How to mix songs together for a dance
Mixing Dance Music - A Comprehensive Guide To Nailing Your Mixdowns Every Time!
Getting the perfect mixdown can be a tricky task for even the most seasoned of producers and mix engineers.
So whether you’re a pro or just starting out, this article is here to deliver a quick and easy step-by-step guide to ensure your mixing is up to a high standard.
We here at Studio Slave understand that there are literally hundreds of self-help sources and articles teaching a wide range of mixing techniques, however, what most producers struggle with, is putting it all together. You might understand complimentary EQ and Parallel compression, but there’s no point having the building blocks if you don’t know how to build a house!
So to that end, Here it is, our step-by-step guide to the mixing process…
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO THE MIX PROCESS
We have written this article in a checklist style format. Feel free to print it off and stick it somewhere useful so you have something to refer to whilst mixing. This is a brilliant way of getting positive, realistic outcomes!
A quick couple of points to mention is that as previously mentioned, we have written this as a linear step-by-step guide to getting your from an unmixed track to a finished mix-down.
In reality, mixing is far from linear. Once you get better at mixing you will find a workflow that works for you, and often find yourself jumping back and forth from one task to another. For the new guys amongst you, stick to our guide until you feel safe to try your own methods. Our guide has been written in this particular order because it works!
“Remember, mixing electronic music is fun. Learn the rules then break them. always use your ears!”
Treat Your Room Acoustics
Before we dive head first into the nitty gritty stuff, we need to tackle the things outside of the DAW (digital audio workstation).
Namely, your ears and your room.
Room acoustics is one of those things that always seems to be last on producers to do list when in reality it should be one of the main priorities before buying any new plugins or hardware. But why?
Every single decision you make is based on the sound that travels out your speakers, around your room, and into your ears. So considering that treating your room acoustics is fairly cheap to do, there really is no excuse for not doing it. Plus, its the most logical thing to improve between your ears and the speakers.
If you would like to learn more about setting up your room and speaker placement, check out this article.
We can guarantee that once your room is treated, you’ll notice a vast improvement in your mixing abilities.
A room can cost as little as £50 – £100 to treat if you do it yourself, and without going too deep into acoustics, the reason it’s so important is to do with how sounds bounce around in a room, either reflecting, absorbing or diffusing. The most troublesome frequencies are the lower ones below 300Hz as they can tend to cumulatively add up or cancel each other out altogether!
If your room is sounding really bad then you may have multiple frequencies that cancel out. These are known as room modes or standing waves, and can cause you to make drastic EQ changes on parts that don’t require them at all!
If you would like to learn more about monitoring and how to treat your room, check out this youtube video that explains it all in good detail!
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Now that we have got the boring stuff out the way, let’s dive into the mixing process!
SET YOUR MONITORING LEVELS
Set your monitoring levels so you can still talk at a conversational level over the mix. The only times you should turn up the levels are:
- At the end of the day
- before having an extended break
- to check the low-end balance
Other than these occasions there is very little reason to need to have the level any louder, all this will serve to do is fatigue your ears and potentially contribute to hearing loss. It has been proven that the human ear is much better at being able to balance parts at quieter levels anyway. Louder listening levels trick the brain into thinking there is more bass and treble than there actually is, which makes the track feel louder. To be specific, the ideal listening level is 83dB SPL. If you want to know more about this then check out this very useful explanation of Bob Katz K system.
To learn more about using Psychoacoustics to get more out of your mixdown, check out this article:
StudioSlaves guide to Psychoacoustics
LISTEN TO THE REFERENCE TRACKS
If you supply a rough mix of any given track to 10 different mix engineers, It is highly likely that you will receive a very wide variation of final mixes back. – This is because each mix engineer hears differently, or subconsciously imparts their own mixing style on the track.
In most cases, we can assume you will be mixing your own music. So you know exactly what direction you will be taking the mix-down in. If however, you are mixing someone else’s music, then always have an unmixed version of the track at hand in your DAW that can be referenced to ensure you are staying on the right track. This also gives you the opportunity to listen to parts of the track which may be worth accentuating, or possibly even searching for the parts that may be sloppy from the recording process that you may wish to rectify later on.
It’s common practice to import one or two tracks alongside your project in the DAW, these need to be well produced and mixed tracks that are in the same genre as the track you are producing.
Always refer back to these tracks when making comparative mix decisions. They will tell you a lot about the balance, tonality, width, and dynamics of your track.
Why are they so important I hear you say? Well, think of these reference tracks as your compass. It can be very easy for your ears to get fatigued when mixing for long periods, causing you to ‘drift off course’. These references are there for making objective comparisons.
Us humans work predominantly on relativity. If we have nothing to compare our own project to, then, of course, we are going to lose track and inevitably end up with a car crash of a mix-down.
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”
Whilst it is extremely helpful to segregate the separate production phases such as production, mixing and mastering. It’s equally important to prepare yourself for the mix stage from the very second you open your DAW.
Things that may seem irrelevant actually have an extreme knock-on effect by the time it comes to the mix stage, such as:
Key signature & Choice of notes
These may seem trivial but bad or clashing samples can make a project almost impossible to mix right from the get-go.
Arranging can be used to your advantage to give each element in your mix its own space and bit of limelight at certain times within the track. This can significantly reduce issues with loudness and muddiness as parts fight for space.
To learn more about mix preparation, check out our Mix Fundamentals & Preparation eBook
Using arrangement to allow each instrument to have its own space and to create a sense of energy using tension and resolution.
Another example of a common mistake, is working in a key such as G minor, and placing every single element on that root key of G.
Not only does this make for a boring track but it also means that all your parts will be stacking up on the frequencies that relate to G and their harmonics. knowing how to spread your instruments out evenly across the frequency spectrum is a skill that acquires a lot of practice. However, once this is mastered you will be well on the way to getting mixes which are clear and loud!
Now that we have mentioned some of the production prep stuff, let’s mention some of the technical and workflow preparation.
Getting your DAW project organised at the start of the mixing phase will allow you to shut off the technical side of your brain, this, in turn, is proven to help you be more creative, as you are no longer getting bogged down with mundane tasks such as colour coding or ordering tracks.
Heres’ a list of important things to do for the mix preparation stage:
- Remove any unused or unwanted tracks
- Rename all tracks
- Colour code tracks
- Order tracks
- Remove silence from any clips
- Setup any routing, groups, buses & FX returns
- HPF everything
We have kept this section pretty vague because we go into great detail into mix preparation in our new Tech House 2017 course.
