Welcome back. I'm Streaky. Today, I'm going to give you some top tips on how to balance a mix professionally. Now I've worked over the years in many, many big studios, and I've observed a lot of high-end mix engineers. So before we get into how to balance a mix of like a pro, make sure that you like this video. I do these videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I'm giving away a Maselec EQ at the end of this month, if I hit 50 K subs. So if you look down and you're not subscribed, make sure you are.
Now, how do we take this mindset of a professional mix engineer and bring it into your studio so that you can mix and balance exactly the same way as they do. So as a way to think about music, let's take it so that it's in a football stroke and soccer. If you're American viewer, and let's just look at how the formation of that team lines up to how you should be thinking about music. So in football, the whole point of the game is to score a goal, obviously.
So we start with a striker up front. He's the guy that scoring the goal. He then has some midfield that are supporting him, that are laying the ball to him so that he can score. He can't score on his own. Then you've got the defense. The defense is sitting there. They're supporting. They're making sure nothing's coming through. They're holding the team solid with a goalkeeper. So they make up a whole unit at the back that holds the team together to then support the mids to move the ball up the field to the strikers who are hitting the ball in the back of the net. So if you think of the person who's upfront, that person is essentially your main focus point. Now your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So that focus point will be a lead vocalist, a lead synth line, or maybe a lead guitar, whatever is the focus point at that time.
You can only think of one thing in the same way to bring the analogy together is you only have one ball on the pitch. So what is that ball being focused on at the time? It is usually the focus point at the front. Now we're going to work backwards. We've got the mids. Now, the mid people, you've probably got some backing vocalists, which is supporting the focus point. You've got some rhythm guitars, you've got some synth lines, pads, things that are just holding it up so that they can knock the ball. They can knock the focus point to the person or the thing that's up front.
And then bring coming back. We have the defense and we have the goalkeeper. Now this is our drums. This is our bass. These are just keeping the groove going nice and solid at the back. They're always just driving. You've got your center back. Who's your snare. Who's just hitting there all the time. They're there all the time working at. You don't notice them as much as you notice the center forward because that's your main focus point. But when it just drops to those, then they're holding it nice and solid together. And then we can’t start taking the ball up the field. And that's where we start always looking at the focus point. So this is really all I'm talking about. When we talk about balance. When we think about balance, think of it in this way, one thing at a time. But that's the thing that's leading the track. I know that when engineers think about this, they think, well, yeah, but I've got all these sounds because when you're mixing, you're thinking about a lot of individual people in the same way.
Let's say a football manager would be looking at loads of individual players and then seeing how they work together. That's how his mindset's working. But the person at home is only watching the ball and where the ball's gone. They're not watching everything else that's going on. The same way with music. They're not listening to how the drums are doing at the time. They're listening to the vocal or they're listening to the lead synth line or they're listening to the hook if you like. So that's really what we're talking about is looking at where the ball is. It's looking about where the focus point is. And when we're doing music the same way as when we're doing football, it's just those other things are there. They've got to be there. If they're not there, they're on their own. You might say, yeah, well, that's fine.
But what if it's just vocalist on their own? That's an acapella and that's just someone doing tricks in the backfield. So what we're doing is we're thinking about the whole thing as a sound. Now, how do you put that into practical use? How do the pro guys, which is why we're talking about this? How did they work on that focus point? How do they be the manager of the team and make sure that things are working together? There's people aren't overplaying in areas. People aren't doing certain things and everyone's fitting into their position perfectly.
So my top tip for this is monitor levels. Now this seems really obvious, but when you're in a studio, it's so easy to get volume creep and just keep going up and up. But what you've got to remember is general public people that are listening, my wife, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, they are listening just to the focus point. In the same way as I say in football, they're watching the ball. So the only way you can do that and get that right when you're mixing to get your balance, to get the focus point, work backwards down the team is to listen so quietly and so quietly.
I've got this on now. Listen. (Music playing). It's just so quiet. But all I can hear is the vocal. The vocal is right out front. It's right in there. I can't hear the drums. I can't hear anything that's going on in the bass. Nothing. I've got massive speakers. These have got bass gumming out of them galore. I can't hear any of that. All I've got is this little vocal popping out. It's all I can hear. That's all I want to hear. Once I've got that right, then I can work my way back slowly, slowly. But the key here is you can hear everything. So when it is that low, (Music playing).
Because I'm the manager of a team because I'm a mix engineer. Because I'm a mastering engineer, I'm listening to the whole thing. I know what the bass is doing. I know that sound. That's not important. I'm working on getting the focus point right. So I'm just listening to that. (Music playing). Can I hear everything else in there? Yeah, I can. Where's it sitting? So is the bass too loud? If I all I can hear now is the bass, is too loud. If all I can hear now is the snare hit in through it's too loud unless that is the part that is going to be focus point.
So now there's little keyboard bit going, which is fine because that's the focus point. Few things have dropped out to give that a bit of space. That's fine. But all I'm doing is working on the focus point. How's everything supporting it. Whereas everything sitting? What's popping out? What's not popping out? I don't want things popping out. I just want things to be supporting the focus point. That's it. I hope you get my point. Now, as a secondary thing, you want to emphasize these points as they come in. So the focus point needs to be really emphasized. And so the way to do that is add a couple of things behind the focus point to give it some more power. When you're dropping focus points out and adding a new one, drop a couple of things out and then drop a couple of new things in.
They need to still be supporting the main focal point. But when you do bigger drops like that, it's going to add more to those focus points and it's always going to take some away from the focus point. The whole reason for this is you've got switch someone's brain without them realizing. So you've got to switch them from one focus point to the next focus point, without them realizing that it's just a massive change. So it switch their brain and, and wakes them up. So if it goes from a synth line like a hook, and then it kicks in with a vocal, if you drop a couple of things out from the hook and add a couple of things, as the vocal comes in, it's a massive switch. When it comes to the mix, but it's not a massive switch to their brain, but it just twist them.
So if you're still finding this a little bit tricky, and you're wondering what the hell I'm still talking about. If you're still here, that is, then we'll go through a track together. I'll talk you through the track and I'll point out every single focus point and give tips and tricks as we go through that track. (Music playing).
So even at this first bit, we're listening to the little keyboard thing. That's why I'm getting into vocal. Nice and quiet. (Music playing). I can hear the little things in the background, just adding a little bit. When you’re listening to the vocals (Music playing). Support coming from the keyboards. (Music playing). Double vocal in there you see, just to give it some emphasis. A couple of things in. (Music playing). Back in vocal. Drop in the low out for the verse. So that is just supporting of its own. (Music playing). I know it's given a bit of a groove listening to that. (Music playing). A couple of things coming. (Music playing). Still in vocals there though isn’t it? Just up font. There are drums happening, just confusing. Things giving it a groove. It's not really in my focal range. See how many they bought a few things in there. Just really emphasized the change. But still all about focus. (Music playing). Just listen to this really quietly and you’ll hear exactly what I'm saying. It's just things just sitting in the front. Just sitting on the top. All the backing tracks doing is there just to support. (Music playing). Guitar coming in taking over the lead you see just taking that focus point. Passing the ball to each other. (Music playing).
So if you're having trouble putting your vocal in the right place, if you've just got a vocal in the backing track, watch this next video. This will tell you exactly how to get that focus point. Just sitting there, just on top of the mix, keeping the mix out the way. Thanks for watching. Make sure you subscribe and like. I'll see you on the next one.