When you think of mixing the first thing that might come to mind is those big speakers that you see in million dollar studios, expensive equipment, and complex software. None of those things will directly help you learn how to mix hip hop, nor do they guarantee your music will sound good. Whether you’re mixing your own music or someone else’s understanding the elements of a mix is key to getting a good sound. Read on to learn the elements of the mix.
According to Bobby Owsinski’s Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, there are six elements to a great mix.
- Balance: the relative levels of volume of each musical element (controlled by the faders and arrangement)
- Dynamics: the range of loudness and softness each musical element covers (controlled by compression and fader riding)
- Panorama: the location of sounds in the stereo field (controlled by the panpots)
- Frequency Range: the frequencies covered by musical elements (managed through equalization, also known as EQ)
- Dimension: how near or far musical elements sound (managed through effects like reverb, chorus, delay, and more)
- Interest: things that make the mix special (easy to recognize but hard to describe, automation can do wonders)
Over the next few posts, we will look at how to manipulate each element.