To keep it short, gain staging is the act of ensuring that the levels of your parts are correct at every stage of the mixdown process. This was essential for hardware to ensure there was a good signal to noise ratio. It’s less important now with digital audio but you still need to be mindful to leave plenty of headroom to avoid digital distortion.
The rules are simple, Never clip your meters at any stage and you are unlikely to have any problems with digital distortion.
The second reason for gain staging properly is that some VST plugins have been designed to very closely emulate their hardware counterparts. This means they will have an optimum voltage where the plugin works best (+4dBu or 0VU for hardware).
By ramming a high gain level into a plugin, you are forcing it to crunch numbers that it isn’t capable of crunching properly, thus causing distortion or unwanted artifacts.
So, you have been warned. Gain staging is very simple to do if you are aware of it from the start. However, ignoring it will result in mixes that will lack clarity and may show signs of audible distortion.
THE ART OF BALANCING
Balancing is one of the single most fundamental concepts for mixing a track. It only takes one or two instruments to be out of whack and it can make or break the record. Almost all the other aspects of mixing will relate to how the track is balanced in some shape or form.
The fader balance – this is the balance of each track against one another
EQ, or tonal balance – If the ‘fader balance’ is controlling all of the projects individual channel faders relative to one another, the tonal balance can be thought of as lots of miniature faders, each controlling different frequencies of a single track. It’s the microscopic version of your fader balance and allows you to control all the frequencies that make up the tone of a sound relative to one another.
A good way of understanding this concept is by looking at a graphic equaliser. These hardware units usually have up to 30 faders, each hard-wired to a set frequency which can be used to adjust the tonal balance of a sound.
Compression – This is a tool that can help us control the dynamics of a track. some parts may have a transient hit which is some magnitude louder than the sustain portion. Compression can help us even that out and find a more comfortable static level for our part.
So in the case of compression being used as a balance tool, we are using compression to reduce the difference between the attack and sustain portion of the sound. Yes, yet another form of balance!
being able to hear the nuances of a sound and understanding what needs to be done to achieve a good balance takes a long time to get good at. but my advice to you is to do as much work as you can first with nothing but your channel faders. Only once you have exhausted all your options with the faders should you move to other things such as panning, EQ, and compressors.
If you are new to mixing, all these extra devices and concepts will only serve to confuse you before you are ready to learn them. We guarantee that with a little bit of time and effort you will be able to get the majority of the balancing done with nothing more than your faders, some patience, and a good set of ears.
A quick tip with balancing is to set a level for the most important part first, then work all of the other parts levels around this part in priority order. once again this goes back to what we said about comparisons and relativity earlier. This method is a good way to prevent you from chasing your tail and ending up with a lot of digitally clipped tracks and sore ears.
Balancing really is a massive subject in itself, which can’t possibly be covered in a few paragraphs. Check out these articles for tips and techniques on achieving a good balance.
The Pink Noise Mix Balance Technique Explained
Balancing In Mono
Striking The Perfect Balance – Static Fader Levels
Also, check out our eBook series which looks at all aspects of the mix in much more detail.
Panning gives you a chance to create a bit of space in the mix at a fairly early stage and allows you to start to build your track visually across the horizontal width of your track also known as the stereo spectrum or stereo image.
Much of panning is down to your creativity but a few top tips are:
Keep things balanced – if you pan something hard left, then look for a similar sound to pan hard right. this will prevent your mix sounding lopsided
keep like instruments apart like naughty children – Parts with a similar frequency spectrum will clash if they are played at the same time in the same area of the spectrum (such as straight down the middle) and parts that clash will very quickly muddy up your carefully balanced mix. Avoid this by panning these parts in separate directions. This doesn’t have to be hard pan positions, just enough to give them each space and separation they deserve.
keep your power elements central – parts such as the kick, snare/clap, lead vocal and bass are best kept in the centre of the mix where their energy can be equally distributed between the two speaker cones for maximum power and effect. This also keeps the stereo image nicely balanced.
Higher parts can be panned more than lower parts because phasing becomes less of an issue as we go higher up the frequency spectrum. So hi-hats and high-end percussion can be panned fairly hard. whereas stuff below around 2-300Hz such as bass parts are best kept in the centre of the mix.
Bass parts being in the centre is not only important to reduce phasing, but also because we want our bass to be big, bad and powerful. so it must be central for this to happen. Finally, the human ear is very bad at being able to spatially locate bass parts anyway, so doing fancy panning on low instruments is unlikely to be noticed.
For more information on panning check this article out.
Now that we have our track nicely balanced using the faders, we can now go into the individual tracks and start to make some tonal balancing decisions. This can be broken down into a few smaller stages.
To achieve a loud and clear mix the first stage is to remove any parts that don’t contribute to the sound or tone you desire.
BAND PASS FILTER EVERYTHING – AKA BRACKETING
If you haven’t done this at the mix preparation phase, then now is the time to remove anything that doesn’t need to be there. If you’re already fairly mix savvy you may be wondering why this stage is named band pass filtering instead of high-pass filtering?
The reason that we high pass filter everything is to remove any cumulative low end rumbly noises which only serve to muddy up our mix and take up valuable space. So with that in mind, the exact same concept should apply to the high end.
If you have a part which has an excessive high end, then get rid of it and save this airiness for more important parts such as hats, reverb tails and cymbals.
A prime suspect for this issue are parts such as buzzy electric guitars. Sometimes they may have a whole load of static or white noise above a certain frequency, which doesn’t contribute to the sound other than to waste headroom.
Choose your filter slopes wisely as they can drastically effect the sound of the signal. Also try to refrain from making the newcomers mistake of high pass filtering the life and soul out of your track.
Alternatives to HPF AND LPFs (high and low pass filters) are shelving filters, which can achieve similar results in a slightly more subtle way.
At this point you’ve balanced, panned and band-pass filtered any tracks that require it, but some of your elements are still sounding a little bit lumpy, all over the place and on top of one another. This can be sorted using subtractive EQ.
This is the bulk of the EQ phase where you are essentially just adjusting all of those micro faders we mentioned earlier. This needs to be done for each and every track in the mix, not to make each sound as big as possible, but to get each sound balanced and to sit well together in harmony!
doing this will help your tracks gain clarity. especially parts such as vocals which will sit more comfortably in the mix and become more intelligible once they are EQed.
