In this video, learn how to quickly start your mix with the all-new Mix Assistant, plus best practices for setting it up in your session.
Mix Assistant gives you a starting point for your mix by automatically suggesting gain levels for all the tracks in your session. While analyzing your session, mix elements are bundled into logical groups (Focus, Vocals, Bass, Drums, and Musical), allowing you to quickly make broad-stroke adjustments to the initial suggestions. In just a few clicks, you can achieve a roughly balanced mix for even the most complex sessions. Further adjustments can be made on a per-track basis within the Visual Mixer or using the faders in your DAW.
Mix Assistant expects a certain setup in your session; follow these steps to make sure it will function as expected and quickly give you initial levels for your mix.
Setting up your session to use Mix Assistant
- Drag the stems that you plan to mix into your DAW, with each mix element (kick, snare, keys, bass, vocals, etc.) on its own channel.
- On each channel, add a plug-in that’s compatible with Mix Assistant as an insert effect. This includes Relay, Neutron 3, and Neutron 3’s component plug-ins, but we suggest using Relays if you’re only adding a plug-in to use Mix Assistant.
- For instructions on how to quickly add a plug-in to all channels in most DAWs, as well as other helpful information for using Mix Assistant, visit the Mix Assistant FAQs here.
- If you already have other insert effects loaded on channels, or if you’d like to use Visual Mixer to control levels and panning in your mix, the Relay should be placed at the end of each track’s FX chain.
- Add either Neutron 3 or Visual Mixer to the master channel as an insert effect. We suggest using Visual Mixer, as it will immediately allow for quick, global adjustments to track level, pan, and stereo width.
- Click the “Mix Assistant” button at the top of the plug-in window and follow the on-screen instructions to run Mix Assistant.
For a developer’s take on this new mixing tool, including best practices from the people who built Mix Assistant from the ground-up, head here.
Things to note when using Mix Assistant
Note that Mix Assistant registers every instance of a compatible plug-in as a new signal. If we had a kick drum channel, for example, that had one instance of both Relay and Neutron 3, Mix Assistant would register this as two separate signals. Both the kick Relay and kick Neutron would show up during the selection process.
However, if Mix Assistant registers any Relays in the session, it will automatically exclude Neutrons from being included in processing. To be safe, double-check that only one instance of each mix element is being mixed.
Similarly, we would run into signal doubling if the kick drum channel was routed to a submix / bus / group and both had an instance of a compatible plug-in. Even though the kick signal can only be heard once, Mix Assistant is reading it twice and would make adjustments accordingly.
This can impact Mix Assistant’s ability to accurately set initial levels. In this example, Mix Assistant would set the kick much quieter than it actually should be, since Mix Assistant would receive two kick signals and “hear” it as being louder than it is.
Follow the steps below if to use Mix Assistant for setting levels for submixes / busses / groups.
Setting up your session to use Mix Assistant with submixes ONLY
- Add Relays to each submix, making sure to name the Relays or the channels something you’ll recognize.
- Open the instance of Neutron 3 or Visual Mixer on your master channel again and click Mix Assistant, then “Begin.”
- You should now see the prompt to select Focus elements, where you’ll see a list of all the instances of compatible plug-ins in your session. Each instance has a checkbox on its left side.
- Find the instances of compatible plug-ins on your individual tracks and uncheck them. Make sure to only keep those located on submixes checked.
- Continue as normal, Mix Assistant will now only listen to and adjust the levels of submixes.
Want to explore the ideal setup for Mix Assistant in your DAW? Click any of the links below to download a DAW-specific session template.
Note: The track names in these sessions are completely arbitrary; regardless of the instrument, individual tracks should all have compatible plug-ins like a Relay on them.