As a hip hop producer, it is critical to have hot beats with a compelling sound and high quality audio engineering. Properly mixed rap beats inspire artists to write their best rap lyrics and speak volumes about a producer’s brand. Unfortunately, many hip hop beat makers don’t know where to begin when it comes to making rap music. The following will provide you with some simple but effective tips to mix your your beats and instrumentals.
1. Choose High Quality Drum Samples
Starting off a hip hop beat with high quality drums is essential when it comes to mixing. If you start off with weak hip hop sounds and drum samples, it will only add to your mixing work load. In addition, it can be very challenging to make low quality drums, “sound” like the high quality ones. It’s best to just start with premium quality drums from the beginning.
2. EQ All Your Instruments
EQ’ing your instrumentals is a process that involves “carving” out space in the sound spectrum. Every instrument and drum sound used in your beats has a certain frequency that it sits in. Good music producers know how to make beats so that every element sits in its proper frequency range. Mixing and Eq’ing kick drums requires different techniques as opposed to eq’ing an instrument like a snare. Be sure that you listen to the mix of your beat as a whole when eq’ing instruments.
3. Mic Live Instruments Properly
If you are recording live instrumentation on your hip hop beats such as acoustic guitar, live drums, horns, strings, etc., be sure to use the proper microphone and mic placement. This will help you get the best possible sound and most natural frequency from the instrument. When you are able to record the best sound from your instrument, it will make the mixing of your beats much less of a hassle.
4. Compress Your Hip Hop Beats
Compression is one of the necessary evils of mixing hip hop instrumentals. Compression is like the “glue” that brings everything together in a rap beat. Good compression plugins and the proper compression ratios can give your beats the extra punch and snap that they need to impress your audience.
Resources: Compression Settings For Rap Beats
5. Above All, Listen To Your Ears
When it comes to mixing, no book or person can give you every answer. You have to trust your ears. If you hear a kick drum and it sounds a bit “muddy” to you, you may want to cut the mid-range frequencies in it. If a piano sounds too “dark” you might brighten it by boosting high end frequencies. Sometimes all you need to do in a mix is turn an instrument’s volume up or down for it to sit well in the sound spectrum. Regardless, it is up to you to understand what your beat needs based off of what your ears hear. Trust your gut and you’ll be on your way to better mixing in no time.