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Rough Mix: The Most Important Part Of Mixing

Rough Mix The Most Important Part Of Mixing

Why the rough mix is the most important part of mixing?

The rough mix is a fundamental part of mixing a song. By mixing the tracks raw, you quickly get a feel for the track.

What Is A Rough or Pre-Mix?

A rough mix is a rough mix of the song. It is not important whether effects or other edits have been made. It is only important to get an overview of the recorded tracks and the arrangement. You get to know the song and roughly determine the mixing ratio.

This has the advantage that you have set a volume ratio for the signals once. This gives you a precise plan of which tracks are important for later mixing. And you don’t completely mess up the mix again and again. It’s a red thread!

For example, it is fatal to mix each track individually (of course, you should also listen to a track solo, but not each individually). By premixing you should not get into this situation, because you have already determined the overall sound to some extent.

The Pareto Principle In Mixing

The Pareto Principle states that in 20 percent of the work you create 80 percent of the result. And further it means that in 80% of the work you “only” tickle out the last 20% of the result. And it’s the same with the rough mix, in my opinion. With it you already get the first 80% out of the mix. After that, you take care of the fine details with compressors, equalizers and other effects devices.

A good premix takes practice and won’t be great the first time. Of course, you also have to rely on the recorded signals. If the recording quality is poor, you will not be satisfied with the rough mix.

How Much Time Should The Rough Mix Take?

My rule of thumb is: The time for the pre-mix should in no case be longer than twice the song length. Why is that? The reason is this: This phase of the mixing is solely intended to get to know the song. This is how you first notice the strengths but also the weaknesses of the song. If this process takes longer, you are already too busy with subtleties that will become relevant later in the mix. So don’t listen to the song more than twice in a row to mix it raw.

What Is A Premix?

For this, you only use faders and possibly the pan controls. Concentrate on the essentials. Which elements should be in the foreground and which in the background? Adjust the volume of the audio signals until you have the feeling that they are in a reasonable ratio. Do not use compressors, equalizers or other effects devices.

Furthermore, you should use the time to listen out the weaknesses of the song. Do signals sound muffled, sharp, or too mid-pitched? Ideally, you should note down a few points during this phase that you want to correct later on.

After you’ve adjusted the volumes, it’s time to go deeper into the mix and fine-tune.

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