How to start a mix with saturation

  • by Marco Biraghi


Would you like to know that single thing that can make your mix louder and fuller right from the start?


Saturating your sounds even before you start mixing them is what many engineers used to do with mixing boards and pre-amps.

To many, it might sound like a crazy practice, but it actually helps with setting the foundation of a solid mix. 


In fact, starting your mix with a bunch of big sounds will result in a bigger mix than the same one without that initial stage of saturation.

We’re not talking about destructive processing at all. Going hard with this practice will only make it harder for you to deal with the most of the time.

A touch of saturation here and there and make everything sound more intense with a very natural result. In fact, this is not the same as saturating the whole mix together as saturation heavily depends on dynamics. By processing individual sounds, you can get the most out of every dynamic “sub-range” without having to squash your loudest sounds in order to enhance the lowest ones.


You can use whatever plugin for this task. Waves NLS Channel is nice for its Studio switch that helps to choose the best tone for each sound. In fact, you don’t have to stick to the same board for every sound. Whatever sounds best on a sound individually and in relation to the whole mix is welcome!


I highly recommend watching the related video tutorial on YouTube for more details and audio examples.


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