments, drum programming, and audio unit processing. I had a pretty good knack for making cool sounds and composing songs, but once all of the elements were piled together, more often than not it sounded like a jumbled mess. It was nowhere near the clarity and punch I heard on the radio or professional tracks that I loved.

It was at that point I realized that I needed to develop my mixing skills in order to be a truly good producer.

That's why I created this course -- to save you the trouble and headache I experienced when trying to produce music without a good foundation in the principles of mixing.

This course will take you from a good producer to a great one.

It is true that the roles of mix engineer and producer are different. However, in these days of home recording and DAW-based music production, these roles will often overlap significantly.

In this course I will teach you all of the tools and tricks of professional mix engineers so that you can make your tracks shine with the commercial punch and clarity labels and fans want to hear.

We'll cover every aspect of mixing including: room acoustics, monitoring, mix preparation, equalization, compression, audio time and pitch editing, automation, plugin processing, return effects, and everything else in between.

Using 45 high definition video lectures, I'll walk you through the entire process of mixing from exporting your tracks all the way down to the exporting for mastering stage.

We'll be using Logic Pro X in this course. What if you use a different DAW? Well, this course is all about the theory, practice, and process of mixing. I teach you how to listen to your tracks, what to listen for, and how to creatively solve problems that may come up. Obviously, users of Logic will have a slight advantage since many of the tools we use will most likely be familiar. However, the concepts and techniques apply to every DAW so don't dismay if you are not a Logic user.

Even if you're sending off your tracks to a mix engineer, you don't want him or her to make all of your creative decisions. Being fluent in the language and technique of mixing will make you a vastly better producer.

Sign up for this course today and transform your productions into the commercial quality you've been aiming for.

Who is the target audience?
  • Music Producers
  • DJs
  • Songwriters
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 47 Lectures Collapse All 47 Lectures 06:41:27
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WELCOME
1 Lecture 04:34

In this lecture, I provide a brief introduction to the course style, structure and approach.

A few things to remember:

  1. Feel free to post any questions, comments, or concerns in the discussion area for each lecture. I try to answer all questions within 1-2 days.
  2. Once you've gotten a feel for the course, please take a minute to rate and/or review the course. This helps prospective students know what they're getting into!
  3. Don't skip the quizzes. They give you a chance to reinforce what you've learned at the end of the section.
  4. Have fun, learn, and grow. We're all here to learn together so have fun and work hard!

Oh, and you can find out a bit more about me in the external resources below. Stay in touch!

Preview 04:34
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THE LISTENING ENVIRONMENT
3 Lectures 15:19

In this lecture I touch briefly on the basic goals you should set for your listening environment. This includes where in the room you position your mixing desk, where your speakers should be located, and how to set up acoustic treatment.

Check out the articles in the external resources for more information on these topics!

Preview 04:26

In this lecture I touch briefly on some basic goals for monitoring including common monitoring pitfalls, using secondary "bad" monitors, and making your mix work with whatever monitor setup you have. After all, mixing is all about listening well; therefore we need to make monitoring decisions that will help us become better listeners.

Preview 06:53

In this lecture I'll explain the importance of using reference tracks to give you a proper perspective on your mix. By choosing high quality, professional mixes to reference along side your own mix, you can set a high bar for your mix and constantly check your mix along with the reference track to make sure you're headed in the right direction.

Reference Tracks
04:00

The Listening Environment Quiz
3 questions
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MIX PREPARATION
8 Lectures 50:23

In this lecture I explain why it is important to start a new mix session for your song, rather than simply mixing inside your main production project. I'll also show you how to export your production session as a folder of raw WAV files for import into your mix session.

Starting a Mix Session
09:04

In this lecture I show you how to import your audio files into your new mix session.

Importing Your Audio Files
04:07

In this lecture I explain how to name your tracks and audio regions. I also include some of my own naming standards I've developed over the years and I explain why it is critical to develop consistent naming standards. Finally, I explain how to create icons for your tracks to better see what you're working with.

Naming Your Tracks
07:04

In this lecture I show you how to color code your tracks. First, we'll organize our tracks by instrument type, then we'll set colors for each group of instruments to getter a better visual setup. I also explain why it is important to color "problem" areas or tracks that you want to feature in your mix.

Color Coding Your Tracks
07:07

In this lecture I show you how to remove silence from your audio regions using two different techniques. The first is to manually cut out silence periods using the marquee tool. The second is to use Logic's Strip Silence Engine to quickly and effectively remove silence in one step. I'll explain the pros and cons of both approaches.

Removing Silence From Your Audio Regions
04:14

In this lecture I show you how and why we set up markers for the song arrangement in our mix session. I'll explain the several different ways to quickly and efficiently create markers.

Setting Up Markers
04:48

In this lecture I explain multing and I also explain why and when to use it. Multing is the process of splitting out a track into multiple tracks in order to process them differently. I'll provide a few examples of when you might want to use multing and how it can prove extremely helpful in your mix.

Multing
06:10

In this lecture I show you why and how we set up submix routing. Submix routing allows you to group your different tracks into types such as drums, bass, guitars, etc., and then process those groups using a single submix bus for each.

