The process of mix music is more complex than setting up faders to play certain tracks at different times. Mix engineers have to program fades, pans, and effects into tracks to get the right volume and sound at the appropriate time. They also program different effects and volume levels into tracks so that they sound the same at all times. To avoid sounding haphazard or chaotic, mixing engineers use automation and computer programs to make the process run as smoothly as possible.
In order to produce a balanced sound, start with a low level of audio (referred to as a -12db target). Next, add gain to the mix to make it louder while preserving the dynamic range. Different songs will typically have more recordings of different levels of noise, so the overall gain will be higher. When using automation and faders, remember to use a low level setting. You can use the -12db target if you have a lot of time to spare.
A mix needs to be optimized for post-mix mastering. It requires careful attention to early reflections and late reflections. Mixing should be oriented towards the big picture, and a reference to favorite sounds will help. The process can take several sessions and multiple versions before you get the desired sound. When you have the right mix, the final product is worth the effort. If you’re not prepared to experiment with various settings and effects, it’s a good idea to hire a professional mixer.