Mix: Level Setting
Level balance between instruments is very important because the balance of tone and space is broken down without accurate level settings. The mixing order varies depending on the music genre and engineer, but in common, mixing is like building a house. In the first order of mixing, an engineer begins mixing by adjusting the level balance between instruments.
The first thing you need to do for level setting is to set up a rough level balance between instruments by properly raising all the channel faders in your mixing console. Next, start a detailed level setting of the foundational instruments in the music you are going to mix. For example, if the music you want to mix is rhythm-oriented music, you first set the level of bass guitar and drums and then set the vocals or the rest of the instruments.
Generally, most of professional engineers start with level setting of electric bass guitars; then mix kick drums to get rich bass sound. In this process, it is recommended that the sound of the kick drum should be thin because when the sound of the bass guitar and the kick drum are mixed together strong bass sound can be generated. Therefore, adjusting the level of the kick drum after the level setting of the bass guitar is a way to avoid excessive bass increase.
After the level setting of bass guitar and drums is over, the next thing you need to do is adjusting the level balance of the lead vocals; then mix the rest of the instruments. Many engineers go into level setting of lead vocals after finishing the level balance between instruments, which is not such a good way because it can make the entire level of music too loud or too soft. This is because there are many songs that the overall music level depends on the level of lead vocals.
Therefore, when you start level setting, the instruments you start vary depending on the genre of music. If the music you want to mix is dance music, for example, the kick drums will determine everything, so kick drum will be the clear starting point, but if the music you want to mix is classical orchestra music, then the sense of space without rhythm parts is important here, so string instruments such as violin and cello will be the starting point for level setting in this case. On the other hand, in jazz music, melody instruments such as piano or saxophone or rhythm instruments such as double bass may become the starting instrument.
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