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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 2 of 13

Making a Rough Mix

Kenneth Gioia

Mixing Master Class

Kenneth Gioia

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Lesson Info

2. Making a Rough Mix

Lesson Info

Making a Rough Mix

So now I'm gonna go through and try to make a rough mixes. Everything's probably gonna be too loud when it starts out, because most of the fighters is zero. So I don't want that open on mixer to make this big enough. Second, see that? What? Screw us over to here. He was a key command here. Toe mutual. The tracks which is actually just do it this way, right? Click and mutual Others. And then just make this one all the tracks a muted. So I'm not gonna last my speakers with too much sound. Let's go back to top star with a kick sample. No, just slowly bring things in as I'm blending the tracks. I'm gonna use this for this. Right? So this is our kick sample. It's gonna bring it down a little because I know I want to start a lot of favors a little lower than zero. Like I said, all the favors a zero, this many tracks is a good chance of an overload. Now it's bringing the real kick. Now, even though we haven't done the rough mix yet, there's a good time to check to make sure it zoom in a littl...

e bit here to make sure there's no kind of phase issues. That's a problem that's obviously going show itself very quickly. You know it by looking at this. See, the kick is going up and then down. This one's going the same way. If somebody's in there, weren't I mean this button right here? Phase invert or polarity? Invert. If you're a perfectionist, I did it again. Did this the other day as well. Keep thinking That's a phase in Vermont, the phase important. Pardon actually, this one right here. So if we flip it over, so how that sounds, that's because this one, what's basically happening. If I grab this and it's not right, click it open media item properties and invert the phase or polarity. I'm actually going to listening to this so the base and feels more bass sounds and anything else. That's the way forms going up and then down, and this was going down it up so it needs to combine. It's basically flattening out the way for so you're hearing a very hollow base out. So in that situation you would just hit this button and it sounds a lot better. Although we don't even do that because we can just unclipped this. Check that. So it looks like this, but you want to check any time you're mixing bass sounds together, even stare sounds. Just make sure the way forms match up. You doing something that sample You could always just move it around a little bit. Um, grab it and just shifted a little bit to match a little more off the original sound. But because the sample is not gonna cause any phase issues with your other microphones when you wouldn't want to get with this one anyway. So as we're mixing this, we want to be aware of that because it's gonna change, obviously the levels and the hollowness of the sound. So here's a kick life kick. That's a good enough plan for our rough mix with a sneer sample you could tell within with very Basie sounding snare don't usually go for But as you hear this song, it's a very early eighties influenced type of track. So they really wanted that Simmons sounding drum machine snare sound. So we really went for deep snare sound. In fact, pre show we tuned this lives near down a whole bunch. Just hear it. That's pretty deep. So it's a blend for now. Of those two of these, it's notice near bottom, and the times probably messed with too much right now. Let's just hear what they're doing. Just keep them low for now on the floor. No mention again that I am using this fader here so that if you see that the favors myself actually moving, it's because I'm moving this. So if you watch the four time right now, so it's moving on the screen, which also moving over here cause I'm doing this. So now we have the overheads, which should change the sound dramatically. That's a good idea of the overheads to make sure the phase while polarity is lined up well, so it's a good idea to just do this and see if we hear a difference. Sometimes you won't hear a difference. That doesn't matter if you hear anything really different than or like anything getting hollow with snare, you want to keep it flipped. So this is without it, and this is with it. My charm. I'm hearing a difference. Someone leave it off. Now I have to snare samples which do not play during those other drums and another one that brings with it This is a This is just this one. Baltimore has won one tail to it, so I complain the to Here's the 1st The 1st 1 is more like a typical eight awaits snare. So you've heard it before and the 3rd 1 a mute from here, the only place in the two on the fours. Then the live jumps come in and let's see if these drums play any further. They coming down over here, too. So it does come back in a few more times at the end as well. Tech. So for now, let's just see this, but you'll notice along the way. I save a lot, but it's never hurt me to save too much. So now we have some percussion. I'm gonna get this out of the way anytime I do with any high frequency percussion stuff like shakers and 10 Marines, I tend not to like to have him in the front or in the middle, I should say, by putting them aside. Higher frequencies are much more directional, so you really well here when you move them left and right. So really create some nice interesting stereo with to the sound. Where's if you took a kick drum and pan to the left or right? You can notice that as much because the high frequency elements is what gives you that positioning. But a shaker You really will notice it. So I was gonna bring over to the side for now. Do we have a high hat? I'm gonna move that to the other side. It's decrease them with I'm gonna do. And this is my own problem. I prefer high. It's on the left side is a drummer. So I'm gonna put the high hat on the left and the shaker on the right again. That's my own preference. I I find it weird with high hats on the right side. For some reason, it's gonna bring a little more towards the middle. You could see is very directional. You have to go very far. Actually noticed the effect and we have a triangle and shaker. Another shaker. This is just doing eight notes with an accent for now. Believe that in the middle. But I might change that. Ah, electric Tom and the Electric Tom usually with Pan, especially with Simmons Tom's. They tended to do really drastic panting. So when you mix, this will probably put some automation on this. So pans like left to right on these hits, just two hits by Think there might be other parts of song with more. It's usually the same. So I might put some automation on this just to give it some direction of movement. So it's not sitting in the middle, but for the rough mix, I think we could get away with it. Then we have a son air, which is a famous Elektronik kerosene of scenarios, a cool little pad looking thing that has electronic of buttons on the side. You can try to make it sound Cynthy and stuff like that. But one of my favorite sounds for it is this 70 sounding boom sound for years. Me, my partner producing tracks. We would never find a good sample for this, so we used to go on the microphone, actually try to imitate it ourselves, but never sounded very good. You know, it sounds great. We do it. So you