Step by step of my latest beat!

OK here it goes. I'm working in a DAW. Its Protools 12.


I like to have low levels when I mix. My loudest sound is around -8db. (halfway up the master fader usually)

So I started this one with the drums first.


Kick: Duplicate my kick drum so I have 2 mono tracks of the same kick. Add some distortion on 1 of the kick tracks. Blend the 2 together until it sounds how I want it. (the distortion on one adds some warmth and punch) Reprint or re rerecord the 2 tracks into a new mono track. So now I have a kick that sounds a little warmer.

Compress: -10 reduction, medium-slow attack, medium release, 4:1 ratio, 10db of makeup gain.

EQ: Little bit of 100hz, take out a little 400hz, little bit of 3khz.

Level: The levels vary, so my kicks on the quarter notes are the loud ones and the fill kicks are much quieter to give it some dynamics. The loudest kick is the loudest element in my song and is right around -8db or half way up the master fader. (for me its right where green turns into yellow.)

Swing: I used 12% swing on this track. If I'm using swing, I chose a number and stick with it for everything.

Pan: No pan right down the center.

Snare: I did the same duplicate distortion method as I did with the kick above.

Compress: Same as kick.

EQ: Little bit of 300Hz, little bit of 8khz. (listen to your drums don't just add frequencies some snares only hit the 4khz so adding 8khz won't boost it.)

Level: So my loudest snare is about the level of my loudest kick. I slightly change the levels of my snares so they are not the same each time.

Pitch: My snare comes in on the 2 and the 4. The one that comes in on the 4 is pitched down very very slightly. You almost can't hear it. (this just adds more feel)

Swing: So since the swing only works on the up beats and not the downbeats, I go in manually and drag them with the mouse in my DAW. Im talking only milliseconds. Some a little ahead of the beat, and some a little behind.

Pan: No pan right down the center.

Hi Hat: Added distortion without duplicating it.

Compress: Same as above.

EQ: Little bit of 10khz.

Level: Much lower than the kick and snare. 1/8th to 1/4th the volume.

Swing: 12 % swing.

Pan: 20 off to one side.

Not done yet.

Reverb: Add very very small amount of reverb to snare and hi hat.

Side Chain Compress: I send the kick to a side chained compressor on the hi hat, and set the release very slow so it sounds like each time the kick hits the hi hat dips in volume giving it more feel.

Drum Bus: I route all my drums including the reverb track to a new stereo auxiliary track. I then compress again, same as up top .

Re mix the levels so I'm about halfway on the master fader.

Compress: 10 db of compression, no make up gain, just to make sure nothing is popping out too loudly.

EQ: I cut the deep low end off just in case any unnecessary sounds were coming through.

Pan: I have looping pan automation on this. It goes from 50 right to 50 left over 4 bars, and repeats for the rest of the song.

Reverb: Light reverb.

Reverb pan: The reverb pan is the inverse of the sample 1 pan. Instead of going from 50 right to 50 left over 4 bars, it goes from 50 left to 50 right.

Short 16th note delay: Light 16th note delay.

Delay pan: I did the same thing as the sample, but panned heavier. I went form 75 right to 75 left over 4 bars.

FX send levels: Through out my track I raised and dropped the volume of my FX. At measure 17 I took away some reverb out and added some delay. Then as the song went on and the delay dropped the reverb increased.

Level: Around the same level as my high hats, low.

Sample 2: Same exact processing. (compress, eq, level, reverbs and short delay) The only difference is the pans. The sample 2 and its FX are panned oppositely.

Side chain the Both samples and each of their FX: I already have my hi hat side chained to a compressor being triggered by my kick. I use that same compressor on my both of my samples and all of their FX tracks. I may have changed the release settings to give it the pump I wanted.

I make another side chain for the snare: Each time the snare hits the sample and all of their fx tracks dip in volume. The difference between this one is the release. The release is a lot faster. I only wanted the dip in volume to hear the snare pop, where as for the kick, I wanted that duck or pump feel.

Print mix to 1 stereo track:

Open new session:

Import the printed mix:


Duplicate my stereo print track: Compress, saturate, eq and distort one track. Get it sounding hot. Blend the 2 tracks together and reprint.

New reprinted track: Compress very light. 2:1 ratio, 3db reduction, slow attack, slow release, big amount of make up gain. (remember my mix is really quiet time to get it loud)

EQ: Bump some low end, bump some high end.

Stack Limiters:

3 limiters:

Limit 1: Ceiling is set at .-2db, fast release, 1-3db of reductio only at the loudest parts.

Limit 2: Ceiling is set at -.1db, release fast, 1- 2 db of reduction at the loud parts.

Limit 3: Ceiling at the top, fast release, 3 or 4 db of reduction.

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