Mixing the mid range – the elements that matter the most
Mixing all the midrange stuff can be either a piece of cake, or a helluva challenge. It all comes down to several skills and circumstances. One of them is arrangement, of course. It’s best not to crowd the mid range with multiple instruments going on at the same time. Especially with sustained ones, playing in legato. We discussed it previously. We either have a good arrangement (or we can at least change a bad one, if it’s our own music), or we don’t have control over it at all. In either cases, we have to find (or create) some kind of balance in the mix. Something that sounds good without mud or empty spaces. Let’s see what we can do to mix the mids properly.
Give the mid range justice, man
Let it do what it does the best: It might sound self explanatory, but when we are in the middle of mixing stuff, reality is not always that simple. We have to make sure that the mid range instruments don’t overlap with the low end. That would result in masking, and we would end up boosting the bass and kick higher. That would not only create the dreaded mud, but it would also kill most of our precious headroom. It’s also useful to check the high end, and roll it off of most elements. At least ones that don’t need to be in the spotlight, so to say. And believe me, most of them don’t need to be up front all the way through the song. Doing so will prevent us from having a harsh cacophony in the treble.
Mixing by authority
Elect your leader: Yup. When mixing elements in the central region of the frequency range, setting the levels right is crucial. We have to make decisions, and always pick one element that takes the lead. One element. The rest of them need to sit below that level. Once we have the leading instrument, we can use the rest of the midrange sounds to create the desired level of glue. We can earn bonus points for automating the whole thing with changing the leader momentarily. It highlights the arrangement with creating extra movement Surprise is our friend.
EQ can fix your midrange issues
Cut ‘er balls: Mixing mid range stuff can easily turn into a nightmare. It happens when the arrangement is too dense and many things play at the same time in the same (or close) octaves. What can we do? We can EQ out both low mids and high mids. At least from the glue elements. This will save us from a good amount of tacky mud.