Midrange Mixing: Fix Your Mix in 4 Simple Steps

Midrange Mixing (Fix Your Mix in 4 Simple Steps)

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Have you ever finished a mix that sounds fantastic on your studio monitors and headphones, only to be disappointed by how it translates to other listening devices like your phone? This common frustration among music producers often stems from neglecting an essential part of the sound spectrum: the midrange. In this post, you’ll learn the importance of midrange in mixing, common pitfalls, and a step-by-step approach to ensure your mix sounds great across all playback systems.

►► Don’t forget to download my 30 Essential EDM Mixing Tips by clicking here. ◄◄



Understanding the Importance of Midrange

Midrange, defined roughly as the frequencies between 300 Hz and 4 kHz, is critical for several reasons:

  1. Human Hearing Sensitivity: Our ears are most sensitive to this range, making it crucial for perceived sound quality.
  2. Instrument Presence: Most musical instruments have significant energy in the midrange, requiring careful balance to ensure clarity.
  3. Playback Universality: Unlike the extreme lows and highs, all playback systems reproduce the midrange, making it the common denominator in listener experiences.

Common Mistakes in Mixing

Focusing too heavily on the bass and treble can lead to mixes that are either too boomy or too harsh, respectively. These mixes might impress in a studio environment but fail to translate well to other listening contexts.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Midrange Mixing

Initial Setup (Step 1)

  • Reference Tracks: First, start by selecting a reference track in the same genre. Bring it into your DAW, and reduce the volume by 12dB (this is so when we use it to mix, we don’t run into clipping on the master channel). This will help maintain objectivity and provide a sonic benchmark.
  • BONUS TIP: DAW Setup: Ensure your project is organized, with tracks clearly labeled and routed appropriately. Use a utility plugin to adjust the reference track’s level to match your mix.

Focusing on the Midrange (Step 2)

  • Tools for Midrange Emphasis: Secondly, use EQ to isolate the midrange by applying high-pass and low-pass filters. Put an EQ plugin on the master channel, and roll-off the frequencies below 300 Hz and above 4 kHz, with an 18dB curve. This is your midrange filter.

  • BONUS TIP: Mono Mixing: Switching your mix to mono can help focus on balancing elements without the distraction of the stereo field.

Mixing Process (Step 3)

  • Kick and Bass: Now for the mix! Start by setting your kick drum level to peak around -12 dB, then mix in the bass line, ensuring they complement each other without overpowering the midrange (here’s how you can balance your kick and bass).
  • Addition of Instruments: Gradually introduce other instruments, prioritizing their importance in the mix (use the solo function sparingly to focus on how each element contributes to the overall balance).
  • Use of EQ and Mono Switching: Regularly switch between mono and stereo and engage/disengage your midrange EQ to maintain perspective on the full frequency spectrum.

Final Tweaks and Comparison (Step 4)

  • Reference Track Comparison: Continuously refer back to your reference track, adjusting levels and EQ settings to match the energy and balance.
  • Full Frequency Mix: Finally – once satisfied with the midrange balance – widen your focus to include the full frequency range, ensuring that your mix translates well across various playback systems.

Conclusion

Midrange mixing is a critical skill for producing music that sounds great on any system. By focusing on the midrange, using reference tracks, and methodically adding elements, you can achieve a balanced, powerful mix. Remember, mixing is as much an art as it is a science—experimentation and critical listening are key.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Are you planning to apply these midrange mixing techniques to your next project? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, and let’s improve our mixing skills together!

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About the Author

My name's Will Darling. I've been making and playing dance music for over 25 years, and share what I've learnt on EDM Tips. Get in touch on Facebook.

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