Want to try out some of these techniques yourself? Download a free trial of iZotope’s Music Production Suite Pro membership today, and follow along.
Tip #1: Use your favorite electronic songs as references
Track referencing can be beneficial during the production, mixing, and mastering stages of your song. Essentially, this technique is used to compare sonic characteristics of your song to songs in a similar genre and style of your desired sound—in this case, electronic music.
Because good track referencing can act as such a useful guide in the audio production process, we curated ten songs that embody popular electronic music characteristics, like the handling of low end and synth-heavy four-on-the-floor beats, so you can see how the pros balance their mixes.
Check out “10 Great Reference Mixes for Electronic Music” to see how each songs’ tonal balance looks in the plug-in— free presets included—to visualize how your song stacks up against them in Tonal Balance Control Pro.
Mixing and producing at home? Tonal Balance Control Pro lets you overcome sub-optimal listening environments and get a balanced mix that translates across playback devices. You can reference your track’s frequency balance against 12 different genre targets that are based on thousands of professional masters, or even upload your own audio file to compare to a unique balance curve!
PS—Tonal Balance Control Pro is included as part of the free trial of iZotope’s Music Production Suite Pro membership.
Tip #2: Carve out space in your mix for kick and bass
Kick drums and basslines make the foundation of most electronic songs. They keep the beat moving, and the listeners dancing with low-end oomph.
But because the two instruments often occupy the same frequency space, failing to mix kick drums and bass properly can lead to what’s known as “masking.” This could cause one element to disappear in the mix, or create an overall muddy sound which can be distracting for the listener.
Thankfully, with the Masking Meter in Neutron Pro, it’s easy to identify and fix potential frequency clashes in your mix, all in one plug-in window. The highlighted areas of the spectrum indicate where there is momentary masking, with brighter lights indicating there’s more masking, so you know which areas need attention.
There’s a lot more you can do with the Masking Meter to better balance your mixes. If you want a deep dive, head to the help guide!
Tip #3: Try layering your basslines
You may make music for the club, but many people will still listen to it from laptop speakers and earbuds. For a bassline to hit hard on any system, it needs some mid-range information.
Luckily, this can be achieved with ease. In whichever DAW you’re working in, copy your sub-bass MIDI notes to a new track with a grittier mid-range synth. To get a clear sound you will probably have to bump the notes up a few octaves. This second layer adds presence to your bass in the frequencies that the sub just can’t reach. It also allows you to incorporate more bassline movement via accents, drastic pitch bends, and EQ while keeping the real bass intact.
If your bass doesn’t sound full enough with just two layers, it could benefit from a third, top-end only layer. Follow the same process of copying your MIDI notes over to a new track and high-pass the third layer at 2–3 kHz so it doesn’t conflict with the bottom two layers. Sidechain all bass layers to the kick drum.
Start listening and mixing better with these techniques
It’s time to put these tips to work. The plug-ins mentioned in this article are from iZotope, industry leaders in advanced plug-in technology that create tools to cut down on time and maximize quality. Take Neutron’s Mix Assistant or Ozone’s Master Assistant: these plug-ins are designed to give you custom starting points for all your tracks and each one of your masters. They not only help you sound better, they will teach you how to sound better as well, in a way that’s both creative and efficient.
Many iZotope plug-ins can also talk to each other through inter-plugin communication, letting you do things like adjust both a kick drum and a bass guitar simultaneously so they won’t compete in the mix. Tools like this save time throughout the production process, whether you’re recording, mixing, polishing vocals, or mastering.
Access these tools to make your music sound better in the Music Production Suite Pro membership. ($19.99/month or $199.90/year). You can try it free for 7 days, giving you access to all the following tools and resources:
Plug-ins (over $2,000 MSRP total)
- RX Pro for Music, for industry-leading audio repair
- Insight Pro for advanced metering and visualizations
- Ozone Pro for intuitive mastering
- Neutron Pro for intelligent mixing
- Nectar Pro for specialized vocal mixing
- VocalSynth Pro for vocal sound design
- Neoverb Pro for blendable reverb
- Tonal Balance Control Pro for intelligent metering
- iZotope Visual Mixer & Relay, a more intuitive way to mix
- Melodyne 5 essential from Celemony, for industry-famous pitch correction
- Groove3 membership included
*Groove3 1-year All Access Pass included with yearly Music Production Suite Pro membership only
Other Membership Perks
- Exclusive preset and sample packs
- Vocal production lessons from Berklee Online®
- Mixing, mastering, and production lessons from Reid Stefan
- Mastering lessons from Are You Listening?
- Curated iZotope tutorials
- Future updates to iZotope plug-ins in your membership
Explore iZotope’s Music Production Suite Pro membership and start a free, 7-day trial. Happy releasing!