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Mixing Technique: Static Mix

When you're starting with production you might get confused by all these YouTube tutorials that use complex plugins right at the beginning of the mixing process. When you don't know how to use them, your mixes may not sound so good. That's the point where a mixing technique called static mix comes in.


Mixing Technique: Static Mix


Table of Contents:


 

1 - Static Mix?


The theory behind the Static Mix is basically to just use the most basic features of your mixer. Those are things like faders, stereo tools, and panning. But why do you want to do that? It's actually pretty simple, since the music industry evolved so quickly, more and more companies are selling plugins that are great but often not necessary or at least just for fine-tuning and adding that extra 10 %. In our opinion, with a great foundation 75% of the mixing process is done. And this foundation is exactly what the static mix covers.


Static Mixing


2 - Step By Step


Step 1: Faders

First, make sure all elements are sent to their own mixer channel. You could even group them for the drop part, you give all the lead, chord, bass, and drum layers the same color. Maybe name them. The next step is to bring down all the faders. This may sound weird in the first place, but it will make sense soon. The next thing you want to do is to go to a certain section, most of the time the drop area. Loop this section and then start to increase the fader level of the most present element. These are usually kicks, snares, and vocals. The first fader to pull up is from the kick. Bring the fader to around 50% or where the output level is around -10 to -8dB. This is to make sure we create enough headroom. Now it's time to increase the level of other elements, like the other drum elements like a snare, shakers, percussions, and all other kinds of drums. Slowly bring up their volume and let them dance around the kick. Just listen and decide which volume for those instruments sounds good. Remember, you want the kick to be the main element for now. For drums, leveling in mono can really help you get the right balance. Now it's time to bring up the sub bass. Get it at the right level and make it work together with the kick. A great way to shape the relation between the kick and bass is Kickstart.


After that, bring in the chord layers step by step, the leads, and the bass. Another example of why this is great is because you immediately notice when a certain element sounds off or doesn't fit. This can be a pad that got way too much low-end or mids. If you notice this, you could bring in an EQ but you can also just keep its volume lower. With that 50% is done! You now have a solid mix that is leveled properly. Of course, you can make changes later on.


Beginning Music Mixing

Step 2: Stereo Field

The next fundamental step is the stereo field. In your head, you probably have like 5 different plugins you could use for that. But today we don't want to use them. All we do is use the stereo and panning knobs. Overall you want your kick, bass, vocals, and leads usually in the center of your mix. It's best to fully mono the sub-bass. There is no certain rule of course, but we personally really like to pan elements like percussion to the left or right and give elements like pads a bigger stereo field. It's really up to you and specific to the track you're working on. Maybe this image is helpful:


Stereo Imaging Music Production

Step 3: The Plugins

You probably notice that you now have a pretty solid mix. Now it's time to use your favorite plugins and add the last quarter of the mixing process. At this point, we usually start to EQ out unwanted lows. Then some compression on certain elements, some saturation, and all the other magic tricks you have to level up your mix and make it as great as possible!


Music Production Plugins

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