least for those samples, that's a pretty good one, though I don't want to drink that with drenched that with rear up to Okay, that works for now. Then we have another shaker that comes in over here, and that's doing 1/16 no pattern fact. It's not like it's a riel shaker. You think that was performed. Bring that down a bit. Gonna readjust the drums a little bit there. It sounds so massive. Start the overheads some of the snake and come down a little bit, too. That's a little bit better. Definitely Still on a team that way, too, though it's a little too big. No, the tangerine. She's in the first. Stammering. This is an eighth note. A Marine to put this toe right side. It was 1/16 notes hammering right here. Put that to the left side. Just check out the over heads off, snare down a little bit in the overheads. Down a bit as well. That's a little better. It just seems to get a wood or out of hand with the ambiance on that. Now we have another triangle. Just see something. This triangle comes in before but tan Marines trying to move it up there. I just made a folder. You really need a folder. So pop it back out. Four deserve. Probably go through that later when we can group things together in folders. But by dragging it that way actually created a folder with it within it, which I do not want to do. So so this time this soldier strangle not that one. Keep that in the middle for now. Not really sure where that should go. Starting a crowded and you need any more speakers in the room toe panting to different places. A lot of stuff going on, but ran out of space is for that. Well, we'll adjust that later. Let's bring in the bass guitar. And I believe this is the D I Oh way. Have an amp to go just down the track. You're gonna do so a trick here just to make it easier to see. Let me first say this five. If we open the mixer, the it starts off down here, it's docked in the main window. I can grab this and drag it to the left side, but the drinking a little higher here she turns gray. That puts the mixture over here and a little trick I learned If you go the first track and bring this all over here. You could just see one track. Then, as I click each one it or making changes to the one I'm actually adjusting. So this way you could probably see a little better that I'm moving the fader. See right there. Not only is it moving here, but it's also moving here. I would be able easy for you to see. I'll just move this over a little bit, save some scream your state. Okay, onwards and upwards where we leave off. We are on the base trucks, Okay, One of things I should mention about dealing with multiple based tracks is like with the kick. Sounds like what the kick sounds. We're dealing with low information. So as they're blending, they could actually cancel themselves out or cancel each other out with being out of phase or polarity if that matters to you. So if we zoom in, let's make these trucks a little bigger. We'll see. For the most part, this is going up. It's going down. This one's going down when this was going down. So I want to make sure that that's happening. But if you can't see it because you can't always see it. Here's a bass pedal. This kind of looks in face. It looks pretty good, but more importantly, is how it sounds when you're blending the sounds. Listen for any kind of hollowness to it, to make sure when I can't sing on the low end. So let's start with this base and I'll bring in the other one. That's the one base I'll bring this one in and then I'll hit the polarity button right here. See the button's move to different spots as I move this. So here's the party button here, as you do this party. But now is over here. I move again to their So now my party button is over here. So I'm gonna hit this as going on. I'm gonna notice if the base sounds more hollow, and if it does, we'll just gonna keep this on, and sometimes you want the difference at all, and now situation doesn't matter. But if you do hear a difference you want, obviously use that. So here these two bases mixed. There's a big difference that here are the basic pretty goes away before and after. It's a huge difference. So you want to double check that to make sure you're not. Kids are not your low end Andi. Once you get these two in line, you want to check out the 3rd 1 and make sure that one if you have three bases, is also in line with these two. You gotta do it obviously, in in order. So here's a little button. Now this is a little loud, so it's just it's level as we do this it and then we'll foot clarity. It's pretty dramatic for this one, too, so the base really cuts out, gets more hollow. How much clearer this way way. So now it's just blend these. Let's start off with just these two. And when the base to the AMP with a d. I to the AMP. The bass AMP seems to give him a roundness to the base. The D. I sounds a little boring sounding and gives it a bit of ravenous to it. You want to keep in mind you doing this? Sometimes you don't want to use all the tracks may decide you don't want to the base truck. It all just use the AMP. But I find the and to have a warm round tone. But it's not quite as in your face, so blend of the two seems to be a bit better that use the pedal for distortion. It's got a little further into the song to here. Find Distortion adds a little bit of a mid range great to it, which makes it a little clearer. You could add a little less CQ to the other bass tracks and just feature the other one. Excuse me, the pedal track do do, do do do do what you have, three of them with the track. One of the nice things about Reaper is he has a thing called the Project, a group that tracks, besides weakened. Besides the fact that we group the tracks, we could also use temporary groups. What that allows us to do is just select the three tracks, and now I could grab any of them and they're gonna affect all them as a group. But it's temporary. We didn't actually set it off or name it. So now I just grabbed one of the failures and you see, they all move together so I could just all the bass tracks together, um, with the drums. If I want to just adjust the pedal, just hit that one. All them together to select them all. Now, later on, we make a traditional group where it's always that way, but for now, a temporary group of work. So he's gonna leave it that way. Then we have these base pops. Let's see what they're doing. It's a little harder hit of the slap bass. Now we have it amped version of it and give it to keep in mind that there might be some phase issues with this. So it's solo. The two of them. Invert one. Mm. Yeah, it sounds hollow. That's better. And again for the rough. Make sure not to get crazy with this, but solving these problems early makes mixing a lot quicker. Obviously. Get taken. Group these. That was pretty good story of the acoustic guitars. Actually. What's save again to 1.6. At this point, that means we're working hard. Okay. Acoustic guitar. I made these stereo so probably tournament on the same time at this point. One. Make sure my overloading my stereo bus. Someone opened mixing master right from the airport. There I wouldn't foot would see. This is not to bus right here. You can see by overloading it. So we're gonna do is going to suck everything we've worked on so far from the beginning to the end. And now if I make adjustment, they will move together so I can adjust it. So this is not overloading. That's obviously very important. You