1. The standard 'Clearing the bass frequencies' or low cutting. Now everyone knows you should be lowcutting instrument and sounds to clear up that low end in order for the kick and bass to work. Simple stuff. But here is a little technique you can try to use that may give some good results for your low end. I believe that your sub frequencies (with regards to your synths and basses etc not the kick) should be occupied by ONE sound. So for instance lets say I have a bassline running, and this bassline has information from 20Hz to 5000Hz (for example).....and I lowcut that bassline to 40Hz and sidechain it to the kick....pretty standard right? but why not try lowcutting your bassline to say 100Hz or 125Hz and then adding in a simple sine wave which is high passes to 30Hz and lowpassed to 100Hz or 125Hz (whatever you cut away from the original bassline). More often than not I find clearing out the low end of my synth bass and just adding in a simple sine wave played in a low octave really adds warms to the bass and fills out the bottom end a lot more than having just one bassline sound. it may also help to put a small notch in your sine wave where your kick is peaking, even just a db or two will help the kick come through. Give it a go. I hope that makes sense.
2. Avoiding over compression.
We are all guilty of this at some stage I guess!! I often find myself retaining dynamics in my mix and then trying to squeeze it a little to hard at mastering only to realise I am overdoing it!! Remember dynamics are good!!! Ask yourself if you really really need to be inserting a compressor in there and if you do ....then why are you putting it in there. Be wary of too much gain reduction. If you do like a bit of compression....why not get involved in some serial compression? Basically just spread out your compression over a few different plugins, which are each applying only a slight bit of compression. Its the loudness war I guess!! you need your track to hold up against these super loud tracks but without sounding too tiring! But remember, we do not want to see solid square blocks for waveforms!!!
3. Subtractive EQing.
Im a big fan of subtractive EQing. For some reason I rarely boost and if I do it is only minor changes really. It isn't wrong to boost in any means but im a big fan of going hunting for those undesired resonant frequencies!! Remember though, keep your cuts tight to avoid thinning your sound to much!
Grouping is great for those of us which don't have particularly powerful PCs!! It means we can process many different sounds as one whole sound which saves our CPU being raped. There is no real set way to group......for me I generally have a synth group, a hats and percussion group, a clap group and maybe even an FX group if there are numerous effects I want to sidechain or add reverb to for example. Grouping is especially good when you want to reduce the dynamic range of various sounds for example with your drums you can compress the group buss the make the quieter sounds come up a little and then reign in the louder sounds. Another little thing I often do is find a selection of percussions and hats that I want to sound 'in the same room'. basically meaning I want all those sounds to have the same reverb which gives the feeling of them being played in the same room. I will group these sounds together and then apply reverb, usually on a send, to that group.
5. Use the PSP Vintage warmer. haha sorry for the bluntness here but I have literally just started using it and I love it!!! be careful though as it adds distortion easily but used with care it sounds great!!! I particularly like it for drum sounds or to be used on my master.
6. Put harmonic exciters to use but be sparing. I like to add a little bit of excitement to my uppermids and highs to add a bit of sparkle. It can be easily overdone so go in carefully.
7. Less is more and the background is just as important as the foreground!!! its simple: the less sounds you have, the easier it is to mix! I don't know if you produce different styles of music, but I do. When I am trying to create a progressive track, with plenty of melodies and different soundscapes.....the final mixdown is an absolute nightmare!!! But if I make a little house groover....the mix is easy, simply because it is less dense! Everything has room to breathe. Do not overcrowd your tracks!! Also remember that your track needs a foreground, a theme...the main character if you will but it also needs a background. What goes on in the background is essential to keeping the ear interested. Create depth with reverbs, delays and various automations. Little FX and sounds don't have to be up in the mix.....keep them low in volume and add some random FX in there.
I cant think of anything else right now but should help some of you out!!