Tonal balances can also be improved by reducing any resonances within a recording or sample. Think of a resonance as a lump that is awkwardly sticking out of your nice balance. simply use EQ to knock it back down into place.
TIP – Just because something is resonating doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be cut. If you decide to cut it, don’t assume you need to hack at it with a butcher’s knife. sometimes a cut of a few dBs (decibels) is all that’s required.
The most important area for subtractive EQ is the low mids (around 120 – 500Hz) as this is the area where almost every instrument will be present, be it the fundamental frequency or its harmonics.
Here are some problematic EQ ranges and what you can expect to listen out for:
- 0Hz to 80Hz = Sub, bass, boom and rumble
- 80Hz to 250Hz = Bass boom and boxiness
- 250Hz to 500Hz = Muddiness and boxiness
- 500Hz to 900Hz = Honky or nasal
This chart shouldn’t be taken for gospel because everyone hears differently. However, these problem areas are widely agreed upon by experts within the electronic music industry.
For more info on EQ check out our articles & ebooks.
EQ Fundamentals Understanding Sound
Mixing In Live – Equalisation
Compression is a mammoth subject. And can get very complicated because it can be used to achieve a vast array of very different results such as:
Reduce the dynamic range – loud parts compared to quieter parts
Make parts sound louder – either by increasing the sustain portion of a signal or by increasing the RMS of a signal with parallel or standard compression
Even out a performance – make a drummer or vocalists notes of a more consistent level
Control the dynamics of a part – make the attack or sustain either louder or quieter
Make parts groove to the beat – side-chain compression
Make a group of parts sound more coherent – glue compression
Stop signals going above a certain threshold – limiting and brick wall compression
Some, or potentially even all of these types of compression could be implemented into a single mix. so you can begin to see why it is such a confusing subject for a new producer. To add to the confusion there’s also a multitude of saturation, distortion, and tonal characteristics that certain vintage compressors are famous for.
If you would like to learn about different types of compressors, and uses of compression then check out these articles.
Multiband Dynamics Explained
Or alternatively, check out our Ebook covering compression.
Whilst subtractive EQ is commonly used to get rid of problematic frequencies, additive EQ can be used to highlight the nice parts of your mix.
At this stage, you should have a good idea of where the good tonal areas are of each sound. For example, if you have a piano sample you should know which areas to boost to make it sound more “piano’ey”.
Likewise, If you have vocals you should sweep a peaking filter through the spectrum and you will hear parts that may become present, crisp and warm – these are the areas worth boosting.
Additive plugin EQ’s are generally models of older hardware vintage EQs. This is because the analog circuitry has a more exciting and musical sound to it. Many EQ’s will impart a distinctive tone or colour on a sound. Which is why EQ’s such as Neve, Manley and Pultec EQs are so highly sought after.
Try not to go too overboard here. It’s very easy to get carried away so keep the boosts gentle and use wider, more natural Q settings. Don’t accidentally unbalance the mix at this late stage in the game.
Many of you will work on the ‘space and depth’ of your track during the production phase, using devices such as reverbs and delays.
This space & depth phase is here just to remind you to re-address your settings, particularly on devices such as reverbs.
Whilst in the production phase you may have quickly grabbed the first reverb preset you tried, just so you could quickly get an idea down. This reverb may no longer work now that all the rest of the parts are in the mix.
You have two main choices at this stage, you can either salvage the situation and tweak the spatial effects you are already using, or, in most cases, I suggest starting from scratch now that your decisions will be more informed with all of the elements present in the mix.
Reverb strategies are covered at length in our reverb and depth ebook, but to get you started here’s some ideas:
Use three reverbs – one small reverb for percussion parts and to create a glued drum room, one larger one to create some distance, and a final one for special effects or splashes.
Use a single reverb – this emulates how older studios only had a single hardware reverb unit to work with, so it would get used on nearly all the parts of the track. This can help to cement a certain level of coherence but the danger of doing this is that the same reverb can quickly cause your parts to lose their sense of separation and form into one muddy mess if you don’t EQ everything carefully.
Use multiple reverbs for set tasks: Have a small reverb set up with minimal tone. this is the blending reverb for gluing parts together. A second reverb can be used for creating sustain and tone, plates are brilliant for this because they are very dense. Finally, a third reverb can be used for space & size, such as a large hall.
Don’t use reverb at all: If you have a mix which is already very busy, then use a tight set of delays as your reverb instead. they can get the job done just as well without taking up half as much space in the mix.
SATURATION & DISTORTION
Many people disregard distortion as something that is only relevant for rock producers to use on guitars. Saturation and distortion are something I use on the majority of my tracks within a project. It can be used mildly, just to help things pop out a bit if they feel a bit bland, or on the other hand, amps, pedals, cabinets and overdrive devices can be used to absolutely obliterate a signal from all recognition.
These effects really do come down to your creativity but as long as you understand that distortion will add harmonics and generally brighten things up, then you can figure out when and where it may come in use in a mixing environment.
This stage is where a lot of the technicalities go out the window. The goal here is to liven up your parts and give them a bit of uniqueness, motion, and character. Common effects for this sort of task are:
The only thing that really needs to be said on this section is that it’s vital to spend plenty of time experimenting, break all the rules and to be truly unique, try to create an FX combination or sound that hasn’t been heard before.
A caveat to this is to remember that some devices will cause collateral damage in the form of side effects. For example, a chorus may make a sound really wide and give it some subtle modulation, but it will also cause it to lose focus and have a much softer attack transient. This may be the effect you are going for, but is something to always bear in mind. There are many single devices that can achieve multiple results.
Sometimes referred to as playing the mix. The concept is simple, Your track is 6 minutes long; yet you have mixed the entire track using an 8 bar section.
Tracks are not 8 bar sections, they are supposed to flow and sound organic. This is achieved by keeping things moving between sections and constantly ensuring your track is evolving.
As each section of the arrangement is played instruments will come and go from the mix. This is where you can choose to highlight them or pull them back a bit. making the most out of the potential loudness of any given section and also creating something that’s much more interesting to listen to than a static mix.
This is the stage where the project should be exported down to a single stereo track then sent to a professional mastering engineer to give it that extra 10% and get it commercially loud as ****!
