I know this must be a very (if not extremely) general question, but I need some advice on mixing music and sound effects for a TV spot. Basically, I have three groups: Ambience, SFX and Music (Library music, classical, string-based). There's currently an L1 Ultramaximizer (-4.0 threshold) on the master bus, and I've done lots of internal EQing within each group to try and make room for everything. It all seem to fit nicely, but my ears tell me that the music takes too much of pie. I need some general tips for how to deal with music in such context - how to give it room without taking too much room. I don't want it to sonically blur my SFX tracks. What are some quick-and-dirty tricks for treating music tracks to fit well with the rest of the mix?

Thanks G

2 Answers 2


Coming from a music point of view, I always find that automation is key. The music should support the overall mix, not take it over. So feel free to pull it back on sections and bring it back on more significant scenes. When sound effects kick in and its something like a large impact, I've tried things like having a filter kick in just for the effect duration.

Its a give and take situation. Music and SFX each have their own moments.


First try bringing the music down to a level where the SFX levels are in nice balance compared to music. Does it work or do you know how to adjust now?

Shelve out some/little of the low end or particularly those frequencines that are clashing with the SFX (likely some low-mid frequencies). You don't really want much/any of low bass, but mainly just a "balanced amount" of the around 80-120Hz which is the voice or a bass instruments if there's such, or some occasional sound effects.

Use multi-band compression and some limiting on groups and master to bring the dynamics to a reasonable level and to balance the shifts in overall frequency content.

Side-chain compression (possibly even multi-band) would be a quick-and-dirty solution as well. But it's sometimes difficult to set to that it doesn't sound like the music track is being ducked.

Listen to some references.

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