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In The Studio: Creating Excitement In A Mix

Four simple but effective tips to make it more dynamic

By Jon Tidey May 10, 2018

Image courtesy of Brigitte Werner
This article is provided by Audio Geek Zine.

Mixing isn’t easy—using the right EQ, the right compression, and other effects isn’t enough. It needs to be exciting.

Here are four simple ways you can add excitement and take the mix to the next level.


Automation is one of the greatest tools for crafting a mix. Not only can you can use it to help shape the different sections of songs but to accent various elements throughout.

For example, if the start of the chorus isn’t grabbing your attention, try automating the first drum hit or cymbal crash up a few dB.


Creating movement in the soundscape can help bring some excitement to the mix. You can do this in a few ways. One way is by using modulation effects such as chorus, flanging and phasing on an instrument and set the rate control really slow—the slower the better—so the sound is constantly evolving.

Automating effect parameters works great to keep things under control. With virtual instruments, mess around with the cutoff and resonance controls throughout the song to keep things interesting.


One of the great things about digital recording is that you can easily manipulate loops to fit almost anywhere. I love tambourine and tabla loops. I find them to be incredibly useful for adding a little something extra to a song.

Transition Effects

Transition effects are what I’ll call any sort of sample or effect added to a song to emphasize different parts.

A really common one is the Sub Drop, a technique used in countless rock and metal productions. Sometimes it’s simply an 808 kick sample, sometimes it’s more like an explosion, and sometimes its something completely different and more “kick ass.”

Another type of transition effect is the reversed cymbal. Take a cymbal crash right before the chorus, copy it to just before the hit, and reverse it. This works well on snare drum too.

These transition effects are great, but don’t overdo them—it’s probably not a good idea to emphasize every chorus on every song in the same way.

About Jon

Jon Tidey
Jon Tidey

Producer/Engineer, EPIC Sounds
Jon Tidey is a Producer / Engineer who runs his own studio, EPIC Sounds, and enjoys writing about audio on his blog

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