Top 5 Mixing Mistakes
Todd Simpson
Jul 28 2020, 04:56 AM
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Posts: 20.784
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA


1.)MIX WITH YOUR EARS NOT YOUR EYES
This is something that everyone agrees on. You can use a plugin analyzer to see what is happening in your mix. Your Parametric E.Q. plugin will show you what is happening in your mix. It’s a quick way to find problems. However, your ears are always more important than your eyes when mixing. Learning to trust them is a process. It takes time just like learning the guitar takes time. Just because something looks wrong on your computer screen, doesn’t mean it’s always wrong and needs to be E.Q.d out. No matter what you see on screen, shut your eyes and listen to it again. Trust your ears to tell you what to do. Sometimes things can look wrong, such as a track peaking too much, but it might sound correct on the track.

2.)DON”T COMPRESS EVERYTHING
Not every track needs compression. Hard Rock guitars don’t respond that well to compression. The distortion is already compressing it, so putting a compressor on it makes it sound smaller. Let it be dynamic. Use some E.Q. just be careful when deciding to use a compressor on rock guitars. Also, Drum samples are not the same as real drums. Real drums simply behave different. A real drum kit might need a bit of compression to get all of the hits to sound just a pinch more linear. Sampled drums lack the same dynamics and don’t need as much compression. The same thing goes for virtual instruments. A real violin has more dynamics than a virtual violin. It’s more dynamic (great difference between soft and loud strikes/notes)

3.)NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE IN STEREO
Not every track has to be in stereo. Sometimes, you might have a stereo source, like two microphones on a piano used to make it sound wider, you don’t need to pan hard left and right automatically. Trust your ears again. If you pan everything hard left and right, you actually reduce the overall stereo feel on your track. Find the right spot for each track. Given your overall mix, which tracks need more stereo width and which need less? Also, you can automate your stereo width, for example, on guitars, say just on the chorus, to make the guitars wider. This will change how the overall track sounds just for that one part. Not every instrument needs a bit stereo reverb for example. The more careful you are about how you use stereo, the more impact it will have when you do use a hard right left pan.

4.)DON”T DO ANYTHING ELSE UNTIL YOU HAVE A ROUGH MIX
Go in and set the pan on every track, find the right spot in the stereo field for each track in your mix before you start adding plugins. This will get you a bit more familiar with the track, if it’s not one of yours. If it is one of yours, it will give you a better idea of what you need to use effects for on this particular song. It lets you hear what you will need to do once you start adding your plugins. Where to E.Q, compress, use reverb, low pass, delay, etc.

5.)DO LESS

You don’t have to bury your mix under a ton of plugins. You don’t have to put wads of effects on everything. Your goal is to make the song better. Try to make it your goal not to use plugins unless you need to. You can use automation for some things instead of plugins. You can use panning instead of plugins, etc. If it’s a DI track guitar, you need a guitar sim plugin before you can really begin, but that’s not what we are talking about here. We are talking about using too many plugins which can actually end up making a mix sound too busy and overly complicated.


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thefireball
Jul 29 2020, 08:53 PM
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Good stuff! Hadn't thought about not compressing everything.

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Todd Simpson
Jul 30 2020, 03:20 AM
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Posts: 20.784
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Yeah, not everything needs compression. In the first stage of your mix, when you are working on placing thing in their proper stereo field, and just starting to tweak the e.q, try turning all the compressors off and see what the results are. What jumps out, what goes to quiet. etc. Its a good way to get things started smile.gif

Todd

QUOTE (thefireball @ Jul 29 2020, 03:53 PM) *
Good stuff! Hadn't thought about not compressing everything.

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