don't overload you to bus. We're gonna get into two bus effects in a little bit. I usually jump into that very quickly. But we could do that for the rough mix. So we're not gonna worry about that just yet, So I have a better level. At least they're not distorting going forward. So lows air everything up to the acoustic guitar so that we're up to the effects drop. Gonna actually movies, acoustic guitars down with the other guitars. Not sure why they wanted Hang out with the keyboards. Have a go on. Acoustic guitars are with the clean guitars and the bridge guitars have a go and effects drop in this part of the keyboard should probably lower and track order. So it's moving down even further. Perfect, actually, no, because this is there because of the harmony. Let's just bring this back up. I made a little mistake. Effects drop actually starts earlier so we can leave it right where it is. Mistakes are OK. I'll forgive myself. All right, so effects drop pretty intense effects. We're going to keep it lower. Probably been lower than that. Now we have our synth chords. That's obnoxiously loud. So it's bring that down and blend that with our Faizi synth. We're getting somewhere starting some like music. I have a piano that comes in You could see this is why I do it this way. We're doing it in order of when they come in. So as I work through the song, it makes more sense as each instrument enters is how we adjust it. Otherwise, I'm working on things that come in later not even thinking about what came in earlier to go with it. This is the piano. And next we have the beeps, which I'm pretty sure they pretty obnoxious as well. I want to take a save break and a gangster lead. That sounds a little obnoxious, so probably gonna, uh, drenched that in reverb. But he has a friend, right? here. Let's just hear these two together. I work Harmony Synth, which doesn't come in next, but it comes in and blends with that. So what to do that one? Next, Put that one up to the side. I'm not sure about that. Keeping the middle for now. All right. Started something something. Then we have ah whirly gig as a wife as to call it the world. Sir, I know where she came with whirly gig, but thing don't come over here yet. But that's what we call it in my house. The world like you see, that's a nice while. Effect on it which is not built into the world, sir, but obviously it in with a plug in or something. All right, now with another gangster lead coming in here. Excuse me. At this point, I'm trying to bring everything down so nothing is obnoxiously loud and there will be points. What? I'm gonna bring things up to be that way to really hit in the face. But for now, I just want everything to kind of sit and have a space. So get idea what they're doing. Alright, Sounds pretty good. Ready for some synth? It's now the synth. It's worked for me, but there are a little boring sounding right in the middle. So I'm pretty sure I'm gonna put up some kind of auto pan on them, just just to create some space for them because it just just coming up the centre. Kind of It just sounds boring to me. But I wouldn't do that this early. Just in case is something else blocking it that would make it not make sense to do in the States. You really just want to get to a rough mix so we can see what the song sounds like and what the producer and the artists probably had in mind. So here's our flute, which only happens here. We're probably drenched that reverb and delay as well. And we're to the squeak. Do another quick safe. Come on, me, Squeeze out here. Okay. Ah, squeak, squeak. Sounds like Well, so it first, uh, at this point with the chimes. So it's good that blend. So that, and also the squeak, uh, north and chimes gives a little length to the squeak, which is kind of percussive. So kind of becomes the llegado part of it or the the release or a trail of it. Uh uh uh. Great on sold them. What's here? That the track. Let's put the two together, though. Like in my temporary group. If you notice right there, I sold both of them and got the blend of both. But when I heard in the track the blend didn't work nearly as well. So it's very important that even if you do do that, which I do, you then re blend it in the track because you made certain things are gonna jump out in the track that didn't jump Baton Soul. So that's why I'm gonna start off with squeak, uh, on without the chime. Then we'll bring the chime in separately and we do not blend. I feel pretty good. Now. I could bring them both down a little bit and we'll zoom out the entire projects. And now we have another world, sir. Or were we kick? This one should sound more like a typical world, sir. It does have a pan on it. You notice we haven't done any Q A compression, Any tracks. So certain things are gonna need Obviously mawr love that way. But at this point. I don't want to do any of those things until I hear everything together. So I'm not featuring, like, making something bright or dark. If I don't know where it fits in the mix. So it's important, Roughnecks. I don't do any of that stuff. I'll do panning, but I won't. And levels, obviously. But I'm not gonna do any kind of a cure compression yet. And then I last keyboard is our glockenspiel glockenspiel only coming in at the end. But it's a nice touch in the high active like Listen to it without way melody in the upper range and then the base is doing it as well. Glockenspiel has an extra active to it. I really like that. Sorry, it's more production thing, an arrangement thing. But I'm gonna try to share everything. I know we're not charging any extra for that part, right? Still, just a mixing tutorial. That's the bonus material we've been talking about. It's Ken's little production tricks. Come on. All right, so now we got a clean guitars, which you remember I penned a little left in a little right, um, so grouping together on sold them and bring them down somebody that feels good You have to wash them out a little bit too. That would hold dry. Maybe we'll swap back delay on the guitars and some reverb or a bunch of river You see the bridge guitars I'm getting there I'm getting there Bridge guitars which also left and right And we can just deal with them together Bring the line down So for the bridge we actually want to turn into a bit of a rock song So guitars get a little heavier Probably not gonna push it too much We don't want make it like this That'll be a bit of not obnoxious Which is gonna add a little bit of it And then who is all right? Ready to do some vocals? I'm sure everyone wants to hear So on me is a good beginning And I get to choose Actually what I could do I could probably bring all these things in as the song plays So I'm gonna run the rough mixed now So we don't lose time And I'll bring the things in and try to balance them as they happen Let me just say this. So I'm going to run the whole song. I'm gonna try not to stop at any point and I'll bring out adjust the level on the fly. So I'm just that good. Here we go. Oh, but Mr from the top top I don't know. I do think more, don't you? I don't know. I would break the last front to get get you watch me The o No, I'm not doing anything. Thanks to I know, it seems at times you gotta know by now. Then it just fades on that Awesome. But it sounded good. It sounds good, but that's a mix. Yeah, sound again. It's hard playing that you like. Check this out. I would never take this is really not ready to hear yet.