Setting Up Submix Routing
07:49

The Mix Preparation Quiz
8 questions
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BALANCING
3 Lectures 27:03

In this lecture we'll finally start to mix! I'll show you how to get a static mix, which is simply a good balance of all of your tracks. We'll start by balancing the tracks in each submix and then blend them together. I'll also explain the value of working toward a static mix and what it can reveal about further processing needs.

Getting a Static Mix
13:20

In this lecture I explain a few additional considerations in balancing. I describe some of the most common orders when creating a static mix. I also explain why you might choose to do some quick high-pass filtering at this stage.

Additional Considerations in Balancing
03:43

In this lecture I show you how and why to use panning. I explain why setting different pan positions for your tracks will enhance each track's position in the mix and also help to widen the stereo field. I explain LCR panning and I also show you how to pair up tracks for panning left and right.

Panning
10:00

The Balancing Quiz
3 questions
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EQUALIZATION
6 Lectures 51:56

In this lecture I explain how your static mix stage will point you toward your EQ processing needs. I give several examples of how your static mix stage will reveal tracks that require some equalization treatment.

From a Static Mix to EQ
02:30

In this lecture I thoroughly explain the Channel EQ plugin. I'll walk you through the various filter types inside the plugin including the high- and low-pass filters, parametric filters, and the shelf filters. I'll also show you how to read the graphic window. I'll describe the frequency, bandwidth (or "Q") and gain parameters. I'll also describe Q-coupling and how to understand the analyzer readout.

The Channel EQ Plugin
09:43

In this lecture, I show you how we can use EQ to shape the tone of your tracks by creating boosts and cuts to the frequency spectrum.

EQ to Shape Tone
08:11

In this lecture I show you how to use subtractive equalization in order to remove unwanted frequencies from your tracks. I explain how to locate unwanted frequency bands and remove them using notched parametric filters.

Subtractive Equalization
10:23

In this lecture I explain the third and most important use of equalization which is to avoid or minimize frequency masking. We use EQ on our tracks primarily to ensure that different tracks with similar frequency content do not step on each other's toes and fit into the mix properly.

EQ to Avoid Frequency Masking (Part 1)
10:18

In this lecture I explain the third and most important use of equalization which is to avoid or minimize frequency masking. We use EQ on our tracks primarily to ensure that different tracks with similar frequency content do not step on each other's toes and fit into the mix properly.

EQ to Avoid Frequency Masking (Part 2)
10:51

The EQ Quiz
7 questions
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COMPRESSION
7 Lectures 01:18:51

In this lecture I provide a brief introduction to compression. We'll go back to the static mix and I'll explain how our static mix stage reveals tracks that may require some dynamics processing.

Compression Introduction
03:25

In this lecture I give you a detailed explanation of the compressor plugin native to Logic. I describe all of the parameters and controls available inside the plugin and how you can use them when doing your dynamics processing. Although compression could occupy an entire course, I give you a solid foundation on compression so that you can be confident in your use of compression in your mixes.

What is A Compressor?
16:12

In this lecture we dive deeper into the concept of compression by using a compressor on our lead vocals. I provide an in-depth explanation of how to set the compressor threshold, attack and release times, and ratio to even out the dynamics of the vocal performance.

Using a Compressor on Lead Vocals
15:13

In this lecture I show you how you can use sidechain compression as a mix tool. Sidechain compression is when you use another audio source as the "key" to tell the compressor to reduce the gain on a track. In our example, we'll use sidechain compression on the live bass track with the kick drum as the key input. This helps avoid frequency masking between the kick and the bass and also increases the perceived tightness of these two instruments.

Sidechain Compression as a Mix Tool
10:24

In this lecture I explain how and when we use expansion to increase the dynamic range of a track. Expansion is basically the opposite of compression. We can use the expander plugin to reduce the gain of the lower levels in a track, while increasing the gain of the higher levels. I'll provide a few examples of how we can use this plugin to clean up some of the business in our percussion section.

Expansion
11:18

In this lecture I explain how and when we can use the noise gate as yet another mix tool during our dynamics processing. Similar to the Expander, the Noise Gate allows us to completely mute the sections of a track which have a lower gain. I'll show you how we can use a noise gate on a loop track to reduce the business of that track while keeping the essential elements of the track.

The Noise Gate
15:02

In this lecture I show you how to set up a compressor on our drum submix. This allows all of the different drum tracks to "glue" together nicely. I explain what to listen for when using this technique and how to maintain the punch of all of the elements while still creating a cohesive drum sound.

Compression on the Drum Submix
07:17

The Compression Quiz
6 questions
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SWEETENING
7 Lectures 01:05:43

In this lecture I show you how to create return effects. There are three main benefits to using busses as return effects channels. First, we save CPU power by sending tracks to effects busses rather than having five effect plugins on every track in the session. Second, we save time by creating a few important return channels and sending our tracks to them. Finally, we create consistent space by using the same return channel for multiple tracks.

Creating Return Effects
15:31

In this lecture I show you how to duck return effects using sidechain compression. Ducking ensures that our return effects (e.g. delay on the lead vocals) do not interfere with the clarity of the dry vocal track.

