The process of turning the parts that you’ve recorded and programmed into a complete mix is fun, creative and hugely enjoyable, but it’s often done with the assumption that when mixing, you’re always creating the final version of a project before mastering.
However, there are certain tricks that can help add extra sonic interest to a track which can be performed much more easily once a stereo bounce of the track has been created.
The tutorial below will take you through some of these, and in doing so will endeavour to show you that your ‘finished’ mix needn’t necessarily be your final version.
For instance, if you wanted to create a stutter edit in your unmixed project that affected every sound in your track, this would be hugely fiddly work. You’d have to chop and repeat all of your audio files and then do the same thing, separately, with the MIDI parts, perhaps adjusting note lengths for multiple files at the same time to achieve the right result.
Once your mix is bounced to stereo, however, nothing could be simpler, as all of the combined files are rendered ‘as one’ and chopping this single audio file to create the stutter edit takes a fraction of the time.
Similarly, if you decide that you want to treat all the sounds in your project to a shared filter treatment or whole-track effect, setting up multiple versions of the same plug-in on every track of your mix arrangement (or sending sounds to buses so that the effect can work simultaneously on every sound) will require a mountain of rerouting and complex automation.
Again, though, with a single stereo file, all you need to do is chop it up, assign the relevant section to another track and apply the effect you want for as long as you like.
There are several other processes that are similarly easier to carry out once your mix file has been created, including reversing and record stop effects, which we’ll explore in the following walkthrough.
Remember, it’s never too late to use extra creative elements to add interest to your tracks, so it’s always helpful to consider the mix stage as a step towards completion rather than the final result.
For a complete guide to improving your mixes, check out Computer Music Special 54: Make Over Your Mix, which is on sale now.