Mixing Trap Beats, The importance of level's (FOR BEGINNERS!!!)


New member
One of the most frequent questions asked by upcoming producers is, "how do I get my beats to punch like the ones I hear on the radio?" Many new comers feel in order to get their kicks and 808s to punch and there snares to slap, they need to raise the volume when in fact this is not the right approach. The key to getting your beats to punch is to actually lower the faders instead of raising them. Weird right? But see the truth is, you can get a great, full sounding mix, just by adjusting faders and pan pots! Let me explain. We all want our kicks to thump through the speakers like Vybe, johnny juliano, metro boomin, sonny digital etc. right? So lets think about it this way, if its the Kick drum that we want to hear loud and clear, lets just make that our focal point, meaning, lets let the kick be the loudest sound in the mix by letting it hit the meter around 0 - -5 db and let every other element of the song sit underneath it. Next order of business is the infamous, 808 Sub bass! Everybody wants to know how the pros get their 808s to sit so perfectly in the mix. Besides good 808 samples/vsts (ex.808 Gods, Urban 808, 808 massacre) and some processing (saturation, distortion, heavy compression),the key is getting the level right! Levels are the key to a great mix! We want that 808 to sit right beneath the kick drum level, but we also want to be sure to leave some room for processing the 808 as well. I personally feel a 5-8db differential between the kick and the 808 is more than enough, be sure to use your own ear though! So now we have our kick sitting around 0 and -5 db and our 808 sitting between -10 and -20 db. At this point you should be able to hear your kick punching while your 808 is sitting right underneath it. The Next thing you should set your focus to is your snare drum. The snare is the next most important element that you want to make sure people will hear. I normally let the snare hit around -5 db, its okay to have the snare and kick drum hitting at the same volume on the meters because its very rare that both your kick and snare are hitting at the same time in your drum patterns. After you have these three elements sounding punchy and audible the rest of the mix sits under the levels you set for your kick, snare, and 808. My personal approach is to finish setting levels for the rest of the drums. After I get the drums sounding clear, I then start raising the volumes of my instuments in order of importance. For example, if I know my piano riff is the most important melodic element of the song, I raise it until I can hear it clearly but still have it sitting behind/under my drums. I then start going down the list in order of importance, more important sounds will be more audible than others. I really hope I cleared up some things for you guys and girls just starting out! REMEMBER ALWAYS, LEVELS/METERING BEFORE PROCESSING OF ANY KIND!!! Get your levels right before you start messing around with eq's and compressors.