Mixing Tips – Just Hit Mute, Mixing with Protools and Other Digital Audio Workstations

One of the best tricks you can learn when developing you mixing skills is how to use the MUTE button. The mute button on your mixer or DAWS virtual mixer should be used for two main purposes.

The first and most important one is silencing unwanted noise from in between section in your tracks. For example if your recorded all three verse in one take straight through to the end there is probably some noise during in the background during the chorus where the action takes place on another track or tracks. You should use your mute button during this section so unwanted noise is not heard underneath everything The most common noises you’ll get rid of are things like some one breathing, a note book page of rhymes being turned or better yet the under lying tone of the room that starts build up as your track count increases. Using the automation of your DAW is essential to this step. Alternately you could edit out noise manually or try using a noise gate but right now the MUTE button is the star so show it some love. Using the automated mutes also makes it look cool when your mixes play back every one will thing you a pro engineer.

The other secret and mysterious power of the mute button is using it to sculpt the arrangement of your track. Use the mute button to turn of sounds during sections of a track. Every instrument in a beat or song doesn’t need to play the entire way through the track. Use the mute button to create breaks in the drum patterns or open up sections of the song. Doing this will help add interest to your mix and bring out the form of the song. Maybe if you just came out of a heavy section of a song like the chorus you could mute out a few instruments at the beginning of the verse so they dynamics of the track change and contrast a bit. Then as the verse continues slowly add instruments back in building back up to the chorus. The possibilities of what you can do with your beats and songs in endless and so are the amount of interest it will add to your mix.

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