4 Mixing Tips that have Nothing to do with Mixing
Mixing or achieving a mix is a state of mind. A perspective better described as a feeling. We all hear with our ears as well as our bodies but its that something special thats hard to describe that keeps us listening to an artist or song. If approaching a mix first void all the technology, screw the compressors, the eq’s and effects for just a moment and lets take a look at a few perspectives we should consider before we turn any dial’s or faders!
Listen as your listener would
Do this first and do this often! How do your fans hear you? Are they deeply concerned with which fancy compressor you’ve used? Do they wonder about which reverb is on your hook or which plugins you use? Probably not. If you are a musician mixing your own recordings or a mixing engineer knee deep in a song you’ve just heard, be sure to remember the perspective of the listener. How would your non pro audio/music friends hear this? It is easy to forget the majority of the world doesn’t understand why we do certain things to a record and they don’t care.
Be Honest with yourself about your music and takes/passes
This can tend to be the hardest. When it comes to getting good mixes, great takes and a good song are usually more important then your mixer or gear. With bad takes you’ll never get a good song and without a good song you will most definitely never acheive a good mix. This is where the term “you can’t polish a turd” comes in. Be completely honest with your song as a whole as well as its sonic quality and be sure to get follow up with the next tip! Feed back!
Feedback is usually the gift and the curse when composing a new work. It can either inspire or defeat us! In our heads the song sounds perfect. Our execution can however sometimes miss the mark. When getting feedback from your peers you will usually get some insight into how you can improve you song or to leave a part you planned on changing. Sometimes however feed back can be lacking in constructive advice, be leery of this type of responses as it can hinder your whole out look on the song.
Reference Similar Songs
On the shoulders of giants! Always take heed of what has come before you. With all the music in the world it is safe to assume there is a song out there that has some similar point of reference to the song your working on and about to mix. Take a listen to these songs with a very critical perspective. Bring out the note pad and write down what you hearing. This can help your overall outlook and end goal for your music’s mix.