The code of the beat.

Gain Edge in Beatmaking Through Your Own Pre-Mixing

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Pre-Mixing Gives Your Sound Design its Own Character

By AMIR SAID (“SA’ID”)

Mixing is one of the most important steps in the entire music production process. I like to call the mix process Color Mastering. Indeed, all beats start off as broad, black and white sketches; and as they evolve, they become full color images. These color images are then further embellished (mastered) by the mixing process. Hence, I look at mixing as the process of mastering the colors (sounds) that make up the images (beats/songs).

I see the way in which beatmakers and recording engineers modify sounds akin to how painters modify colors. There are all sorts of processing effects that we can use to modify the color of our music. However, the four main effects that are commonly used in Hip Hop-Rap production are: compression, reverb, delay, and chorus. Although I usually turn over the final mix duties to a professional mix engineer, I always pre-mix my own sounds and beats.

What is Pre-Mixing?

Pre-mixing is the process of modifying your beats by using basic mixing concepts, before your beats and music are tracked and recorded into multitrack recording systems. Virtually all of the new samplers, (both hardware and software), drum machines, keyboard workstations, soft synths, and sound modules contain filter, reverb, delay, and chorus effects and functions. When you use these effects—along with volume and velocity leveling—within the initial drafting and shaping of your beats, you are, in fact, pre-mixing. Pre-mixing usually involves the modest use of the default onboard (internal) effects of the gear that you’re using to make your beats. However, in some cases, pre-mixing does incorporate minimum use of external multi-effects units. In the process of pre-mixing, these effects are added to the beats prior to being recorded into a multitrack recording system. Simply put, these effects go on before your beats leave the box;” “the box” referring to your sequencer, sampler, sound module, and/or keyboard combination that you’re using.

Pre-mixing is yet another way for you to customize your overall sound. Because the process involves any number of effects and functions, pre-mixing allows you to truly carve audio composites that are specific to your own approach to beatmaking.


The BeatTips Manual by Sa’id.
“The most trusted source for information on beatmaking and hip hop/rap music education.”

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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual

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