Welcome to JR Mixing and Mastering services. YES, we are fully open (2-4 day turn-around). I can't wait to get started on your project. But most of all, stay healthy and safe! - JR

jrmasteringsmall

set mixing level meters

Correctly setting your mixing levels before mastering is essential for great mastering results.  Having the best DB levels for mixing is critical.  Here's how to properly do it! 

 

Note - It doesn't matter what DAW software you use FL Studio, Pro Tools, Logic, Reason, Cubase, Sonar or Ableton, my setting mixing levels examples and instructions apply to all of them.  Read more....

 

VIDEO - Setting Your Mixing Levels Before Mastering

 

  audio mastering secrets        subscribe youtube
 

How To Set Mixing Levels

Each channel on your mixer board has a level meter for the individual vocal and instrument tracks you've recorded.  You also have a main/stereo out that has a level meter for ALL the tracks combined. The mixing levels for each instrument should NEVER go over 0 level, and your mixing levels on your main/stereo out should never go over 0 level. 

There's really no need to because overall volume boosts are done in mastering NOT mixing!  And, most of the time going over-level means instant distortion on the track.

The photos below are level meters from two different guitar track.  Guitar Track 1 peaks a few dbs under 0 level and is great.  Guitar Track 2 is several dbs OVER 0 level and will badly distort. 

The fix - Simply pull down the fader on Guitar track 2 a few dbs so it's no longer over-level!!  This is VERY basic stuff here, but you'd be surprised how many sound engineers out there don't know this!

 

Guitar Track 1

Guitar Track 2

 

            over-level1             

       

             over-level2              

 Under 0 Level  WAY Over-Level!!

 

What If You Need To Make A Track Louder, But Can't Without Going Over-Level?

This is a VERY common problem with sound engineers who are new to mixing.  They need to make one track louder to cut through the mixing, but in doing so, it goes way over-level. 

Here's the simple solution!

  • Highlight ALL the tracks in your mix and link them all together.
  • Then pull down the faders (roughly -5db) on ALL of the tracks in the entire song. 
  • Now unlink them. 

Every track is now at least -5db below 0 level, if not more.  Now you can start raising the volume on the tracks that need it. 

Note:  If you run into this exact same problem again, you can keep repeating this process until you have a nice track to track volume balance.  Read more....


How To Set Mixing Levels And Know They're Good For Mastering

Usually, if you don't go over-level on any of your individual mixer board channels you automatically won't go over-level on your main/stereo out.  And your levels will be perfect for mastering, leaving enough headroom.  BUT, if the main/stereo out meter is over-level and you didn't go over-level on any of the individual channels, simply pull the fader down a few dbs until it isn't.

"Overall volume level is adjusted in MASTERING, not in MIXING.  Your job in mixing is to stay under 0 level on all of your meters. Don't crank up your faders and distort everything, trying to get as loud as the songs on the radio!  It doesn't work that way!"

 

And Of Course, If You Want Your Songs To Sound AMAZING!
Check out my low Online Mastering Prices.  Incredible results at an affordable price!

 

So How Should My .Wav Files Look If I Have Correctly Set My Mixing Levels Before Mastering?

Export your mix, and then import it back into your DAW program so you can see how your .wav file looks. 

The examples below show how your .wav files should (and shouldn't) look.  If yours looks like photo Wav 5 or Wav 6, don't even waste your time and upload it!  The song basically cannot be mastered.  Start reading this article from the top and adjust your levels!

 

Wav 1.

This file is -6db under 0 level.  A little low, but I can work with this in mastering.

 wav1

 

Wav 2.
This file is -3db under 0 level.  The is "industry standard," what mastering engineers request.

This is the ideal amount of headroom for mastering.

wav2

 

Wav 3.

This file peaks at exactly 0db.  It doesn't go over-level and there are no flat spots.  Still good!

wav3

 

Wav 4.
This file is +3db over 0 level.  All the flat spots are distortion.  I can master this and it will

sound much "better" but in most cases it won't sound "great!"  Lower your levels!

 wav4

 

Wav 5.

This file is +6db over-level!  Completely distorted from beginning to end!

I can't do ANYTHING with this file!  NO ONE CAN!!  Remix this MUCH LOWER!

wav5

 

Wav 6.
This is an interesting file.  It's completely distorted with no dynamic range, but its
still -3db on the main/stereo out.

.wav6

 

The mixer either:

A. Had something similar to Wav 5 above and just gained the file down -9db.
B. Some or all of the individual mixer channels are over-level, and the master/stereo out fader was
pulled down -9db.

 

Either way, this can't be mastered with good results.  Once your song is over-level and distorted you can't just lower the volume of the entire song.   You're just making the distortion quieter, not less intense.

For example - This would be like having a sweater with a huge hole, and then washing it in real hot water to try and shrink it.  Yes, you effectively made the hole smaller because now the entire sweater is smaller.  BUT, you still have an unusable sweater with a big hole in it!!  You didn't solve the problem!

 

Properly setting your mixing levels before mastering is a very important part of the mixing process.  I hope this article explained it for you!

 

If you've made it this far, you pretty much know how to set you mixing levels properly.  Now you need to know how to MASTER your own music properly.  Read more....
 

The Music Production Secrets Series
by John Rogers

  

My Best Mixing & Mastering Articles

What Is Audio Mastering?

9 what is audio mastering

What is audio mastering?  I've seen a lot of different answers on the Internet to this simple question.  Some were pretty technical and confusing.

 

Read more ...
Mastering Hardware Equipment You Need For Your DAW Home Recording Studio

7 mastering hardware equipment daw recording studio

Here's the basic hardware you need to master music:

 

Read more ...
Set Mixing Levels For Each Instrument

How to set mixing levels for each instrument is a question I see all over the Internet.  I'm going to explain exactly how to set mixing levels in this article.