Recently this is happening less and less. Producers and mix engineers are choosing to master their own tracks. Whether they are for labels, club play or SoundCloud, there’s one or two things you will need to bear in mind:
If you’re doing this for a streaming service such as iTunes or Beatport you may wish to check the normalisation. Otherwise your super loud track with no dynamics will end up being turned down by the streaming service. resulting in a quiet track with no dynamics (not cool)
Once you have an idea of the loudness you want to achieve, a basic mastering chain can be thought of as a condensed down version of the mix stage, however, its only being performed on a single track and the adjustments are much more gentle.
Here’s a very simple mastering chain which should make your mix that little bit better.
To control the input gain. If you have gain staged properly up till this point you probably won’t need this plugin. A good mix-down should have maximum peaks of around -6dBs, allowing 6dBs of headroom to play with during mastering.
This is usually very gentle. standard practice for stereo width in a mastering situation is to push up the sides of the mix by a few dBs to make it sound wider and to make sure everything below around 150 – 200Hz is in mono.
EQ: This is the last chance saloon for any minor tonal balance changes. a standard thing to do here is to pull out a dB or so around 300Hz and to push up around 100Hz and 10KHz to create the upward down smiley face EQ shape which gives the psychoacoustic impression of sounding louder and clearer. For the more experienced guys, research into mid-side EQ and plugins such as Brainworx which are absolute game changers for mid-side mixing and mastering.
Compression: This is used as a final stage of very gentle mix glue. long attacks of 30ms and above and low ratios are common.
Limiting: The aim of the game here is to get your track peaking as close to 0 dBFS as possible. Remember that when you limit a signal you are going to be doing it at the cost of dynamic range which carries a lot of the `bounce’, ‘groove’ or ‘energy’ or a track. So think carefully when you have to weigh up the Loudness Versus Dynamics ultimatum.
Loudness may sound better at first but after a few listens it is very often the case that your ears will begin to fatigue and you will favour the more dynamic version.
So that is the entire mix process. I imagine a few of you may have read this article with a bit of a puzzled look on your faces.
DO NOT WORRY!
Mixing takes a long time to learn, some people’s ears take a while to develop, but one thing is for sure – all the blog reading and knowledge in the world isn’t going to make you a better mix engineer without a lot of practice.
I really can’t stress this enough. Get as much practice as you possibly can, even if it means offering to mix your friends tracks for them. The more time spent mixing, the more you will be able to experiment with different mix concepts and train your ears.
If you found this article useful then check out our latest course – Tech House Tutorial 17. This course takes you from a blank canvas to a finished Tech House track over the course of 59 videos, and also includes the project and sample files..
For an instant 10% discount for the Tech House Tutorial 2017 course or any of the other products mentioned in this post, simply spread the love by sharing this blog using the button at the bottom of the screen. You will receive your discount coupon as soon as the share button is pressed.
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Guide: How to Mix Your Own Songs From Beginner to Pro
Think back to the last time you attended a school dance. I’m willing to bet that the songs you remember dancing to most were a combination of two songs mixed together, or what folks in the business refer to as a mashup.
If your friends were like mine, they threw their hands up in the air and raved about how cool it was to dance to an EDM song and an acoustic guitar song at the same time. If I’m touching on a nerve, it’s because mashups are really cool. And if you have even just a single musical bone in your body, you’ve probably thought about how to mix songs for a dance yourself.
But if you’ve ever attempted to do it on your own, you’ve probably found that mixing two songs together is much harder than it seems. Have you given up hope of creating the next great mashup? Don’t quit just yet. In this guide, we’ll show you how to mix songs together and get everyone you know dancing.
Where to Start When Mixing Music
Let’s assume that you’re starting from scratch, except for maybe a laptop. Figuring out how to mix two songs together can be overwhelming, to say the least. Before we talk about how to mix music, let’s make a quick checklist to help you wrap your mind around the software and tools you need:
- Audio files
- BPM tool or software
- Key matching software
- Audio editing software
The good news is that we’re not dealing with a long list, but there are still a few things to think through in each item. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to create your first mashup.
What You Need to Mix Music
Many of the items on our list are software products. This is great news if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have a lot of extra space in your home. Unlike many other music guides we’ve written, there are only a few options to choose from in each of the following categories. That eliminates a decent amount of research, but it also means that the learning curve for some of the apps we’re about to explore might be steep.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to learn. Let’s explore some (or in some cases, all) of your options.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that you need music to mix two songs together. But getting music can be a bit more complicated than just grabbing a few files from Apple Music or Spotify.
Let’s say that you want to mix the instrumental track from one song with the vocals of another. While you could go down the rabbit hole of extracting individual tracks from a fully mixed MP3, take it from personal experience: You’ll just want to throw your laptop out the window.
Instead, look for studio acapella tracks on sites like YouTube. Popular artists often release them for folks like you to play around with and remix; the most popular songs tend to be easier to find. Below you’ll find an example of an acapella vocal track from the popular David Guetta song “Titanium”Source: Youtube
An example of an acapella vocal track on YouTube for artists to remix.
There are a couple of caveats to note as you learn how to mix songs for a dance. First, these are not royalty-free tracks. You’ll notice in the YouTube clip above that the person who uploaded the video states that the rights to the music are not his. Additionally, you’ll need to rip the audio from the YouTube video. Several options make it easy to grab audio from YouTube, but remember that your remix is ultimately not your intellectual property.
If you’re looking for other solutions, consider sources such as Acapellas4u, from which you can purchase acapella tracks to remix.
BPM is an acronym that stands for “beats per minute.” It’s also another way to describe the tempo of a given song. And when you’re learning how to mix two songs, it’s really important to use tracks that are the same tempo.
In some (rare) cases, the songs you want to use have identical BPM numbers, which makes it insanely easy to start experimenting with a remix. But what happens if you want to learn how to mix two songs that don’t have the same BPM? There are a few tools to take a look at.
First, MixMeister is a piece of software that analyzes the BPM of songs that you’re considering for your mashup. It’s available for download at just $3.99. If you want to adjust the BPM of two songs, tools such as BPM Studio automatically match the BPM of the two songs you’re working with.
Key Matching Tool
In addition to ensuring that your songs are in the same tempo, it’s important to adjust your music to be in the same key signature. Imagine trying to mix one song in the key of F# major with another that’s in the key of Eb major. It would…not be pretty.
