For example I deal with volume. In some parts tracks sits nice with other sounds and etc, e.g. works. In some parts of the track when some instruments drop then some tracks sounds too loud so I think maybe I need to automate volume on other tracks.

  • What's the actual question?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 14:07
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    If the question is: do you need to automate the volume/gain? The answer is yes.
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 14:10
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    Actually this is not a bad question. It might not be obvious to someone beginning recording and music production that you can't and you aren't supposed to just set the faders and expect it to work everywhere in the song. Quite the opposite - you might have to adjust the level of even individual words or syllables or parts of syllables. Or if, say, a guitar or bass player isn't very good with their dynamics, you might have to fix each note separately to make it balanced and even throughout. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 21:30
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica Agreed, and was not trying to be pedantic, just did not have enough to say to make it an answer… Yours is summarizing this process very well!
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


In most real-life mixes - studio recordings and live sound as well - different parts of a song (or a concert) require changes to channel/track balances throughout the song (or concert), so you can't just set all the faders and other settings to some static balance and expect it to work throughout the song (concert). It's the job of a mixing engineer to listen to the mix and make adjustments. I suppose this is most commonly needed for lead vocals, which have to be loud enough to be heard clearly at all times.

In modern DAW studio work, adjusting track balance during the song is usually done with automation, either by recording fader movements ("riding" the faders together with the performance) or drawing curves with the mouse or other means. But in old style analog recording and in live audio, moving and riding the faders is done live by a mixing engineer, reacting to changes as they happen. (Except in some big productions there may be automation even live, but then the show must be locked/synced to a pre-made sequence.)

So: a mix is not static.

In theory, a group of good performers is able to self-adjust their balance, if they can hear each other properly and if they know that there's no-one at the mixing desk. Try it: set all faders to some static position and then sing and play your tracks so that it doesn't need mixing. In practice this requires quite a lot of experience.

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    There’s another old school mix technique (that could still be used today) to prevent having to ride too many faders at mix down. Mixers would mult the tape machine outputs to three separate channels for each instrument. Then one channel is the settings for the verses, a second for the choruses, and a third for the bridge. Perhaps more for other sections of the songs. Then you can use mute groups to mute and unmute as the song progresses. Of course lead vocals and other important tracks would still usually have fader riding. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 19:48
  • @ToddWilcox I'm sure someone uses that now that DAWs can have lots of tracks. I think I once saw a complaint from a Cubase SX user who had discovered that the advertised "unlimited number of tracks" wasn't unlimited at all, it was limited to something like 256 - or at least far from unlimited. This guy was doing orchestral arrangements where IIRC he had each song part in a different track group/folder, so with 100 instruments and 10 parts it was 1000 tracks already. Don't remember the details, maybe he was routing each instrument inside the folders to a group channel for that instrument. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 21:39

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