 

Read more ...
Creating Headroom In A Mix

17 how create headroom in mix

To create a mix for mastering with proper headroom is pretty simple. 

 

Read more ...
How To Master A Song In Only 5 Minutes!

Would you like to know how to master a song or how to master your own music?  So many people think just making the volumes the same level for every song is "mastering" their CD.  Well, mastering is a lot more than just that! 

 

Read more ...
Should Your Mix Sound Close To A Mastered Song?

13 mix sound like master

Note - This section is basically a tip for those of you working with clients or if you plan on submitting your mixes to a mastering engineer.

 

Read more ...
Stereo Widening Techniques | How To Use Stereo Widening In Mastering Music

Here are a few great stereo widening techniques and how to use them in music.  When you listen to music on a car radio, you want that wide stereo sound that extends from the left door to the right. Not just two feet wide right above the stereo!

 

Read more ...
What Software Do You Need For Audio Mastering?

2 software for audio mastering

If you've mixed songs in the past, you more than likely can use that same software for audio mastering. As long as you can add effects to the stereo/main out bus, you're good to go.  Read more....

 

Read more ...
#1 Best Website Hosting For Musicians, And Music Recording Studios

If you're looking for the best website hosting for musicians, bands, and music recording studios, here's my own personal experience with website hosting companies.

 

Read more ...
Why Does A Mix Need Headroom And Dynamic Range?

16 why do songs need mastering

Why does a mix need headroom and dynamic range?  In one sentence, it gives the mastering engineer more room to work with.
 

Read more ...
The Sound Engineer SCAM! Does More Expensive Mean Better?


The sound engineer scam, the online recording studio ripoff, whatever you want to call it.  I hear about it 3-4 times a month from my clients, since 1999.  It never changes!

 

Read more ...
Mastering Compression Techniques

This video shows one of the more imptotant compression techniques I use in audio mastering.  In my audio Mastering Secrets Video Series, I explain everything you need to know about audio mastering.

 

Read more ...
What Is Headroom In Mastering?

15 what is headroom in mastering

In order to produce a good master, a mix needs proper headroom and dynamic range.

 

Read more ...
Why Do Songs Need To Be Mastered?

12 why need audio mastering

Why do songs need to be mastered?  I've seen this question on the Internet many times.  The answer I always see is "Because all songs on the radio have been professionally mastered, yours should be too."  This is a true fact, but not an answer.

 

Read more ...
How To Mix And Master Songs

If you're into "do it yourself projects" my mastering book will show you EXACTLY how I mastered every style of music on this website.  Get it here Audio Mastering Secrets!

Best Mixing Levels Before Mastering

set mixing level meters

Correctly setting your mixing levels before mastering is essential for great mastering results.  Having the best DB levels for mixing is critical.  Here's how to properly do it! 

 

Read more ...
John Rogers - Danceur Magazine Interview (July 2018)

Since the begining of his solo career in 2008, I mastered over 80 songs with the top French recording artist NYLS.  Great pop dance music with a lot of remixes.  During his entire career (as of now), I mastered most of if not all the song he released.  It was a great pleasure working with NYLS and Nico at Icon Records!

Read more ...
What Is Reverb Effect In Music | How To Use Reverb

This article discusses what is the reverb effect in music and how to use it?  The reverb effect is used to simulate space. When reverb is applied to a dry vocal or instrument track, it will sound like it was recorded live in the space size that was selected on the processor. Common space size options include a small room, vocal plate, large hall, etc.

 

Read more ...
Cheaply Soundproofing Your Room For Audio Mastering

1 cheaply soundproofing room studio

I had to write a quick note on this, as I was reminded about it while thumbing through a popular mixing book that had a 15 page section on speaker resonance and room sound proofing.  I must say, a very exciting 15 pages!  Ha!

 

Read more ...
Best Room Size For Audio Mastering DAW Home Recording Studio

6 best room size for audio mastering

So, what is the best room size for audio mastering in your DAW home recording studio?  Technically, you can properly mix or master in any room size.  But, I believe a smaller room is better than a very large one for someone who's just starting out. And when I say smaller I mean closer to 12'x15' than to 20'x30'.  I've mixed and mastered songs for a number of years in a 20'x30' room.  It took me a few days to get used to it, but after that I could do it.

 

Read more ...
What Does Channel Mean In Music And Mixing?

It's the most basic of all questions, but someone asks it at least once a week.  In this article, I will explain what channel means in music and mixing

 

Read more ...
Can Anyone Become A Great Sound Engineer?

11 become great sound engineer

I would say YES, most people can become a great mastering engineer. I say this because most of the mixes I receive from clients are pretty good and I know the audio engineer (the band member with a computer) has only minimal training.  He could easily be great if he put a little more study and practice time into it.  And if he had this book to teach him what took me over 17 years to learn!  Ha!

 

Read more ...
Fixing A Bad Mix With Mastering

A lot of mastering engineers are afraid to make drastic changes to a mix they are working on.  That, or they're stuck in the familiarity of always making only small changes. 

In this video I show how you can turn a weak mix (definitely wouldn't call it bad) into a great sounding master, simply by pushing your levels a little more than you might be used to.

 

Read more ...
What Is Chorus Effect In Music | How To Use Chorus

This article discusses what is the chorus effect in music and how to use it?  The chorus effect makes a single audio track sound like a group. It achieves this by taking a single instrument or vocal track, multiplying it, and then slightly detunes each newly created track. The result is a fuller lush sounding audio track.

 

Read more ...
How To Prepare Your Songs For Mixing
prepare songs for mixing

In this article, I'll show you how to prepare your songs for mixing.

 

Read more ...
Go to top