This #MixingEnergy technique was born because I got so many questions from a newbie (from my country, Indonesia), about HOW TO set up the VOLUME BALANCE of each track in a song.
Previously, I answered them by saying that it can’t have exact rules because so many music styles and even in the same music genre, there are too many variables to consider: personal preference and taste, genre-specific balancing style, recording levels, arrangement, etc.
BUT, the more and more I dive down into this subject, I found a way to answer those newbie questions.
Watch this video to know my answer of this newbie question:
If you prefer to read than watch a video, continue reading…
What is MIXING ENERGY?
Basically, each sound/musical instrument/vocal in a song have certain energy that contributes to the overall song energy.
If you are familiar with VU Meter like this (it’s a freeware from TBProAudio):
If you look closely at the meter, the lower part of the needle is numbers like 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100. IT’S THE ENERGY OF A SOUND IN PERCENTAGE, NOT IN DECIBELS (the deciBels are the -20, -10, -7, etc above the needle)!
So how to measure the energy or the volume balance of the sound in a song?
For example, you want to know how Lead Vocal’s volume in Pop music.
Here are the steps:
- Pick the finished music that you’re satisfied with the mixing.
- Insert the VU meter in the Master Out / Stereo Out of your DAW’s virtual mixer.
- Find the heaviest energy section in your song. Usually, it’s the 3rd chorus or ending chorus or whatever your music arrangement is.
- Calibrate the VU meter so the needle stays more or less in the 0dB (or 100% energy) area.
- Solo that vocal track and see the VU Meter and write it down.
- Do this for other tracks too and write each of the track energy.
After you are done doing this, you will come up with a formula for how to balance each track in Pop music, according to YOUR taste!
For example, this is my #MixingEnergy formula for Pop music (It’s not precisely as in my above video because I adjust these from time to time):
|ALL DRUMS||→||35% – 40%|
|ALL VOCALS||→||80 – 90%|
|ALL BACKING VOC||50%|
|ALL GUITARS||→||60% – 70%|
|DIST GUITAR RHYTHM||30%|
|ALL STRINGS||→||30% – 40%|
|VIOLIN 1 & 2||30%|
Notes of the above table:
- Measured at the dense music arrangement, usually after the 2nd Chorus or last Chorus.
- The Sum of the Group’s energy usually is NOT correlated with its individual energy
Next time I’m mixing, I will be fast in volume balancing because I don’t have to listen to each track and play the song over and over. I just insert a VU Meter and match the energy from the table above!
Of course, you have to have your own #MixingEnergy formula because it’s your music. Once you find the formula, I can guarantee you that the process of volume balancing will be faster than you usually spend.
Because of this, I can volume balancing a song WITHOUT EVEN LISTENING TO IT! I’m exaggerating this but I hope you get my point!
And by combining this technique with GAIN STAGING technique, you can mixing a song faster than everybody else.
That’s it! If you have something to add, please comment below or comment in the video.
Please watch other videos on my channel AgusHardimanTV
Keep making great music!