The Beginner Guide To Music Production 2021: The Correct Way To Build Your Mix – Top Down Or Bottom-Up?


Once again our friend and mix master extraordinaire Mike White of Music-Production-Guide.com answers a common question that many aspiring recording engineers and producers ask-

What Approach Do You Use When Building Your Mix? Top Down Or Bottom Up?

Mike White- Generally there a two popular approaches to building a final mix. Each has its own advantages and cautions.

The first approach is called top-down. This approach starts with getting the vocal sound first and then filling in all of the other instruments. This type of approach can work well for certain types of recordings where the vocal is featured more prominently than the rest of the music. Some engineers prefer the top-down approach because it forces them to get the exact vocal sound they want and they’ll never make any of the other instruments have to compete for space in the mix.

However, most professional engineers use the bottom-up approach. This approach starts with building a good solid foundation with the rhythm section instruments like drums, bass, guitar, etc. Then the lead instruments and vocals are built into the mix. I have a tendency to mix this way more often than not however I almost always have the vocal in the background while I am getting my other sounds in. This helps me avoid making the rhythm section instruments sound too “big” which may not leave room for the lead vocal.

Editors note- Be sure to visit Mike’s incredible site to learn more about music engineering and producing!

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