One of the most popular software solutions on the market for anyone learning how to mix songs is called Mixed In Key. It offers a variety of tools, including a master tempo setting, a key analyzer to help you identify songs that are a tonal match, and even a powerful audio editor, which eliminates the need for a separate DAW.
There are several paid tiers of Mixed in Key. However, if you’d like to explore other options, consider programs such as KeyFinder, TuneBat, and beaTunes.
Audio Editing Software
Some of the previous apps that we’ve discussed in this guide have built-in audio editors. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of adding your own effects, you might want to consider purchasing a separate digital audio workstation (DAW).
If you can swing the cost, consider a high-end DAW such as Logic Pro or Ableton Live, which pack huge libraries of sound effects and features that will take your remixes to the next level. However, if you’re looking to get started on a limited budget, Mac users can get many of the same features in GarageBand, while Windows users can tinker with their remixes in applications such as Audacity, both of which are free.
Now that we’ve gotten the technical details of how to mix songs out of the way, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide and start creating your first mashup.
Step 1: Analyze the Songs You Want to Use
In an ideal world, the song structures of both tunes in your mashup would be identical. But the beauty of making music is that you can play around with things such as song structure—and in many cases, the two songs you want to mix won’t match up.
So before you start cutting sections out of your tracks and mixing them together, take some time to listen to each of the songs you want to combine. Try to answer the following questions while you analyze each song:
- Would the vocal line of the first song’s chorus sound good over the instrumental of the second song?
- Where might I add instrumental breaks or vocal-only sections?
- Does each song maintain its feel even at slightly faster or slower tempos?
Above anything else, get creative! While you’ll have to learn how to cut sections of audio tracks out in an editor, don’t limit yourself to what you think will perform well at a dance club or on the radio. Tinker around with different songs, song elements, and different beats to create the mashup that you want.
Step 2: Take Your Mashup to a Mixer
You’ve matched keys and time signatures. You’ve picked songs that you want to mix together. Now it’s time to add even more of your own flair to the mashup.Here’s an example of how specific you can be when editing or restoring audio in Adobe Audition.
Export your mashup to your DAW of choice. In the example above, you’ll see how the audio engineer is editing a small region of the audio track. Take a listen to your mashup after you’ve imported it into the DAW and see where you might want to add effects such as reverb or delay. You can read more about our favorite DAWs here, but as you dive into editing your mashups, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the options at your fingertips. If that happens, remember to trust your own ears. Does the mashup sound good to you? If so, start sharing it!
Step 3: Share Your Mix
One of the most difficult things about creating art is sharing it with an audience. What if someone hates your work? What if you discover that the two songs you mixed together make for a horrible mashup? What if you made some horrible mistakes while editing it in your DAW? Those are really hard questions to discover the answer to—but they’ll also teach you some important lessons for future mixes.Source: Soundcloud
Here’s the author’s actual SoundCloud account, which is full of old demo songs that he shared on the platform.
SoundCloud is one of the more popular platforms for aspiring mashup artists to share their work. We’ll be honest: It’s scary to share what you’ve done with such a huge audience. But as you’ve seen in the example above, even novices like me share tracks. Don’t be afraid to publish your work and comment on other tracks that you like. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your mixes will improve once you start interacting with like-minded artists on sites like SoundCloud.Write a Great Pop Song
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The 4 Best Ways to Put Songs Together
There are different situations where you might need to put songs together: to dub a TikTok video, to put together a DJ set cut into fragments, just for fun and create your own remix. You can connect music on a computer or on a smartphone, and this is not as difficult as it seems. We carefully studied many desktop editors, mobile applications and online services with the function of combining audio tracks and selected the most convenient ones. In the article we talk briefly about each, and also give step-by-step instructions on how to glue music together and save the result in MP3 or other audio format.
How to merge songs in Movavi Video Editor
Have you downloaded your favorite DJ's mix, but it was cut into separate tracks? Or do you just want to merge several audio files so that you don't have to switch music, for example, when staging a play or dance? A great solution is Movavi's simple audio trimming and merging software. You can glue both ready-made melodies and recordings of your voice from a microphone.
To learn how to combine songs, two or more, into one, download Movavi Video Editor and follow our step by step guide!
Step 1.Install Song Linking Application
Download Music Linking Software, launch the distribution and install Movavi Video Editor following the instructions. After installation, the program will start automatically.
Step 2. Add Files and Merge Tracks
Click the Add Files button and select the audio files you want to merge. Your uploaded audio files will be automatically placed next to each other by Timeline on a separate audio track, indicated by a note icon. In fact, after adding the tracks will already be glued together. You will only need to change the order of playing fragments if necessary. To do this, simply drag the audio to the desired location on the Timeline .
Step 3. Trim the audio if necessary
If you need to not only merge audio files, but also delete certain passages, set the red marker to Timeline where you want to split the record and press the button Split . Delete an unnecessary segment: select it, then press the key Delete .
Step 4: Save the audio
Click the Save button, then click the Save as audio file tab. Specify the desired audio format (MP3, WAV, WMA, etc.) and save folder and press Start . After that, it will be exported to an audio file.
How to join music online
Online tools are a versatile option when you need to quickly join songs without wasting time downloading, installing, learning programs or mobile applications. A common drawback of such services is a smaller set of features compared to mobile and computer audio editors.
A simple service where you can combine two songs into one in a couple of clicks or glue an audio track from more fragments. Supports more than 300 formats, and the result is saved as MP3, M4A, WAV or FLAC supported by most players and portable players.
How to join music in 123apps
- Open the main page of the audio editor.
- Click Add Tracks or drag files to be glued into the editing area on the page.
- Adjust the timing of each track by dragging the edge of the track, or by adjusting the start and fade times at the bottom of the editor window.
- Click the curve icon on a track if you want to turn on the crossfade function - the sound flows smoothly between tracks without pauses.
- Select the save format in the lower right corner of the editor: MP3, M4A, WAV or FLAC.
- Press Connect to start audio mixing.
- Download the result to your computer or cloud storage using the link that will be displayed on the screen after the processing is completed.
- Supports an unlimited number of tracks to connect
- Choice of result saving format is available
- You can download a mix directly into the Google Cloud Disc or Dropbox
- It is not possible to edit transitions
- Slow processing
- You can not configure the quality of the result
0 permissions. Ideal for simple cross-fade mixing of songs, for example, to build your superset of this summer's hits.
How to join music in Clideo
- Open the Clideo website in any browser.
