Your approach to the Mixing Process

Just said I’d ask how people approach mixing trailer/orchestral music?

Do you use a template that you’ve pre mixed?..Do you start from scratch and mix everything as a separate process?

Do you mix each section (strings brass etc) separately first before the sections together…

How do you approach reverb?..

I have a few different templates set up…I’m not really happy with them…I’m thinking I’m going to set up some more…

Just said see if it would get a discussion going here…

Thanks, Patrick…


Great question Patrick,
Personally I have a template for composing, that I also use for mixing. And I favor mixing mainly focusing on the instrument groups. So percussion group, bass group, strings group etc. I do have default “mixing group effect chains” for each instrument section. So for example, my bass group has a different default setup of the chain of insert effects than my strings etc.

Then I actually master in the same project too, on the master stereo output, where I have a default mastering chain. I prefer individual FX plugins in a chain right now, but I know many people use all in one plugins like Ozone.

After being a member of Produce Like A Pro community for one year I understood when it comes to a mixing process there is almost no difference between mixing Orchestral and any other music genres. It’s not about reverb or plugins in general is always about the good sound. To achieve a good sound you should prepare all of your virtual instruments for mixing, so it’s like tracking real instruments , with no plugins all of your virtual instruments should sound good, so in this case you should work on dynamics, velocity levels, expression, modulation wheels.
Then you should know your plugins it’s not about some specific plugins , third party or stock ones it’s how you work with them.
Highly recommend you to watch this video-

Even if Alan is mixing Hans Zimmer’s score from “Wonder Woman” and he is mixing real orchestra in Pro Tools, so you can apply his technique for mixing your Orchestral/ trailer music. But first of all you should know your stuff and how to work with it!

Hey… thanks for that video… tbh I don’t really get as far as mixing… I’ve a roughly mixed template and just go from there… one downside of this is that I don’t tend to vary the sounds…I’ve been thinking of trying to go for a more modular approach…to be able to pull in a particular string, brass and winds section when setting up the session…
The templates I have don’t tend to have too much mixing processing going on at all…I don’t really do anything to individual channels, and not much to the busses…
The percussion side of my music really suffers from the lack of mixing I think…

Hi @cqd,

you can have different approaches, there is no right or wrong. If you don’t mind, I write down my personal process…

The best thing is actually to have a simple and fast start in your production session. So if you can set up your libraries in a way, that you just activate the instances and start playing with the sound, you will be much faster with your creative process (the most important libraries are loaded in my RAM). My template looks like this: String-Section…almost all the strings I have…solo…ensemble etc., Brass-Section…same thing…WWs, Percussion, Synths, Pianos, SFXs, you name it…

When you open your mix-window, all your sections should go to busses…first small busses, like Strings-Legato, Strings-Staccato, etc. these busses go to the bigger busses, Strings-Busses. Here you can pre-mix your sections…EQ (LowCuts), Compression, Saturation, Sends etc. the real mixing process is done later, because every track is different, even if you have exactly the same instruments used…

At the end you should have around 8-10 Instrument-Busses, maybe more depends on how many sections you really want to have separate. Then you could have 3 Delays and 3 Reverbs, from short to long delays/reverbs. You can have other FXs as well. Your sections can get different reverbs this way and later you can glue your track with one good and solid reverb together. Don’t overdo it, otherwise your music will sounds too wet and muddy. That’s what I hear a lot in todays productions. People through the longest reverb on their music-bus and they think the track will sound more professional etc. the truth is, that you can hear at this point who is pro and who is a beginner. Never overuse your reverb. The reverb should be more felt, than heard. You can EQ your reverb, cut the lows and highs, so you don’t muddy up your mix. You can duck it, so your track is more present and tight, but still feels big and natural. You can saturate your reverb, to give it more character. You can compress your reverb, so it is more glued to the track. You can chorus your reverb to give it even more space. You can automate your reverb, to give your track more excitement! You can do whatever you feel is right to you. But the best advice is: Take a plugin, insert it before or after your reverb and have a listen…maybe it will be your next secret weapon for your next project :slight_smile:

After this step you could have a music, vocals and a separate FX-Bus, these 3 go to your AllMusic-Bus (that’s how I call it). Your AllMusic-Bus could have a send to a Parallel-Compression-Bus, all depends on what sound you want to achieve. If I have the PA-Bus as well, I will have a ALLFINAL-Bus, which is my “Master-Bus” for everything I have. The DAW-Bus is only used for analysing and referencing stuff. No Plugins here at all.

That’s how I like to work on my tracks.

PS: I don’t have a separate mixing-template. I mix in my production-template (print the tracks, which are done). At all times I can active my tracks back and change, whatever I have in mind. I like it, because it gives me more freedom and flexibility. I don’t like to have a separate mixing-template, because if I find something, which bothers me, I have to go back to the production-template, which costs a lot of time. That’s why I like to work in my all-production-template. If you can organise your tracks well, structure, colours, groups, folders etc. you can’t get lost, even if have more than 1000 tracks.



Some interesting info here thanks, I’ve been taking many a course of mixing and mastering lately, so a lot reinforces the good habits they suggest.

I’d also add ( in Logic Pro x ) a nice trick when it comes to Mastering is to use different Eq’s on the sides and Mids , an option you can do in new logic pro , especially nice in their new EQ’s like linear eq and it helps to expand the sound and give it room if there’s a lot going on


Hi @BenBeard,

don’t overthink the mixing process, especially with the question “Should I use a linear phase, or a normal phase EQ…” It’s a long discussion for years, but if you read good articles or watch real mixing pro’s what they say, it’s not about this question at all. There will be always pros and cons, but at the end of the day, it’s about your music, emotion and how you hear things in your head. The technical side is really important, but will be still on 2nd place :wink:

Best regards,

Not over thinking , just something different to try is all :slight_smile: with all these things is personal preference on the sound, was merely giving him another suggestion to try which has helped in my mixes.