Mixing in stereo
Let’s for now settle on mixing music in stereo. Assume that the material was brought from a random professional music mixing and mastering studio and you know nothing about it. So what a mixing and mastering engineer should start with?
Before listening to the music piece for the first time, you can simply slide all faders to zero and adjust the balance as the track plays. At this point, you are getting familiar with the material – nothing more. But after the first listening, you have to shape an image of the result you would like to achieve through mixing by using all available technologies. The simplest of characteristics (like genre, tempo or melody) will give you a clue about the general sound.
A modern home music studio
The next step is decomposing the music, which means extracting typical arrangement components that exist in almost every song. It will greatly simplify the task of mixing. There are five such components: foundation, rhythm, lead, pad, and fills. Obviously, not every song contains all mentioned elements. Some of them can fulfill the others’ functions or simply be absent, and some of them can be represented by several instruments, rather than one. It depends on the style and genre of the particular music piece. This question should be discussed with your producer and the audio sengineer. When you’ve dealt with the style and arrangement foundation, you should check if there are any unnecessary parts and timbres. For help with project you're currently working on please learn our prices for online music mixing mastering.