There comes a time when we make fire music, step back and think; can we hear our music being played on radio in the state it is now?
Most songs on the radio have been mixed down by professionals who do this as a day job so a beginner mixer may feel intimidated when faced with mixing their songs down.
Fret not, because below DG Music Pro have highlighted 6 steps you can incorporate throughout your music making process to create the dynamic clarity of Radio Quality music.
1. Assign each sound to an individual mixer track
The first mistake we as producers often make is by putting all of our drums on one single track. We mix our kicks, snares and hi hats all on one track.
Try and put every single element of a sound on a separate track. The kick drums should have their individual tracks. If you used two snares, you should have two tracks for snares and so on.
Everyone may not do this, but a trick to adding a dynamic sound, is splitting your hi-hat hits into two tracks and panning them in opposite directions. So one hit is in the left, the next is on the right, then left, right… Playing around with this will add dynamism to your tracks and add layers that fill out the song.
2. Place instruments and sounds in the same group or area
Once you have separated all the instruments into their own tracks, go into your mixer and place the similar instruments together. E.G Kicks, Snares, Hi-Hats, Toms all are next to each other. Then the Lead sounds are next to each other, and the same for bass and any other elements.
If your software allows you to place these instruments into a group or colour code them just like in the image above, then even better.
You will be able to mix better when your workstation is organised.
3. Volume Control!
How many times have you been making your music and seen your volume monitor flash red every hit of the Snare?
A trick to use, is to adjust your volumes first. Starting off low on all tracks and progressively increasing the volumes of your tracks 1 by 1. This will stop you from placing your sounds too loud, and if you are using high quality sounds, then they will still pop without being placed at full volume.
Tip. Leave -6dB of headroom on your tracks for when you turn to mastering. Anything over 0dB is clipping, so try not to exceed this level as you are straining the sound that is passing through the mixer.
4. Create first
An easy trap to fall into, is adding loads of effects to our music before we have even added the drums. In the end, you are clogging up your mix with unnecessary sounds and you will compensate this by turning up another track which is a never ending cycle.
Leave your effects and plugins such as Compressors, EQ’s, Limiters, Maximisers & Amplifiers until the very end of your creation process. This will give you the chance to create a cleaner sound when mixing these effects in and not drown out your song.
5. Take a Break
The best advice DG Music Pro can advise producers is take a step back from your mix when you have created it.
We have all created something that is mind-blowing and we repeat it constantly and convince ourselves it is the next best hit. We mix down the song and put it online as soon as possible. But what happens when you repeat the song over and over, is you become numb to it and miss out on the little things that will need a tweak.
Taking an hour break or even a nap before coming back to the mix will let you hear the changes which you need to make in your mix down to make you radio ready.
6. Experiment in different situations
Once you feel you have mixed your song down to perfection, test it out in different environments. What sounded awesome through your KRK monitor speakers, may not sound that good in Apple Earpods. Remember, consumers listen to music differently and not everyone will place the song through KRK’s.
Experimenting with Monitoring Headphones, in ear headphones, a car stereo and a set of speakers should be enough to suffice your mix is good enough for the radio.
It may seem excessive but if you want Radio quality music, then you will have to ensure you are making high quality music and mixing down to high quality also.
These 6 steps alone won’t get you onto the radio, but it will ensure your songs will sound a lot better and you will notice this right away, and when your time comes, the radio DJ wont reject your track because of its quality.
Let us know in the comments of any tips you have in making better quality music!