How To Make A Mix Tape


 how to make a mix tapeEvery music listener has a few favorite hits that can be listened to an infinite number of times. They carefully arrange them in order in their playlists and embark on a rhythmic journey through the musical waves.

Professional musicians went to meet their listeners and came up with such a phenomenon as a mixtape. What is it and who creates them?

What Is a Mixtape?

 how to make a mix tapeA mixtape is a type of sound recording that involves combining several musical compositions or skits (short prose stories) in one tape. In fact, this is a collection of as many songs but has a specific purpose and principle of mixing tracks or their fragments and represented by a single composition.

In modern music, everything has become more complicated – the line between an album and a mixtape has blurred. Traditionally, a mixtape is considered to be a collection of experimental or old tracks that are not united by one idea.

A mixtape can include both original compositions and cover versions of hits by other artists. Often a mixtape brings the artist zero rubles (since the rights to the beats belong to other people). And in general, the own mixtape is released not in order to revolutionize the genre, but in order to increase the fan base and remind yourself of yourself.

History Of The Mixtape

 how to make a mix tapeThe history of the mixtape dates back to the 60-the 80s of the last century when 8-track tapes were created using a handicraft method. True, at that time the term itself did not yet exist. The pioneers of this method of sound recording are truckers who mixed their favorite music on audio cassette tape. Later they began to appear in flea markets. The most popular mix tapes of that time can be called Super 73, Top Pop 1977, Country Chart, etc.

However, there is another point of view regarding the history of the “mixtape” phenomenon, that such a concept could have arisen in the professional environment of American black rappers. That is why audio mixing is common in hip-hop culture today.


A mixtape in rap is most often a mixture of tracks from different artists. They are usually just musical favorites of the mix maker. There is another reason why compositions can be united by a common theme. In this case, the tracks belong to the same artist, or different artists read the beats of one specific beatmaker.


Mixtapes are created quickly and informally. There is no strict boss, or producer, who will evaluate and criticize the music selection, and adjust it to the radio release and censorship. A mixtape is absolute freedom to choose an artist, musical accompaniment, and instruments. Here you can take a singer-bard, dilute it with female lyrical vocals and put all this on the rhythmic music of a famous rap hit record.

Types Of Mixtapes

 how to make a mix tapeToday, mixtapes are divided into two large groups: DJ and rap. Their names themselves determine the creator. The first, of course, belongs to DJs who mix different compositions, turning them into a single musical stream. Rappers in this version act as hosts, accompanying the recording by reading a certain text or placing emphasis on the transitions from one track to another.

However, there are also pure rap mixtapes. They are created without the participation of a DJ. Musicians combine their tracks or others, perform rap, and use their own or others’ texts. Here, the options are endless. Therefore, it is very difficult to answer unequivocally what a mixtape in rap is. But the determining factor is that the leading role belongs to the rap artist and his personal preferences.

There are also amateur mixtapes. They are created by ordinary music listeners at home. Such non-studio recordings are made using other people’s musical creations. As a rule, they are slightly lower in the quality and originality of the mix.

Mixtapes of any kind, whether professional or amateur, are usually built according to three principles: a random list of favorite songs, a conceptual mixture of compositions of general mood and theme, or they represent some kind of personal statement addressed to a specific addressee indicated at the beginning of the tape (intro).

What Is The Purpose of Creating A Mixtape?

 how to make a mix tape

It is not difficult to understand what a perfect mixtape is in music, for this, it is enough to listen to a couple of records that are widely available. From the hands of professionals and amateurs, they come out in large numbers and, having no official status, are easily distributed among amateurs. However, it is more difficult to answer the question of why mixtapes are created.

Today, many aspiring artists use them as promotional presentations. They give their musical creations to DJs, who mix them into a single tape and present their creativity in the original frame to the general public. At the same time, fragments of compositions are used, that is, intrigue is created, and interest in the performer increases.

Author’s music and albums require a lot of money and effort for mastering, mixing, and creating mixtapes. Whereas mixtapes are more accessible and have virtually no limits. If a musician has several songs, he can mix them in a short time and quickly distribute them on the Web.

Amateur mixtapes are created for various reasons: for personal listening, to express one’s musical tastes, and creative talents, or to try out new equipment, software, creativity, etc.

Who Makes Mixtapes?

DJs and rappers work in this direction. The former is engaged in mixing various musical compositions, creating one stream. The latter become leaders who read a certain text to a sounding melody. Sometimes they focus on the transition from one melody to another.

You don’t need DJs to create rap mixtapes. In this case, the musicians combine their own tracks with others. They rap, which combines lyrics. There can be a huge number of such options.