- Click Select files to download audio tracks to merge from the device, or the arrow on the same button to select files from your Google Drive and Dropbox cloud storage accounts or add songs via a direct link from the Internet.
- Drag and drop tracks to arrange their sound order in the finished mix.
- If necessary, turn on the smooth transition by checking the appropriate box on the right side of the editor window.
- At the bottom of the online editor window, select the format in which you will export the finished mix: 10+ options are available.
- Click on Export and wait for the process to complete to download the result to your computer or to the cloud.
- Merges an unlimited number of songs
- Supports smooth transition setting
- Lack of fine tuning and export quality control
Service for gluing audio from a cut or connecting different songs into one set. Supports more than 10 source formats and exported merging result.
How to merge music in MP3CutterPro
- Open the main page of the editor.
- Drag to workspace or add files to be processed by pressing the green button Select file . You can also download songs via a direct link from the Internet, to do this, go to the URL tab.
- Select the result format at the bottom of the page.
- Activate Crossfade by checking the appropriate box (translated as "The cross disappears in the Russian version?").
- An unlimited number of songs for gluing
- many formats for import and export audio
- Service translation into Russian leaves much more slowly slow processing
- no subtle setting of the quality of exports
How to join songs on your phone
Online services work on both computers and smartphones. But if it is possible to install a separate application for editing audio, it is better to do this - applications have more functions, settings, and opportunities. In addition, you can work in applications from anywhere, even from places where you cannot get high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi or mobile data networks.
MP3 Audio Merger and Joiner
A free audio merging tool for Android smartphones and tablets. The application is not demanding on hardware, therefore it works even on old weak smartphones on OS version 4.4 or higher.
How to merge songs into MP3 Audio Merger and Joiner
- Install the application on your smartphone or tablet.
- On the main screen of MP3 Audio Merger and Joiner, click the plus icon to add songs to merge.
- Click the green button Merge at the bottom of the window.
- Select the result format File type .
- Select the type of gluing Process type - mixing (mix) or sequential combination - join.
- Click Continue , set the save path and file name.
- Press Done .
- When the merging process is completed, the application will offer to listen to the result - Play - or share it -
How to merge songs into MP3 Cutter and Audio Merger
- Install the application on your device.
- Select Audio Merger from the main screen.
- Click on plus (+) to upload audio files to be combined into one.
- Click Merge to go to export settings.
- Set the export format and other options, then click Continue .
- Listen to the result - Play , - or share it - Share .
- Allows you to not only glue, but also cut and convert files
- No Russian
- not too convenient management 9000
A multifunctional video editor for iOS, which, among other things, has the ability to glue and mix music tracks in different formats. The program is professional and quite cumbersome, if you are looking for something simpler, then it will definitely not suit you.
How to join songs in iMovie
- Start the editor.
- Create a new project.
- Add audio tracks prepared for gluing to it.
- Set the export format.
- Press Done to start the merging process
- The merging result can be reproduced here or exported to another application.
- All-in-one program, useful when you need to work not only with audio, but also with video
- No Russian language
- overloaded with the capabilities of the interface, if you just need to glue several sound files
Free application on the iPhone Ande formats. There is a built-in voice recorder for recording sounds over an imported track and then combining them.
How to join songs in Hokusai Audio Editor
- Launch the installed Hokusai Audio Editor.
- Add audio tracks for stitching. by clicking the corresponding icon in the application.
- Edit the length of each track in the mix.
- Open the menu with a tap in the upper right corner and select any of the available types of transitions between tracks.
- Export the mix as MP3 or any other suitable format.
- Customizable transitions between glued tracks
- Support for a large number of formats for importing and exporting a file
On Windows computers, you can merge several songs or any other audio files into one without installing additional utilities - via the command line. Setting transitions, trimming and other options on the command line are not available, but if you just need to assemble a disparate playlist into a long mix, then you should use the method.
How to join songs in the Windows command line
- Open the command line - Start > Command Prompt .
- Enter the command to go to the folder containing all the files to be glued:
- cd [folder path], for example, cd \Video\MyPlaylist
- Enter the command: copy/b audio file1.mp3 + audio file2.mp3 audio file3.mp3, where file1.mp3, file2. mp3, file3.mp3 are the names of the files to merge.
- Press key Enter on the keyboard.
The mix of audio files will be saved in the same folder as the original fragments to be combined. The process takes literally a matter of seconds, even if there are a lot of files. The size of the resulting file depends on the size of the source files - the higher the quality of the audio recordings, the more space on the hard disk will be needed to save the finished long mix.
The command line audio merging method has two significant advantages at once: it is fast and does not require additional software to be installed. There are also disadvantages: nothing can be configured, it will not be possible to combine songs in different formats. But if you need to compile a playlist, for example, an album of your favorite artist downloaded from the Internet, into one file, the command line will help you do it quickly and without unnecessary difficulties.
Which way to combine multiple audio files into one is up to you. For those who often need to mix tracks, it is preferable to have one reliable tool at hand, for example, Movavi Video Editor or its equivalents. For piecing together sounds on the go, mobile offerings for your platform come in handy. It is also useful to keep links to 1-2 online editors in your browser bookmarks, in case you suddenly need to mix files without installing programs and applications.
Full-time Movavi content manager: writes and edits web texts, translates articles from English. She has been translating IT texts for over 4 years. A graduate of the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Tomsk State University, she also studied as an exchange student at the University of Durham, UK. Finalist of the translation competition "How is it in Russian?" from Palex agency. He is fond of video editing and creating subtitles for short videos.
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* The free version of Movavi Video Editor has the following limitations: a 7-day trial period, a watermark on saved videos and, if you save the project as an audio file, the ability to save only ½ of the length of the audio. Read more
EDM Mixing: The Complete Guide
Making electronic music is a delicate art in many ways. However, you won't be able to achieve a great sounding track without learning how to properly mix electronic dance music. The genre has many key characteristics that give EDM its cardinal sound, and without understanding these aspects, it's hard to create a professional-sounding mix.
Below, we'll cover everything you need to know about mixing electronic dance music so you can create bangs from the comfort of your home. Let's dive into it!
What defines EDM?
EDM or Electronic Dance Music is a genre that continues to evolve today. In its simplest form, EDM refers to any electronic music that relies more on samples and synthesized virtual instruments than live recordings.
