How to Mix Music on a Computer

by David Thyberg

Learning how to mix music on a computer is key for producers and recording engineers in any genre. Mixing a musical arrangement is the final step in production where you polish out any snags and adjust the sound to achieve optimum levels. Anyone in the music industry will tell you that mixing a song is crucial if you want to get a professional sound. Hiring studio personnel to mix your music project often costs a lot of money. Mix the project on your own with computer software such as Pro Tools, GarageBand or Magix Music Maker. You'll save some cash and learn a valuable skill that you can implement on future projects.

Set up your computer in a quiet place where no background noise will bother you. Open the music file in your computer program and bring up the mixing tool. Turn the faders on your music mixing program to zero. Use a pair of sound-proof headphones to listen to your raw musical arrangement once or twice through to get a feel for the levels and where edits can be made.

Use whatever cut-crop tool your program has to delete any clicks, pops or unwanted noise from each track of the song. Be careful not to delete any important pieces or reposition any of the tracks you are editing.

Mix the drum track first. Pan the drums straight down the middle and adjust the volume to a moderate level that suits your tastes. You have the option of adding reverb or compression to the drums. Experiment to find a sound that you like.

Mix the melody tracks next. Achieve a fuller sound by creating duplicates of primary melody tracks and panning one to the left and the other to the right. Adjust the volume level so that nothing is overpowering, and you can hear each instrument or sample clearly in the mix.

Compress your vocals to get rid of the flat sound from the original recording. You can tinker with the equalizer levels or add reverb to boost the fullness of the vocals on the track. Pan lead vocals down the middle at a slightly higher volume. Pan duplicate backup tracks at a lower volume to both the left and right so that the backup vocals surround the lead in the mix. Add any additional effects where necessary. Adjust the collective volume of the entire mix using the master equalizer. Your arrangement is now mixed and ready to go.

Tip

  • check Be patient while mixing. It will take many runs through the entire song to pick out areas where edits can be made. The more time you invest, the better your arrangement will sound.

Warning

  • close Save your work frequently to avoid losing edits if the program crashes or you accidentally change something that cannot be retrieved.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.