Amateur mixtapes are also very popular. They are independently created by ordinary music listeners at home. How to record a perfect mixtape, and what you need for this, we will tell you further. The process is not overly complicated.

To create such a record, you need to have several musical melodies. Usually, their sound quality is lower than the original mix. To record both an amateur and a professional mixtape, you need to have a list of necessary songs, a mixture of compositions, and common themes.

How To Make A Mix tape?

 how to make a mix tapeIf you are going to record a good mix, then you need to ask yourself the following questions – who will listen to it? How will the mix be built? How will you bring it down? Chris Alker has collected the right questions and answers in this collection of 10 tips to follow to make a great mix.

If you are going to engage in the professional recording of mixes, we recommend that you buy a mixing console with a huge selection of models in our store.

When a DJ, surrounded by people hanging out, plays his set, he kind of own mixes the energies that fill the dance floor. If he puts the right music at the right time, he gets into the flow, and most importantly, stays in it until the last track. It is important to direct this flow in the right direction if the dancers are tired, you can slow down a bit and put something calmer so that people go out to drink some water and chat with friends. This is a common approach when playing for a “live” audience.

If a person feels creative potential in himself and is well versed in music, nothing prevents him from creating his own mixtape. It can be composed of favorite compositions of different artists or your own creations. The trick is to figure out how to make a great mixtape so that listeners like it. The whole process can be summarized in a few steps:

Understand Your Audience:

It is best that the future mixtape is not built randomly, but on a certain idea, the direction has a name and a cover. If the great mixtape includes songs or skits of your own composition, then only new material that has not yet been published should be selected.

The mix you record to fit into a late-night party lineup will of course be different than the mix you make for a night out with friends. Knowing the audience is very important when choosing tracks, and planning how long, and danceable the mix will be.

Set Your Chart:

A useful topic is to think through the structure and even visualize in a graph how you are going to build a set. This is sometimes done by music producers to deal with the composition of the track. The same applies to the mix.

Select Tracks and Arrange Their Order:

This, of course, concerns your tastes and audience. It’s a trite idea, but first of all, use the music that you like, instead of just turning on the tracks from the charts in turn. Also, play old tracks on a par with new ones many are afraid to play “junk” in order to seem relevant, but this is a trap because if you think in such categories in the modern world, you will only have to play the music that came out yesterday at most. In short, play music, no matter when it was released.

Use Different Transitions:

There is a stereotype that dance DJs beat the beat, hip-hopers jump to the next track at the right moment, and on the radio, they just make a smooth fade. It is better to be able to combine methods.

Mix By Key:

Even if the tracks belong to the same genre and have the same tempo, they can still go badly together. Some DJs have an innate sense of harmony, but many are less fortunate and need the following explanation.

It’s about the tone of the music. There are well-described laws of harmony in musical theory; following them, you can very beautifully select sequences of tracks. Be sure to check out the harmonic mixing methods described in this article.

However, be aware that overuse of harmonic mixing can result in a very boring and monotonous set.

Consider Track Composition:

When mixing, sometimes such a situation arises – if you output a track and drag out the summary, as a result, you can get a failure in the composition when the sections of the tracks do not match. For example, the last track went into the pit and it should have been removed in order to highlight the drop of the next one, the DJ gaped, and at that moment the pit ends in the previous track, and the beat matching starts again and the next track drops over it.

The dance floor is confused. In order to avoid this, it is necessary, firstly, to yawn less, and secondly, to know the compositions of the tracks, that is, their structure. If you know when what comes in and where you can make some really cool transitions.

Use Loops, Effects, Filters, and EQs Properly:

If you use all of these things thoughtlessly, you can easily ruin even the coolest same song. However, if you develop your own unique style of using loops, effects, and more, you can compare favorably with most other DJs, even if they play the same tracks.

Calculate The Right Mix Length:

There are no special rules here, but the hourly mix is ​​the standard. You can record your set from a party where you played for five hours in a row, or, conversely, twenty minutes for a podcast or radio show, but an hour-long mix is ​​the most common format. In an hour, you can have time to develop a theme and put on a lot of interesting music.

Cover and Title:

There may be interest in your mix, even if they don’t know you at all, so you need to be smart about things like the title, cover art, and distribution channels.

Choose a picture that suits your mood or make it yourself. If you recorded music a mix of industrial techno, then a photo of a kitten in a pink jumpsuit is hardly suitable for the cover, unless, of course, this is sarcasm. Obviously, it is better to choose something futuristic, man-made. Be original, but remember about the associative links that operate subconsciously.

It will be great if you have a familiar photographer or artist who can be asked to develop a visual concept.


When you want to make a mix for a promotion, podcast, radio, or just for someone else, completely different mechanisms are involved. There is no instant feedback, but there is a lot of time for preparation.