Class Description

Kenny Gioia is a multi-platinum engineer and producer behind pop and rock records from the likes of Bayside, American Authors, Ingrid Michaelson, and Mandy Moore. He is also a trusted educator and founder of

In this mixing masterclass, Kenny will walk you through his specific mixing techniques getting top-40 friendly mixes entirely inside the box in Reaper. He will cover:

  • EQ, compression and dynamics
  • Reverb, delay and time-based effects
  • Vocal automation and vocal tone
  • Drum, guitar and bass mixing techniques
  • Mix-buss and pre-mastering tricks
If you’ve been looking for a way to get that big studio sound from your bedroom DAW setup, Kenny will show you how to get your mixes sounding like they’re radio-ready.

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this is really great mixing course, kenny has a great workflow and i learned quite a lot and it was easy to undestand, and i dont even use reaper, what you learn in this course applys to all daw and tools, which is great

Evan Phillips | Alaska

Kenny's Mixing Master Class blew my mind. His workflow and level of organization during mixing is a real eye opener. I'm also a longtime Reaper user so this is an excellent all around resource for me. I feel like I just stepped up my game. Thanks Kenny!

Geneo Van Engers

so far this has been a great training class for brushing up on the basics it would have been nice if you would of went over gain staging more and how you got the static mix level wise when faders are at zero its a little deceptive. I did appreciate the minimal set up you use though.