Song mashups typically take two parts from two tracks – usually an acapella and a beat – and mash them up into a new track.
You don’t need all the flashy gear and full, paid DAWs to make a song mashup.
But firstly, what is a song mashup?
There are three main types of mixes or remixes of songs that include the song mashup.
Remixes – Complete redesign of a track including new compositional elements and sounds.
Bootleg – Existing song mashup, involves adding some new sounds to the track without a full re-tweak.
VIP – When a producer edits or remixes one of their own songs.
Mashup – When two songs are mashed together, e.g. vocals from one combined with an instrumental of another.
Why Make a Song Mashup?
DJs often make song mashups to create interludes or bridges where two different songs are mixed in a way that wouldn’t be practical and easy on decks alone. You can also tweak intros specifically for DJing, or add samples over just one section of a song.
You can also make some funky mashups that combine weird combinations.
Think Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You over a jackin’ house beat, or Biggie Smalls over a Thomas the Tank Engine instrumental (yes, it’s already been done).
Song mashups are usually pretty simple to make as you won’t be remixing the levels or re-arranging the track.
Song Mashup Material
You’re going to need some material first. Voclr and Acapellas4U are two great sites for acapella downloads.
For samples and loops, try Looperman and Freesound:
There’s also tons of free stuff on Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Bandcamp and other streaming platforms.
Song Mashup Software
Song mashup software needs to be simple and effective for simple productions. Whilst expandability is great, less is often more when it comes to making a song mashup.
When it comes to a song mashup, it’s the basics which are important. That means you’ll need to be able to layer beats with acapellas and then mix these together before exporting as one mashed-up track.
Serato Studio was specifically made for DJ edits and song mashups. It has both free and paid versions but the free version is not limited much, though it prevents you from using automation and allows for MP3 export only.
You can also only have 1 audio tack and must build up other parts of your mashup using Scenes. Scenes can extend up to 32 beats, 8 bars, and allow you to add beats to your acapella track that can be arranged over your original song. The workflow is pretty simple – you add your acapella as an audio track and then use Scenes to make the beats. You’ll be able to add samples to Scenes but not full tracks.
Serato Studio can also link to your Serato catalogue too, which enables you to load tracks directly into Studio for mashup purposes. There are plenty of FX and processing units like reverbs, compressors, delays, etc, so you can get creative with your mashups.
The workflow of Serato Studio is ideally suited for simple edits and lining up your beats with acapella is easy. You can even use Pitch n’ Time to pull vocal parts into time and quantize them to your beats.
- Excellent workflow for song mashups
- Plenty of plugins
- Syncs with Serato
- Easy quantizing
- Can only add one track/acapella – will need the construct the rest using Scenes
Roland Zenbeats, as the name suggests, is another DAW-esque program made specifically for beats, quick mashups, flips and remixes. The free version is absolutely fine for song mashups, you’ll be able to add tracks and edit these fully as well as adding synths and various FX or processing prior to export.
The Free tier allows you to add audio tracks and blend these with free loops and samples within the app. There’s a reasonably generous selection of FX and processors available for more advanced production. It’s also fully cross-platform and works on both phones (iOS and Android), iOS (Mac) and Windows. The Roland market is rammed full of free and inexpensive loops and samples – perfect for song mashups
Roland Zenbeats’ membership is famously confusing and they’ve juggled it around a few times, but you can be sure that the free version offers enough for a song mashup!
- Quality free version for song mashups
- Tons of expandability potential
- Cloud storage compatibility
- Confusing membership structure
Pro Tools First
Pro Tools First is the intro version to the coveted Pro Tools DAW, but it just so happens that it offers a near-perfect suite of tools for making audio mashups.
Pro Tools is a fully-fledged DAW and Pro Tools First offers you a decent slice of it. You get 23 effects and processors, and these are all superbly designed, as well as Xpand2, a powerful virtual instrument with tons of noises ranging from software instruments to ambient sounds and drum kits.
You’re allowed up to 16 audio tracks and 16 instrument tracks, which clearly gives you tonnes of use for a song mashup. Designing and editing your tracks from Pro Tools First’s Edit window is super-easy and you can even add automation, quantize, or even add your own recordings or samples using a mic.
You won’t be able to add plugins from outside Avid’s marketplace, though, and can only have 3 saved projects on the go. Still, this compact version of Pro Tools is excellent for quick edits, flips, edits, remixes and even small studio sessions.
- Powerful UI
- Up to 16 audio tracks and 16 instrument tracks
- 23 pro plugins
- Xpand2! virtual instrument included
Tracktion Waveform Free
Tracktion is an awesome innovative new DAW that has become famous for releasing their previous version of the DAW for free once the newest one comes out. Currently, Tracktion Waveform 11 is free, and it’s a fully-featured DAW with tons to offer for song mashups and advanced production.
With Tracktion Waveform, you’ll get access to unlimited free audio tracks and even some software instruments like the OSC subtractive synthesizer and the Micro Drum Sampler instrument. A handful of decent FX and processing units ranging from EQs to compressors is thrown in for good measure also.
The quantizing and time-stretching functions are great too and will help you pull acapellas into time with beats or other song components.
The software looks awesome and though there’s a fair bit to learn, it’s highly expandable and can be used for much more than song mashups.
- Full DAW for free
- Handful of decent plugins
- Unlimited tracks
- Fully expandable
- Will need to take some time to learn the ropes
Song mashups are quick, creative and simple ways to make a new track from two or more other tracks or parts of tracks, e.g. beats and acapellas.
To make a free song mashup, you’re going to need:
- An application such as DAW
There are tons of free options for both and free DAWs like Pro Tools First, Tracktion Waveform, Roland Zenbeats and Serato Studio can get you up and running in no time!
Pro Tools First rates an exceptional choice for those who want some flexibility, but the same goes for Tracktion Waveform which is arguably the best free DAW in the business.
Roland Zenbeats and Serato Studio are the slightly leftfield choices, built and optimised for beatmaking and quick edits.
You may also like: