“Practice makes perfect” – this holds for anything you want to be good at, and mixing is no different.
When it comes to mixing, learning by doing is the way to go. This hands-on approach adds to your experience and trains you for good sound too. However, you will need multitracks for mixing practice, especially if you are only starting and do not have numerous clients or countless hours to record music.
But, where do you find multitracks to start practicing? Luckily, there is a huge variety of free options available. In this article, I will discuss why mixing practice is essential to hone your skills and where you can find free resources for the same.
So, whether you want to level up your mixing game or are only beginning to discover your sound, practicing with free multitracks can help you immensely.
Multitracks Vs. Stems
Before we reveal the best sites for free multitracks that can help you polish your mixing skills, it is essential to understand the difference between multitracks and stems.
What are multitracks, and how do they differ from stems?
Multitracks are individual recordings of varying sound elements of a song that join together to form cohesive audio. They can be mono files or stereo files. In simple words, multitracks are multiple individual tracks from a recording session – hence, the name. If you take a song’s vocals as an example, every lead and backing vocal would be a separate track.
Whereas when it comes to stems, the entire kit is included. You can think of it as a collection of multitracks. Take a guitar stem, for example, which will be all the guitar tracks mixed. For extensive sessions, you can use stems, for they are much more efficient. However, when it comes to practice, multitracks is the way to go, as you are allowed more freedom and control. Stems do not serve the same purpose since they are already signal processed.
Free Multitracks To Elevate Your Mixing Skills
Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s dive straight into the available resources for free multitracks that will have you mixing like a pro in no time.
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio – by Cambridge
The first name on this list is Mixing Secrets by Cambridge music technology. The reason this particular resource ranks so high among mixing enthusiasts is the variety of music genres available. Play around with anything from orchestra to rock to jazz.
This site acts as an additional resource to the book written by Mike Senior, called “Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio.”
The great thing about this site is that apart from various genres, you also get the freedom to practice with sounds recorded in home studios and more professional setups. This gives you a large playing field when it comes to recording quality. Thus, you can experiment with different sounds in different setups.
Telefunken “Live from the Lab” Sessions
Another excellent resource for mixing practice is “Live from the Lab” by Telefunken. Telefunken runs recording sessions that use only their mics – which makes sense as they manufacture them. You can access the multitracks from these sessions for free.
Since the tracks are recorded live on Telefunken mics, you may encounter typical problems with such sessions. However, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Any little hindrance in a multitrack presents an excellent opportunity to learn how to deal with it. For example, practicing mixing on live recordings can help you learn how to work through a mic bleed.
The varying music styles available for mixing allow you to not only hone your skills but come into your own as a musician since you get to work with your preferred genre.
Produce Like a Pro
Who could be better to learn mixing from than a multi-platinum producer? That is exactly what you can do at Produce Like a Pro. This website from music producer Warren Huart gives you a chance to elevate your mixing skills in a neat free bundle.
You can also pay up to join the Produce Like a Pro Academy, but if you are only looking to dip your toe and not splurge on cash, the free bundle should suffice. The free bundle includes free multitracks and samples, as well as mixing tutorials. While there is not as much variety in the free bundle as the paid option (naturally), you can use this tremendous opportunity to learn from a pro.
This option is slightly different from others on this list. MixOff.org is a forum. So, in addition to the availability of free multitracks frequently uploaded by mixing engineers, the community aspect of this resource allows you to have peer-to-peer discussions. So, apart from finding great multitracks for mixing practice, here you can find answers to any query from people with much more experience than you.
What Is The Best Way To Practice Mixing?
You can find hundreds of multitracks from the resources mentioned above. You can use them to practice and polish your mixing skills.
However, especially for a newbie, it is often daunting to decide on a practicing schedule that helps elevate your mixing game.
Therefore, it is advisable to focus on your weak areas. Structure your sessions in a way where you work on what you are good at, with the addition of one skill where you are lagging. Focused sessions work well; even when they are shorter, they yield much better results. So, for every session, focus on one area of improvement until you get the desired outcome, and then move on to the next.
With so many free multitracks on your fingertips, make it a point to practice regularly. Mind you, just because they are free resources, they do not skimp on recording quality; so, even though they cost you nothing, these free multitracks can surely help you become a better musician.
Go through each resource to find your preferred multitracks – whether you want varied genres or live recording, trips, and tricks from a professional or a forum with fellow musicians. With the list mentioned above, you are all set to become a top musician.