The early days of electronic music can be traced back to genres such as disco or Detroit techno. The emergence of more electronic instruments such as drum machines, mass-produced synthesizers and samplers. Listen to this techno classic:
As you can see, the birth of techno music as we know it sounds very different from what we might consider "techno" today. Of course, techno is just a subgenre of electronic music, but it's true that digital audio continues to evolve and evolve as our musical tastes change.
There are a few things that define the genre today that need to be kept in mind when recording, producing and mixing EDM:
One of the most enduring characteristics of electronic music is the presence of a strong sub-bass and bass track. The sub-bass is usually cut in mono as it is meant to be played on club speakers that model this audio experience. The bass tracks of EDM music are so deep that you can sometimes feel the lower sounds of the frequency spectrum in your chest.
Although EDM songs may use a drum loop or two, the drum parts are not weak. The most important sound parts in electronic songs are drums and bass. This is because these rhythm sections help drive the characteristic "dance" sounds that the genre is known for. It's common to see classic drum patterns like "4 on the floor" that emphasize beats 2 and 4.
Much of the magic of EDM music lies in the tension and release created by the presence of a drop. Talented producers know how to create and transfer energy throughout the track, which is one of the main reasons why listeners return to this genre again and again. To create that punch or climax, EDM music uses a variety of automation, dynamics, and filters to weave elements into a well-balanced mix.
Typically at a constant and higher BPM level.
In order to increase danceability, EDM music is usually played at a higher BPM or tempo. The BPM of electronic music is usually set at 120 or higher, although there are exceptions to this rule. EDM tracks usually stay in constant rhythm throughout track, although EDM producers can create tension after chorus , adding additional sounds to the mix to further separate the drum section.
They are intended for "dance" settings.
EDM music originated in the club scene, so it's no surprise that it's danceable at its core. While there are many different types of EDM music, you can dance to almost any electronic sound, whether the song is happy or sad. See how EDM has changed over the years:
EDM mixing starts with the recording process
It's true that there aren't as many elements recorded live in EDM as there are in other genres. However, this means that the elements you record (usually the vocals) stand out much more. As with any genre, it's undeniable that creating music that sounds great starts with attention to detail during the recording phase. Here are just a few basic principles to keep in mind, but you can read our complete guide for a more complete overview.
Check your notes before moving on.
I can't tell you how many times a song has been doomed from the start due to poor recording. It's important to check your recordings and sound design before moving on, as the recording stage is fundamental to the mixing and mastering process. Check the recording on studio monitors, headphones and laptop speakers. If you're not sure the vocals sound good, record them again.
Choose patterns that go well with each other.
Remember that each sample you choose should be considered as part of a single whole. For example, you might want to choose a kick drum that works well with the bass. You can find a few samples that sound good on their own, but if they don't work in context with the rest of your mix, don't waste your time on them.
Find the right microphone for your vocalist.
Vocal recording is an art in itself. There aren't many recorded elements in EDM, which makes vocal recording even more important. Vocals will naturally stand out from the rest of your song, so you'll want to make sure they stand out for good reason.
Great vocal recordings start with choosing the right microphone for your vocalist. As a rule, a condenser microphone is used for pop or electronic vocals. These delicate mics tend to have a brighter sound, sometimes boosting the high frequencies. For harder vocals, a more stable dynamic microphone may be suitable, while for others, a thin but stable ribbon microphone may be appropriate.
Whichever microphone you choose, be sure to consider the proximity effect. This principle states that the closer the vocalist is to the microphone, the darker the vocals will sound. It will also sound louder. You have to be careful because EDM relies on the purity of the bass.
Tune with the vocalist audio interface to the optimum recording level for clean, clear vocals. Your vocalist may prefer to work with a dry signal or on a wet track, but be sure to test dry vocals before you start mixing.
Improve your production before you move on to mixing
As any mastering engineer will tell you, a great master starts with a strong mix. Want to know where a strong mix starts? From a properly produced track. Before you even think about mixing music, start with production improvement . Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind before jumping into the mix.
Keep your paths organized and symbiotic.
You can have many tracks, but only a few elements should stand out in your mix. When producing, ask yourself if every sound you add actually improves the overall mix. If not, then it's time to cut it out. It can be hard for new producers to let go of sounds they've invested a lot of time into, but seasoned engineers and producers know it's just another standard part of the process.
While EDM projects tend to have more tracks than other genres of music, you'll notice that many of your layers still serve to enhance the depth of a few key parts. Your session may have more than a hundred tracks, but most of them may be parts of the main melody, drums or bass section. One of the most important mixing and mixing tips is that each sonic element should serve to complete the sound of the entire mix.
The main thing is to save energy.
Because EDM music is about dancing, it's important to keep the energy going throughout the track. While you want to create a consistent vibe throughout the track, you still want to keep the listener hooked by making your melodies fun.
It could be changing the drum pattern every couple of bars, using automation, or creating tension for your big "fall". Whatever it is, make sure you don't get lazy in your production. Even if it's subtle, small changes throughout a song can make a huge difference to an entire project.
Use your favorite songs as inspiration.
There is nothing wrong with standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak, to justify your next creative decision. Reference tracks are useful for more than just mixing. They are also incredibly helpful during the writing and production phase. For example, you can define the structure of your song by modeling it on one of your favorite EDM tracks.
You can also notice how the dynamics change throughout the track and apply it to your own project. While you never want to copy artists' work, using them as rough inspiration can make it much easier to make informed creative decisions while you're still figuring out your original sound.
Focus on falling.
EDM music is not the same without a strong drop. Drop" usually refers to the chorus of an electronic track, which may or may not include vocals. To create a strong drop, try to create tension in the chorus and couplet .
You can create dynamic contrast between chorus and verse by changing the volume, using parallel processing, or trying out a new sonic element in the chorus. In EDM music, tempo building is paramount, so make sure you give the drop the attention it deserves.
How to mix EDM
Without further ado, here is our complete guide on how to mix EDM. Keep in mind that there is no one right way to mix music, so one mixing engineer must have a different sound design strategy than another.
This guide should only serve as a blueprint for creating your own tracks in the EDM space, but don't let these loose guidelines limit your creativity.
- Find a suitable reference track.
- Start with faders.
- Create clear and expressive low frequencies.
- Remove what you don't need.
- Work on the relationship between drums and bass.
- Stack the layers.
- Create contrast with dynamics and stereo imaging.
- Compression is your best friend.
- Use FX and silence to your advantage.
