i know it's probably super easy for you guys but i need tips on how to mix down tracks of like bass drum and snare drum sound and overhead. i'm using reaper and ableton live if thats of relelvance :?: :?:
Mixes are fairly subjective, but the factors are: balance, positioning and eq and effects (as required.) With that in mind, it is crucial to understand that different people hear music in different ways and with a wider-than-ever range of quality, from mp3s through ear buds, to pcm 16/24 audio on DVDs through high-end systems.
So when you mix, you have to have the most 'honest' system possible to hear the actual music, so you don't over/under-compensate the sound because you're listening on ear-buds, phones, or computer speakers, etc.
Once your system is correct for the mix, you'd typically start with a good drum mix, add bass guitar, add rhythm instruments, then solo instruments & percussion. You'll probably do some adjusting as you go - possibly more or less kick, overheads, bass, etc - but that's normal. Add vocals last.
Also, in general, don't mix at high volumes. Your perception of what's audible is horribly skewed, as everything seems audible when it's blasting in your ears. But 99% of the people listen at more moderate levels, and that's how you should mix. See if the mix holds at even lower - and higher - levels, and make small tweaks as needed. But always make your final decisions based on moderate levels.
I have to agree with everything that Bermuda has said, but I'd like to add one other thing to this subject that is very hard to explain without sitting there listening to the mix in process. One of the tricks I learned is that every instrument and voice has to find its place in the sonic spectrum ... that is frequency range where it sounds right. To achieve this magic range is everything that Bermuda said and using EQ to remove (more than add) frequencies that overlap over voices or instruments that clash and muddy the mix.
Here's an example ... a lot of times A GTR and E GTR sound great with all of the that low-end in from 150 hz and below not EQ'd out, but by simply rolling off the 150 hz range down to the 20 hz you can really make a place for the kick drum and bass guitar to fit in the mix. Now that is a simplistic explaination, but the idea is that every instrument is fighting to find its voice over a specific range of frequencies - some frequencies are needed, but others just muddy up the sound of the instrument. Great mix engineers know where to take out or push frequencies that will make each instrument or voice fit into the mix.