The meaning behind the process of "leveling your beats" is just synonymous with the idea of "gain staging" before mixing your music or instrumental.

A simple way to level a beat is by identifying the main building block in the song and start gain staging from there.

For instance, your starting point can be a kick drum, a vocal sample, a synth lead or whatever the case maybe. The choice is up to you and your workflow.

▶ General Audio Mixing Steps Of How To Level A Beat

There are many music producers who prefer to start leveling a mix with the kick drum. So what you do is simply bring the volume fader of the kick drum up to a level you are happy with.

For example, you can choose to let your kick drum peak at -3 dBFS or -6 dBFS. You can even go as low as letting your bass drum peak at -12 dBFS, still it don't matter.

After leveling the kick drum, the next thing you want to adjust is the bass instrument in the mix. This can be a synth bass, an 808 bass drum, a bass guitar and etc (you name it).

Now given the fact of say you have got a kick drum peaking at -3 dBFS, consequently you just have to find the sweet spot in terms of loudness were you want to place your bass instrument.

You can do this by opting to have a "loudness range" of either 4 dB, 5 dB or 6 dB (i.e depending on the context of the mix).

All what this means is if your kick drum is peaking at -3 dBFS you will adjust the volume of the bass instrument to peak from somewhere around -7 dB to 9 dB. (simple math [ -3 dB - -4 dB = -7 dB] ... [-3 dB - -6 dB = -9 dB] )

Once you are certified with the loudness levels of both the kick and bass. The following instrument you probably want to adjust levels is the snare drum.

Again you can do this by ear or you can use a volume difference where the relationship between the kick and snare drum sits well together.

Sometimes the kick and snare maybe playing at the same time (e.g. think of the "four on the floor drum pattern" where the snare and kick drum both hit simultaneously at beat 2 and beat 4)

If the kick and snare drum aren't hitting at the same time then you can actually have your kick peaking at -3 dBFS while you snare is also peaking at -3 dBFS as well.

Conclusion Of How To Level A Mix

When you done leveling all the drum tracks in the mix you can proceed by repeating the same process of gain staging the rest of the instruments based on the order of importance.

*NOTE: Always let main instruments be on the forefront of your mix and place the supporting (or less important instruments) at the background of your mix.

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