Want to know how most professional producers get that clear sound in every song you listen to?

To get an explosive mix, there are six elements to work on that serve as a roadmap to professional results Balance, Frequency Range, Pan, Dimension, Dynamics and Interest.

Working on each of these elements can be very tedious and frustrating if the clues you have been given are not arranged correctly. Today I'm going to talk you about the first step to get a balanced mix through a good arrangement and making it easy for you to fit all the instruments together so that everything sounds clear and crisp.

Whether you are a composer or a music producer, it is your responsibility to make sure that the arrangement is as well prepared as possible so that when the mixing phase arrives you can achieve a powerful, clear and explosive sound. The arrangement has to be the first thing you have to think about when you start working on a new production, write it down well, because this is the starting point of any great mix, and from now on it has to be for you too.

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If you are interested in knowing how to start your mixes so that they end up sounding as clear as any commercial song, watch the following video

How do we start preparing the arrangement?

Well, first of all, for your works to have a clear, crisp and professional sound is to create space for each instrument, so that each one can shine when needed and not be overlapped by any of the other elements, it is to apply what I call

Rule of the 5 elements

The main rule so that all instruments are heard clearly and do not overlap each other, is to limit the number of instruments playing at the same time. This means that we can't have all the tracks playing simultaneously, because as you can imagine, absolutely nothing will be understood. It sounds simple, but do you know how many producers don't know this concept In the end, even if you don't know this, it doesn't mean that your mixes won't sound clean and clear, but as I have seen in countless occasions, at the end of a long process of trial and error, of fighting with the mix, and of frustrations for not finding a clean sound, either you end up throwing in the towel, or you end up getting to this same point, many times without knowing it, which ends up forcing you to keep making the same mistakes one mix after another, spending a lot of unnecessary hours trying to find that spark that I am going to put in your hand.

The first thing we have to do, is to group our instruments within the different elements that compose the arrangement, which are four and that I explain below:

- Foundation: It would correspond to the rhythmic part of the song, almost always the drums, the bass, although depending on the musical genre they could be replaced by others. Rhythm guitars and keyboards could also be included in this section when they play this role.

- Rhythm: These are those elements of the song, which are played against the base element, but without clashing with it, creating emotion and rhythmic interest to the song. This role, depending on the genre of music, can be played by instruments such as a guitar, a piano, in Latin music by congas or some other type of percussion.

- Pad: Instruments that play prolonged notes or chords, to create an atmospheric effect, usually synthesizers, or a Hammond organ, or also a string section or a guitar. These notes or chords usually change only with a chord change in the chord progression of the song.

- Lead: This is the instrument that plays the main part of the song, which must be supported by the other instruments. In most music it is the vocal part of the song, although it can also be any melody played by any other instrument that at that moment or during the whole song, if it is an instrumental song, plays the main melody.

Additionally, Bobby Owsinski, in his fantastic book The Mixing Engineer's Handbook, includes an additional element to these four, which is the Filler.

- Fills: is the part that is played between the spaces that are left in the interpretation of the parts of the main melody, it is a preposition to it. Normally, this element is part of any of the other three elements (Base, Rhythm or Pad), but in some occasions, an instrument or a part of it acts as a filler, being a separate element, so in these occasions it makes sense to treat it this way. The filler gives interest to the song, trying to surprise the listener and avoid falling into monotony.

It is important to think that in the end music production is a part of an artistic creation, and as an art, there are innumerable ways to reach the result we expect, so there is no written rule that cannot be broken. The four-element rule is important, and will ensure you get clear and clean mixes in an objective way, but this is not to say that all producers follow this to the letter. You have a lot of commercial productions that do not follow this rule, artists like The Beatles or Pink Floyd in many of their songs, where you can hear countless things happening at the same time, skip this rule, and they are great songs that today are already part of the history of music, but realize the stature of musicians they were and the technical equipment they had behind them.

I hope you have found this information useful and that it will help you to make better mixes. We will be leaving here more interesting topics that you can consult whenever you want.

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