The basic focus of a mix should be on the balance of the music. Whether you are an engineer or a producer, mixing is a vital part of the song process. A good mix can make or break your song. Here are a few tips that I have learned from audio engineering school:
1. When mixing it’s helpful to group instruments by type.
2. Mixing your song at a very low or loud volume can lead to a bad mix.
3. Listen to your mix on different speakers. A good mix should translate well in the car, on your computer, etc.
4. Most of the time its best to place the bass instruments in the center of your mix.
5. A way to calculate the ‘beats per second’ of a song is to count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4. (not really a “mixing” tip but its good to know)
6. When mixing, always keep your master fader at 0 dB / unity gain.
7. Avoid clipping in your final mix. Clipping is a form of distortion which can make your song sound not so great.
8. A good EQ method for fitting instruments together in a mix is notching frequencies. A “notch” at specific frequency can be used in subtractive EQing (ex. to remove an unwanted ringing tom sound) or in additive EQing (ex. to make a vocal with a telephone sound).
9. Allow instruments to have their own “space” in the frequency spectrum by using panning knobs and faders.
10. Roll off some of the low end of your kick (but not too much). This will help your kick have presence in the mix but if you roll off too much it will loose its impact.