- Test your mixture under various conditions.
- Check your mixture after the break.
- Create multiple mixes if necessary.
Find a suitable reference track.
New producers often neglect to find the right reference track for their mixes. Reference tracks are important for all genres as they give us audible clues about how certain sounds should be balanced in the mix. Whether you're using one or more reference tracks, it's wise to place these audio files directly into your mix so you can hear them properly through your DAW .
Listen to your reference track to answer any questions you may have during the mixing process. Not sure if your kick is too loud against the bass? Can't figure out if you need to push the vocals more forward in the mix? Check your reference(s).
Even the most professional mixing engineers use this technique to creating the purest mix possible . Cross-check your mixes with some of your favorite tunes and you'll start to see the best way to quickly improve your tunes.
Start with faders.
A good mix starts with a good balance. This means that one of your most powerful tools is just the volume. This is why many mixing engineers start by changing the volume or adjusting amplification before proceeding to any other element of the track.
You'll be surprised how different your mix can sound if you experiment with volume changes alone. Generally speaking, the sound elements you want to highlight should be louder than other sounds in the mix. However, you don't want your mix to peak above -6 dB. This is because you want to give your mastering engineer enough headroom to properly compress the final mix.
In many cases, you may have 1-2 sound elements that stand out from the rest of the soundscape. Keep in mind that high frequencies are easier to hear, so they may not need to be boosted as much as lower or mid-range sounds. Make sure you are mixing without plugins on the master channel to get an accurate representation of your track.
Create clear and expressive low frequencies.
In EDM music, low frequencies are especially important. Therefore, it is customary to "divide the bass", so to speak, into parts. In this process, you create bass using two or more different tracks. The lowest track, usually somewhere below 100Hz, uses a pure sine wave or sawtooth wave, and the bass above is cut off by a high pass filter below 100Hz.
This way, your sub frequencies will be very clean, which will help keep the low frequencies tight and punchy. Also, club systems reproduce these ultra-low frequencies in mono anyway, so there is no need to select the sound to be distributed to the stereo field.
Remove what you don't need.
Many producers focus so much on adding new sounds to the mix that they forget the importance of removing unwanted parts. Once you've cleared out any unnecessary tracks, you may need to cut the frequencies to make room for your main parts, such as the drums or bass section.
For example, you can use high pass filter , like this one in Ableton Live, to cut low frequencies in tracks that might not need it, like vocals or hi-hats:
Work on the relationship between drums and bass.
Drums, especially the kick drum, are one of the most driving forces in an EDM track. Often in EDM music, the bass track is connected to a kick drum or snare with a side chain. Side chain compression mutes or compresses a sound in relation to another. Thus, whenever a beat is present, the bass is lowered to make room for the beat, which occupies a similar frequency space.
However, sidechain compression is not the only way to work on this coveted connection. Using high pass filters to boost low frequencies is also a great way to create room for drums and bass. Just remember that these two sonic elements are vital to creating a groove, so they should be one of your top sonic priorities.
Stack the layers.
All elements of your song should work in tandem to create a clear, complete mix. Several sounds can make up the body of one sound idea. For example, your main synth line may consist of several synths, each occupying a different part of the frequency spectrum. When in doubt, use a spectrum analyzer to see which parts of the mix need more help. Create coherent layers to add depth to your mix rather than adding as many different parts as you can think of.
Create contrast with dynamics and stereo imaging.
EDM music uses a variety of volume and filter automation to create a more dynamic listening experience. You can use simple tools like volume automation to create contrast between the verse and the chorus of a song.
Playing with panning different sound elements can also help your song expand. In any case, it is very important to create a contrast: You don't want your song to seem very extended forward, then very wide throughout the track. It may make sense to switch between different sounds as you move from one section to another, such as between a verse and a chorus.
If you're not sure how to make it interesting, listen to a few of your favorite songs. There are many ways to create contrast and keep the listener's interest throughout the mix. Think of your sounds as living, breathing compositions. The dynamics of the track will make it much more enjoyable to listen to, even if you use the same chord progression , bass line and drum sounds.
Compression is your best friend.
You need to be careful not to over-compress, but compression can often be the glue you need to hold separate pieces together. Compression works by reducing dynamic range between two sounds , or makes the loudest sounds quieter, and increases the perceived loudness of the lowest sounds.
EDM is known for using tons of compression in the mix, but using too much of it can lead to a lifeless mix. One of the best ways to deal with this is parallel processing: In this method, the original dry signal is mixed with the processed, compressed signal. This way you get some of the preserved dynamics of the original sound and at the same time enjoy some of the processed signal. This method is also known as "New York compression".
Use FX and silence to your advantage.
Most producers know that FX is an important part of creating build-up in EDM tracks, but don't forget the importance of silence in your songs. Silence itself is a tool. Just look how much more impressive the drop of this song is Death by Techno with silence set directly in front of it:
EDM also uses a lot of FX like risers and downlifters to create excitement throughout the track. Think about the importance of white noise when mixing and mastering your electronic track.
Test your mixture under various conditions.
Testing your mix on different systems is important for any genre of music, but it's especially true for bass-heavy genres like EDM. You'll want to create the best version of your mix in your own room, but it's important to test your mix in a variety of sonic environments before settling on your final mix.
You should test your sound on studio monitors, car speakers, laptop speakers. Basically on any playback devices you can find to check the true stereo image of your track. Sound behaves differently in different environments, so any problems that arise when mixing in different playback environments should be reconsidered. It's especially important to test your mix with both stereo and mono outputs to reduce the chance of phase distortion.
Check your mixture after the break.
Sometimes the best way to improve your mix is to let it rest. All engineers must consider ear fatigue: Unfortunately, our ears naturally become accustomed to a particular sound after repeated listening. While you can generally trust your ears when mixing, you need to keep this in mind.
Get enough sleep before mixing the final mix. Even the best engineers sometimes wake up with surprisingly bad mixes, so don't despair. Get in the habit of letting your track breathe before finishing. Sometimes time is your main resource when it comes to polished audio.
Create multiple mixes if necessary.
Multiple mixes can be useful for creating different sound variations for your listeners. In any case, you should create a new session each time you mix, in case you need to go back to an earlier version of a song.
Also, don't despair if you're not satisfied with your first mix. Sometimes even the best engineers have to create multiple mixes to get the best possible version of a track. It's also not uncommon for mastering engineers to ask you to change the mix.