Mixing Beats in Reaper: How to Mix Trap Beats for Beginners | Alexandre Machado | Skillshare

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Mixing Beats in Reaper: How to Mix Trap Beats for Beginners

teacher avatar Alexandre Machado

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Setting Up the Mixing Session

    • 3. Setting Up the Spectrum Analyzer

    • 4. Balancing the Instruments and the Elements of the Beat

    • 5. Equalizing the Instrument Tracks

    • 6. Adding Effects to the Instrument Tracks

    • 7. Processing the Master Channel

    • 8. Exporting the Audio File

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

Hello everyone!

In this class, you will learn everything you need to create a pro sounding mix for your beats. The techniques you are going to learn can be used on your personal music projects or even to even to gather more clients as a mixing engineer. This course is perfect for beginners and intermediate engineers and/or producers. Even though I'm using Reaper, you can replicate the techniques using any DAW.

You’ll learn:

- How to objectively balance your tracks, without guessing or having to double check your levels

- How to clean the sound using EQ

- How to add and balance essential effects on the tracks

- How to process the master bus for competitive loudness

At the end of the course, you will be able to mix your own beats from scratch with consistent results every single time.

This course contains original information that you cannot find anywhere else (simply because the techniques - especially the balancing technique - were developed by me). I've been making music for more than 20 years now and I hope to teach you something new!

