Log in
Log in

or
Learning
Comment

Create a Rough Mix

A guide to mixing music - Part 11

In the last installment, I gave you an overview of the mixing method I'll be presenting in the upcoming articles. In that workflow, one of the first things you need to do is create a rough mix, and in this article, we'll focus on doing just that.

View other articles in this series...

Why?

The rough mix is a quick mix done exclusively with the help of the volume faders and pan knobs of the tracks. This task is far from being trivial, because the rough mix will serve as the foundation for all elements to fall into place. It’s like the framework making up the skeleton of your mix/puzzle.

It’s only after you have set up this framework that you’ll have a more refined overview of things and be able to linger on the details that need fine-tuning. Would you believe me if I told you that, to me, the rough mix easily accounts for 50% of a good mix? And it is precisely at this stage where things start to go downhill for beginners…

Generally speaking, several phenomena stack up. First off, newbies tend to linger on things and intellectualize about them in excess, when it is better to let your instinct drive you. In fact, first impressions are often the best, so why rack your brains and lose your precious time for nothing? You have a goal and you are aware of it, it’s there, deep inside you, so trust your instincts!

The second phenomenon is even more incomprehensible and counterproductive. After beating his/her brains out, the aspiring sound engineer inevitably ends up doing things out of habit! Guitars are always on the same side, the relative levels between the snare and bass drum are always the same, etc. Whatever the song, it’s always done mechanically. This is a bad habit that gets in the way of your creativity, and can make your mixes a lot less interesting. Each song is different and, as such, it deserves a particular treatment and attention.

Last, but not least, beginners tend to bring out the heavy artillery right away. EQ, compressor, gate, you name it, anything you can think of supposed to solve “problems, ” while the groundwork is still not done. It’s unfortunately human to want everything right away. But that’s not how things work in reality. You need to go step by step to reach the goal you’ve set. Using a legion of plug-ins when the rough mix isn’t finished is just shooting yourself in the foot, period.

To sum it up, the rough mix is essential to a good mix and if you can hold your horses, I guarantee that this stage won’t take you more than half an hour.

How?

Personally, I have a very particular way of doing things. I start off by panning the tracks. Why? Quite simply so that my panning decisions won’t be influenced by the relative level of the tracks.

Once done, I switch to mono and take care of the volume faders. Why in mono, you ask? Well, once again, to not get distracted by the panning I just did.

In the next installment I’ll let you into the details of a fun and incredibly effective way to deal with panning your tracks in less than fifteen minutes. But before that, I invite you to take a look at one of our previous articles concerning the laws of panning, as a sort of introduction to the topic.

← Previous article in this series:
A Method to Your Mixing
Next article in this series:
Left, Right and Center →

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages and show you personalised ads (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Audience analysis (Google Analytics)
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising (Google Ads)
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.
Marketing (Meta Pixel)

On our websites, we use the Meta Pixel. The Meta Pixel is a remarketing pixel implemented on our websites that allows us to target you directly via the Meta Network by serving ads to visitors of our websites when they visit the social networks Facebook and Instagram. The meta pixel are code snippets which are able to identify your browser type via the browser ID - the individual fingerprint of your browser - and to recognise that you have visited our websites and what exactly you have looked at on our websites. When you visit our websites, the pixel establishes a direct connection to Meta's servers. Meta is able to identify you by your browser ID, as this is linked to other data about you stored by Meta on your Facebook or Instagram user account. Meta then delivers individualised ads from us on Facebook or on Instagram that are tailored to your needs.

We ourselves are not in a position to identify you personally via the meta pixel, as apart from your browser ID no other data is stored with us via the pixel.

For more information about the Meta Pixel, the details of data processing via this service and Meta's privacy policy, please visit Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Facebook and Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Instagram.

Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. is a subsidiary of Meta Platforms, Inc. based in the USA. It cannot be ruled out that your data collected by Facebook will also be transmitted to the USA.


We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Audience analysis (Google Analytics)

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising (Google Ads)

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.

Marketing (Meta Pixel)

On our websites, we use the Meta Pixel. The Meta Pixel is a remarketing pixel implemented on our websites that allows us to target you directly via the Meta Network by serving ads to visitors of our websites when they visit the social networks Facebook and Instagram. The meta pixel are code snippets which are able to identify your browser type via the browser ID - the individual fingerprint of your browser - and to recognise that you have visited our websites and what exactly you have looked at on our websites. When you visit our websites, the pixel establishes a direct connection to Meta's servers. Meta is able to identify you by your browser ID, as this is linked to other data about you stored by Meta on your Facebook or Instagram user account. Meta then delivers individualised ads from us on Facebook or on Instagram that are tailored to your needs.

We ourselves are not in a position to identify you personally via the meta pixel, as apart from your browser ID no other data is stored with us via the pixel.

For more information about the Meta Pixel, the details of data processing via this service and Meta's privacy policy, please visit Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Facebook and Meta Privacy Policy - How Meta collects and uses user data for Instagram.

Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. is a subsidiary of Meta Platforms, Inc. based in the USA. It cannot be ruled out that your data collected by Facebook will also be transmitted to the USA.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.