Mixing a song - where to start?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Littlewing91, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Littlewing91

    Littlewing91 Guest

    Hey everyone, i am new here so please pardon me if this isnt really the place for these questions but im desperately in need of help so any advice is greatly appreciated. I just finished writing and recording all the instrumental parts of a new electronica/indie song (think postal service or crystal castles if thats any help for reference). All the instruments, including drums are MIDI samples and there are no actual audio recordings. I have so far been using garageband as I know the program inside out (i know, its painfully simple). Nonetheless, I am now faced with two problems:

    1. I need to record vocals, i have a rode NT1a and a line6 toneport interface. Im using gearbox (the software that comes with it) to set up the preamp of sorts (i guess?) anyways i dont know how loud i should be recording it. there is a mic gain control on the interface as well as a gain and volume control on gearbox, how loud should the recording be peaking at?

    2.I am unsure of how to mix my song, as i have set all my levels in accordance to each other but the overall mix volume is "maxing out" (going into the red zone) and i dont know how to fix this, how should i go about mixing, do you set one instrument to a designated level and mix around it? Any advice or even links good websites is appreciated.

    Im sorry for the bother but this is a new experience for me (Ive never had a song ive liked enough to care about this kind of stuff!) and im hoping someone can help a newbie out!

  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Gain structure: you should be recording loud enough so that the peaks during the loudest parts of the song (on that track) are around -6dB. [Gain Structure]

    If your main is going into the red zone, and sounds like it's distorting, turn all the tracks down, by the same amount.

    Personally I find mixing is a multiple-pass solution. Run over it, run over it again, run over it again and again. [Not applicable to driving]
  3. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Once you've got gain structure down (thanks Monkey), and you've listened to the passes multiple times and feel like you're chasing your tail, walk away from it for a while - sleep on it and listen with fresh ears.

    To answer the title of your post:
    I like to get a cohesive mix on the drums first, then add bass and any other perc...
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "I like to get a cohesive mix on the drums first, then add bass and any other perc..."

    Interesting. I feel like my mixes these days have been falling apart in the main, but the drum sound is getting better. And I'm starting to be able to hear the bass guitar in other songs too. Maybe in a few months I'll have the singers balanced again...
    Of course, that'll be when the drum sound and the monitor mixes fall apart again. :lol:

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