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1. Introduction: Hello. In this class, you will learn everything you need to create a pro sounding mix for your beats. The techniques I'm going to present can be used on your personal music projects or even to gather more clients as a mixing engineer. This course is perfect for beginners and intermediate producers. Even though I'm using Reaper, you can replicate the techniques using any DAW. You'll learn how to objectively balance your tracks without guessing or having to double-check your levels. How to clean the mix using EQ, how to add an imbalance of central effects on the tracks, and how to process the master bus for competitive loudness. This course contains original information that you cannot find anywhere else. Simply because the techniques, especially the balancing technique, were developed by me. Let's listen to the final result of the track that was mixed in the course. Okay. Hello. 2. Setting Up the Mixing Session: Hello. Before we can start working on a mix, it is important to organize this session. To do so, we first need to locate the audio files within the explorer. Hold Shift to select them all at once, and drag the files into Reaper. Click on separate tracks. And Reaper will automatically create multiple channels. After that, we need to organize the channels. I want my transitions to be at the very beginning of the list. Then kick 800 eight and clap. I also want the snap to be close to the drums. Hi hat. Then open hats and perks. And finally the melodies. Okay? I also want to create a group for my melodies. To do so. I just need to double-click anywhere on this gray area where there are no tracks and Reaper will create a new channel. Then I will bring this new channel closer to the melodies. Select all the melody tracks while holding Shift, and then drag the selected channels into the new channel we have just created. Now, we can start coloring the tracks. Just select the tracks you want to color. Right-click. Select Track Color and subtracts to custom color. Choose the color you want to use. For the transitions. I will use a light green for the drums, and I will select a light blue. For the perks. I will pick a light yellow. And for the melodies, I will choose a light pink. Now, I also want to create a semester channel. I will click twice on the gray area to create a new track. Drag it to the beginning of the track list. Select all the other channels while holding Shift, and drag them into the new track we have just created. You can click twice on this empty space at the bottom of each channel to rename it. Now, let's add a volume adjustment plugging into the master channel simply to make the audio louder for the video. I believe the plugin on the default six dB boost. And I will also insert folks and go span on the master channel, which is the spectrum analyzer we are going to use on the balancing stage of the mix. I will also take the opportunity to rename the melody group track. Okay, So that's it. The session is properly organized and now we can start mixing the track. From here. Just watch the remaining videos. And I will teach you everything you need to do to achieve a professional sounding mix. 3. Setting Up the Spectrum Analyzer: Hello, welcome to mixing beats and rebirth. Without wasting too much time, Let's jump directly into the subject and address what really matters. First of all, in order to mix the beat, I'm going to use a free spectrum analyzer by votes and go, which is called span. It is already inserted on my master channel. The factory setting of span is not adequate for the technique I will demonstrate. So let's click on the little gear icon at the right corner of the plugin and set it up properly. Change the type to max, the block size to 65 K. The overlap to max. Turn on the anti-alias and change the smooth to 1. Third, this will make the spectrum analyzer better represent the way we perceive frequencies and also record the maximum values each time we play the audio. So the first step is to adjust the spectrum analyzer as we just did. Then we're basically going to use the level meters inside span to balance each instrument. Each instrument is going to have a reference value. And we will need to adjust the fader according to these references. I believe the faders all the way down. So we can start from scratch on the next video. 4. Balancing the Instruments and the Elements of the Beat: In this video, we are going to talk about balancing, which is the most important part of mixing. As already discussed on the previous video, we will adjust the levels of the most important instruments using the spectrum analyzer. So let's start with the kick. And the kick to hit around negative 40 to OneSpan. Let's hear how it sounds. It's too low. We can raise it a bit more. Excellent. It is just about the negative 42 line. Now, let's work on the clap. I need to clap to hit around negative 48 on span. So let's try to get it balanced. Perfect. If it is hitting around the negative 48 line, I'm satisfied. The next instrument I'm going to balance is the high hat. It is important to play one single hit because playing multiple hats at once may change how the analyzer reads the levels. I wanted to hit around negative 52 on span. Let's get it balanced. It is reading negative 52, which is the exact reference level. Now let's hear how it sounds together with the kick and the clap. Great. Now we need to balance the 800 eight with the other elements. I want it to be around negative 42, just like we did for the kick. Let's raise the volume to hear how it sounds. To me. I will simply round the number on the fader to keep things organized. And let's play all the instruments together to listen how they are sounding. Awesome. Now, let's take a look at the melodies. To balance the melodies. We're not going to use the spectrum analyzer. The first thing I'm gonna do is to balance the melodic elements against each other using my ears. After balancing the individual melodies using your ears, you can use the beat meter on your DAW to kinda match the levels of the melodies as a group against whatever the reading for your high hat is. Perfect, right about there seems to be fine. Notice that the peak level of the melodies have been closely matched to the hi-hats. Now, we are going to repeat this process to balance the remaining elements against the peak reading of the high hat. Now we just need to balance the transitions. For this task. We're going to use the spectrum analyzer one more time. Let's reopen the analyzer. I want them to hit somewhere between negative 60 and negative 54 on span. So let's do it. The first one is done. Now we have one more to go. Remember we are aiming for the area between negative 60 and negative 54. Excellent. Now that we're done balancing the tracks, let's hear how they sound together. 5. Equalizing the Instrument Tracks: Well, the next step is to use an equalizer to clean up the low end of each track. If the beat was made with good quality samples, we won't need to do a lot in terms of EQ. Let's start with the kick drum. I will insert reapers native equalizer, which is called RIA EQ. Now change the lowest band to high-pass filter and set the frequency to 30 hertz. Then do the exact same for the 800 eight, changed the lowest band to high-pass to get rid of unwanted rumble and set it to 30 hertz. This will help cleaning frequencies we can't hear. Therefore increasing the headroom for us to push the levels harder at the last stage of the process. For the remaining tracks, except for the melodies. We're going to set the high-pass filter to 100 hertz. After setting the first, simply hold control and copy the VQ across the others. For the melodies, we're going to insert the EQ and set the high pass filter to 200 hertz. You can also use another band to cut some of the low mids. You will need to listen and judge whether it needs or not. You can sweep to locate any annoying frequencies and then make a cut of the selected point. This region sounds unpleasant to me. So I can simply take some energy away with the EQ. As for the transitions, I will leave them without any processing. So let's hear how the track sounds after the EQ. You have probably noticed how the EQ make the beat sound a lot cleaner, especially on the lows. So it is just that simple. High-pass everything to clean any moneyness. A proper balance is what actually makes the mixed sound good. 6. Adding Effects to the Instrument Tracks: Now it is time to add some effects to the B. Let's start by putting a Reverb on the clap. I'm going to use the Valhalla vintage verb and simply look for a snare played preset. Then I will use the mix knob to control the amount of reverb by one. Let's also cut some highs at around six kilohertz and reduce the pre-delay a little bit. Now, I'm going to use the mixed to control the amount of the effect. I recommend that you set it between 5% and 10 percent to avoid muddy and things too much. I guess 8% is good enough for this track. Now, I will hold control and copy the reverb plugin into the snap track. Another thing I really like to do is to use an auto pan plugin on the high hats. For this task, my recommendation is the free male to auto pan. I usually set the pan lot to 0, activate the sink and set it to half note. This will add some stereo width for the high hat, enter the track as a whole. So this is basically what I usually do. No secrets at all. Just some stereo enhancement that works as ear candy. 7. Processing the Master Channel: Well, the last step would be to use a clipper to get rid of the peaks and make the beat louder. Fl Studio has a native soft clipper that people use a lot. But here I'm going to use a clipper called saturate by newfangled audio. Any clipper will do the job. But this is just the one that I like the most. I will turn on the automatic gain compensation to avoid blowing your speakers. But ideally you should turn it off before exporting the final version of the Beat. Inside saturated, we simply need to raise the drive slider up to the point where it doesn't sound good anymore, and then back it off a little bit. We can also mess with the clipper shape to set it anywhere between a hard clipper and a soft clipper. Let's play with the audio to see what it does. If I push the drive too hard, the audio will distort. So you will need to tweak the drive control until you find the optimal balance. And this is basically that's it. Now, I will insert a visual peak meter so you can see what happens to the peaks before and after the clipper plugin. Without the clipper. This is how the peaks look. When we turn the Clipper on, the peaks get chops allowing us to make the beat louder. From here, you just need to export your beat about bloated wherever you want. Let's hear how the final mix sounds. Yes. Yes. This is even simple. 8. Exporting the Audio File: Now that we have already finished mixing the beat, I can hold Alt and delete this pro L2 instance that I've inserted on the previous video. I can also go to my clipper and deactivate the automatic gain compensation because I want the exported file to be loud. I will also need to turn off the volume adjustment that I placed on the master channel for the video recording. Then click on File and render. Here we can select the directory path. We can also select the sample rate and the file format. And render. Always make sure you select the entire project as the region to be rendered. And now you can render the file. It seems that I already have a file with this name. So I will change it to final mix and select Render again. Perfect. The audio file has been created and we can now upload it into any platform. 9. Conclusion: Well, now that we have already exported the final mix into an audio file, it is time for you to start mixing your own beets. I have attached to the course a PDF file called beat mixing guidelines that you can download. Inside the document, you will find the exact steps we have followed on the videos. We have the volume adjustment reference values, the equalization frequencies, the effects, and the master bus processing. So simply follow this step-by-step guide and do the best you can to make yourself a great sounding mix.