5 Mixing tips for LoFi Hip Hop
Mixing is one of the most challenging tasks in the life of a producer. Misc Inc shows you 5 mixing tips on how to achieve a cleaner and louder mix.
1. Panning is your friend
Panning several Instruments to the left and right of your stereo field, can help clean up your mix. Especially instruments playing in the same frequency range can be separated by panning them even just a tiny bit. Don’t be affraid to pan your piano hard to the left or your guitar hard to the right. What sounds good is good.
Make sure that your kick & bass is still in the center of your mix, so it translates best to other monitoring systems.
2. Using Reverb Returns
When applying reverb on any of your tracks, consider the option of using them on returnchannels. Setting the dry/wet knob to 100% wet, you make sure that just the reverb signal is coming out of your return channel. This way your create a room for several insturments, which glues those instruments together. It sounds like they have been recorded in the same room.
Another advantage is that you can edit your reverbtails separately, which can clean your mix a lot.
Try to only use 2-3 different reverbs. My setup is usually one reverb for with very short decay time (preferably for your drums), one platereverb with a decay of round 4s and a huge reverb with a decay of 10+s for automations and effects.
3. Sidechain your returnchannel to the input
With the possibility of processing the reverbtail separately, you can use sidechaincompression to duck the reverb, when the dry signal is playing. This way your reverb doesn’t clash with the original signal and your mix sounds a lot cleaner, without the loss of the added space.
This technique can also applied to delayreturn channels.
4. Mix in mono
Checking your mix in mono from time to time is good way to get a new perspective on your mix. Especially when mixing LoFi beats, I tend to use a lot of stereo imaging, reverb and delays. While all these tools make your mix very lush and spacious, I sometimes loose the focus on which elements are most important and if the mix is hitting hard enough.
By switching to mono, you get a clear perspective of how your mix sounds on other monitoring systems and how well your instruments are mixed. You can also hear when you have some phase cancellation issues. Balancing the levels of your tracks in mono, gives you a much more objective way of how it should sound. If it sounds well then, switch back to stereo and get suprised how much better your mix will sound.
5. Grouping instruments together
Last tip also applies for the production stage of your LoFi Hip Hop track. By grouping similar instruments together, you’ll get a better organization in your session. Also you can process those groups of sounds and really glue your drums for example together. Working with those busgroups also helps you with gainstaging and getting to the final stage of your track -> the mastering.