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The latest track is sounding great. It’s all balanced, you have everything sitting nice, sounding punchy. What do I do next? How can I add that extra special something to take the track to the next level?

Here’s some tips to add some polish to your mix. Give them a try next time you’re in the studio.

  1. Saturation – Saturation can liven up the texture of whatever the sound you’re adding it too. Also, worth remembering that Saturation is not limited to emulation plugins – any piece of hardware can be used as a saturator –  so it’s worthwhile experimenting with any pre-amps etc you have laying around as when overdriven they can add some unique textures and frequencies in a sound.
  2. Get the Exciters and Enhancers out. Harmonic exciters or enhancers are a really quick and easy way give your track that extra omphhh.  Take it easy with these plugins, as you can easily go overboard with them. Exciters can add some really nice, colorful harmonics to a sound that will help lift them up and shine even further in a mix. These effects should not be a substitute for EQ, but work alongside them.
  3. Parallel Distortion. Make a copy of the sound you want to use and run that through some distortion. Then add EQ to bring out the frequency you like. Try sticking on a hi-pass and low-pass on the copy to get a thicker mid-range. Now take the copied signal and start blending it in against the original, until you get a sound you like. 
  4. Modulation – Modulation based effect such as flangers and phasers can help make a mix more interesting, add some movement and life to an otherwise lifeless sound. Try Soundtoys, Waves and even your DAW’s built in effects, see what you come with. Use sparingly.
  5. Short Reverb – Short reverbs used correctly can make your source audio brighter. Try using instead of EQ, they can really bring a sound alive. 

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