In this post, I will share my knowledge about mixing metal music. I have been in (mostly metal) bands on and off since age 16. And even though I always tried to get around mixing the music I have accumulated some knowledge.

This is how I mix metal. There are many other ways to do it, but if you do it like this it serves my taste. The most important part is that you do not need expensive gear to mix metal. As a friend of mine said, all you need is your ears and some balls.


  • At best, record two guitars - one slightly left, one slightly right - to make it sound bigger.
  • Set the gain not higher than 70%. Except for Lo-Fi Black Metal.
  • Noisegate to cut away the quiet noises.
  • Cut everything above 10k Hz.
  • Cut everything below 100 Hz to leave room for the bass.
  • Sweep the frequency spectrum with a bandpass and high Q to find unwanted noises. Usually somewhere around 4k Hz there is a noise I do not like. Bandpass it away (bandcut?) with a lower Q.
  • If you are a pro, you can boost the mids around 1,3-1,4k Hz slightly.


  • Vocals are often too quiet, so one of the challenges is to get them loud enough without killing them.
  • Do not cup the fucking mic when recording. Cupping the mic changes it from a cardioid characteristic to an omnidirectional mic.
  • Noisegate the breath noises.
  • Compressor to get the voice loud enough.
  • Cut everything above 10k Hz.
  • Cut everything below 150-200 Hz to leave room for the bass and make the vocals clearer.
  • Around 2-2,2k Hz is the range which is necessary for understandability. A small boost sounds cool here.
  • Again as with the guitars, remove unwanted noises with a bandpass.
  • To make the vocals sound more huge, you can copy them and insert them ~10ms later and more quiet. This is similar to the double tracking of the guitar. Alternatively, a monodelay can be used with a delay of 10ms (or 32th notes of the tempo of the song) and 25% volume. But please keep in mind that this is technically how a comb filter works, so verify with your ears.


  • I often do not use a bass. If I do, I simply lowpass it. If I do not use a bass, the guitars can live in the low frequency spectrum < 100 Hz.
  • The biggest secret to my bass guitar tone is that it is a normal guitar and not a bass. I pitch it down one octave, after recording. This is not a professional tip, but saved me learning bass guitar.


  • Drums are all over the place in the frequency spectrum.
  • The bass drum competes with the bass guitar for the low frequencies, so sometimes it makes sense to slightly boost the high frequency (the “click”) of the bass drum.
  • If you are a pro, you can let the bass guitar duck when the bass drum hits using sidechaining. Whenever I do that, I use too much of that effect and it sounds unnatural.
  • Use reverb. Reverb moves sounds into the background.
  • Tape saturation. In my opinion tape saturation glues together the various sounds of the drum kit. And it smoothes the cymbals.


09 April 2022