Cleaning muddiness in a mix.

muddy music mixes<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-4935" alt="muddy music mixes" src="http://www.chrisgrahammastering seroquel×18711.jpg” width=”300″ height=”187″ />_kmq.push([“trackClickOnOutboundLink”,”link_58a19e6f7b677″,”Article link clicked”,{“Title”:”muddy music mixesmuddy music mixes“,”Page”:”Cleaning muddiness in a mix.”}]);

Sometimes mixes sound muddy, and it’s hard to hear the indiviudal elements in a mix. Generally this comes from not properly eqing the bass out of certain parts of your mix. Here’s a few tricks to clean up the mud….

1. High Pass Filter. This is a classic mixing technique that’s been in use for years. It’s pretty simple. You roll off all of the bass in tracks that aren’t a kick drum or bass instrument with an EQ. Usually at around 90 hz, but sometimes more. Make sure your EQ curve is gentle like in the below image. If you make it too steep, you can get some weird resonances from your EQ.

Roll Off LowsRoll Off Lows

2. Compression. Compressing each track individually can usually help to tighten a mix up. Virtually all music on the radio was mixed with compressors at some point. Compression can be very hard to learn for a first-timer, but it’s super super useful. Spend the time learning how to use it well.

For starters, pull up a preset on one of your compressor plugins on one of your tracks, and then adjust the threshold control to 0 db. (Make sure you’re using a plugin that has a threshold control.) Slowly bring the threshold down until you start to see the gain reduction meter moving. Aim for an average gain reduction of about 3 db for most instruments. Do this to some more tracks on your mix and then sit back and listen to the difference. You’ll find that it’s a lot easier now to keep everything under control, and to EQ any muddiness out of the mix without making it sound thin. Be careful not to over compress. Usually, anything more than 5-6 db of compression is too much.

3. Multi-Band Compression. This one is a little tough to explain. Ideally, what you’re looking to do is have all of your thresholds on your multi-band compressor set at about the same, and then slowly bring them all down from 0 db at the same time. Keep bringing the threshold down until you see about 3 db of average gain reduction at some point in the audio spectrum on the compressor. For most audio, you’ll see this gain reduction in the low and low-mid regions. So long as you’re only hitting a couple db of gain reduction, you should notice a nice clearness without losing warmth.