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Our final step for today’s portion of The Beginner’s Guide To Mixing is potentially one of the most critical of them all. At this point in the process we want to establish each track’s ideal volume position, relative to the other tracks in the mix. You might have already done some of this in the previous step (as seen in those videos), but here is where you want to finalize the volume for every track.
Every track has an optimal volume fader position. Your job is to find it. This takes lots of repeated listening, in context of the mix of course. Your goal is to find that one volume spot for each track where it plays its role well and just about every part of the song. It won’t be perfect (i.e. you’ll likely need some volume automation down the road), but it will be 90% of the way there.
This one step is so critical because it not only is the majority of your mix’s sound, but it affects everything you do next with EQ, compression, effects, even automation. I honestly try and pretend that I have no plugins to use, only volume faders. This forces me to find the sweet spot for each track and make a compelling mix with no effects!

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