Ducking Return Effects
06:32

In this lecture I show you how to create a drum "room" by sending the drum submix to a reverb bus. Using this technique we can emulate a drum room microphone as a return effect channel and blend it with the dry signal.

Creating a Drum Room
07:55

In this lecture I show you how to enhance the stereo image of our vocoder track using the rotor cabinet plugin. In this simple example, I explain how to listen for problems in the mix and how to creatively solve them. Our vocoder track is lost in the mix due to the centrality of the lead vocals. We can use the rotor cabinet to create a bit of natural stereo imaging which provides a better home for the vocoder and increases its clarity next to the lead vocals.

Stereo Imaging using the Rotor Cabinet
05:32

In this lecture I demonstrate a classic yet powerful way to widen out a single lead vocal track using pitch-shifted delays. I show you how to set up two sends from the lead vocals and then use two different delays and pitch-shifters on those two return channels.

Pitch-Shifted Delays to Widen Lead Vocals
09:37

In this lecture I show you how to use a simple overdrive plugin to even out the dynamics of the snare track. This has the added benefit of enhancing the harmonic content of the snare and increasing its "body." Again, this is another example of listening for problems in the mix and using creative processing to solve them.

Overdrive to Even Out the Snare
06:24

In this lecture I show you a very advanced technique used for blending the guitars and the vocals. We will set up a return effect from the guitar submix with a noise gate and a gain plugin. We then use the vocal submix as the sidechain input on the gate and invert the polarity of the return channel. This allows us to open the gate when the vocals are present and send a phase-inverted guitar signal back to the mix, which will reduce the gain of the guitars just a bit when the vocals are present because of phase-cancellation.

Phase-Cancellation Gating on the Guitars
14:12

The Sweetening Quiz
5 questions
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AUDIO EDITING
6 Lectures 59:03

In this lecture I provide a brief introduction to the concept of audio editing by explaining when and why to edit your audio tracks. I show you what to listen for and how to address audio editing in an efficient way to enhance the professionalism of your mix without losing the natural feel of the song.

Audio Editing: When and Why to Use It
10:09

In this lecture I provide a solid foundation for the Flex Time engine, which is Logic's tool for editing the timing of audio regions. I'll show you how to enable Flex Time, how to choose the proper algorithm for the audio type, and how to edit transients using the tools inside Flex Time.

Flex Time
15:09

In this lecture I provide a detailed explanation of the Flex Pitch engine, which is Logic's tool for editing the pitch of audio regions. I'll show you how to listen for pitch problems and how to address them. I'll also walk you through all of the Flex Pitch tools including vibrato, pitch drift, gain, and fine pitch.

Flex Pitch (Part 1)
08:38

In this lecture I provide a detailed explanation of the Flex Pitch engine, which is Logic's tool for editing the pitch of audio regions. I'll show you how to listen for pitch problems and how to address them. I'll also walk you through all of the Flex Pitch tools including vibrato, pitch drift, gain, and fine pitch.

Flex Pitch (Part 2)
12:09

In this lecture I provide a bit more detail on the fade tool including how to create crossfades, fade outs and fade ins, and how to change the curve of your fades.

More on the Fade Tool
07:13

In this lecture I demonstrate another powerful audio editing tool which is the speed up and slow down. I'll show you how to create these effects using the fade tool and when it may be appropriate to use them.

Speed Up and Slow Down
05:45

The Audio Editing Quiz
4 questions
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AUTOMATION
2 Lectures 22:36

In this lecture I explain why automation is important for creating a more dynamic mix. I'll show you how to determine which tracks or sections require automation and also how to create that automation with the example of a volume reduction on a guitar track.

Using Automation for a Dynamic Mix
08:11

In this lecture I provide a few more examples of using automation in order to create a dynamic mix. I'll show you how to use mute automation on the bell track as well as automating parameters within the Channel EQ plugin. We'll also tackle the concept of using multiple automation parameters within the same track.

More On Automation
14:25

The Automation Quiz
3 questions
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FINISHING UP
3 Lectures 23:26

In this lecture I explain how to determine whether your mix is finished or not. I'll show you my simple (yet surprisingly difficult) method for putting the finishing touches on the mix. I'll explain how I use a notepad to listen to my mix (without looking at it!) and make notes on what I need to change.

The Notes Stage
08:24

In this lecture I explain the "Car Test" as well as the "Friends & Family Test" which I use to determine whether my mix is finished. We use the car test to listen to our finished mix in the car which is a very common listening environment for our music consumers. We also send our mix to trusted friends and family to get their feedback on the mix.

The Car Test
07:48

In this lecture I show you how to export your mix for mastering. Whether you intend to send it off to be mastered or master it yourself, I'll show you the best practices for bouncing your mix to a high resolution WAV file. We'll cover all of the options in the "bounce" dialog including the settings for your WAV file and MP3 file.

Exporting Your Mix for Mastering
07:14
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Dylan Bowes
4.6 Average rating
873 Reviews
11,183 Students
6 Courses
Producer & Sound Designer

Dylan is a producer & sound designer in Los Angeles. He has taught music production and mixing techniques for more than four years.