Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Sunday, June 26, 2011

15 Steps To A Better Mix

Mixing is a nebulous art in that most musicians and engineers today learn more by feel than being taught. As a result, a number of important items are easily overlooked, and these can mean the difference between a mix that sounds polished and professional and one that sounds amateurish. Here's a checklist of items taken from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that can help you think in a little more detail about you mixes, and tighten up as a result.

1. Does your mix have contrast? Does it build as the song goes along? Are different instruments, sounds or lines added in different sections?

2. Does your mix have a focal point? Is the mix built around the instrument or vocal that’s the most important?

3. Does your mix sound noisy? Have you gotten rid of any count-offs, guitar amps noises, bad edits, and breaths that stand out?

4. Does your mix lack clarity or punch? Can you distinguish every instrument? Does the rhythm section sound great by itself?

5. Does your mix sound distant? Try using less reverb and effects.

6.  Can your hear ever lyric? Every word must be heard.

7. Can your hear every note being played? Automate to hear every note.

8. Are the sounds dull or uninteresting? Are you using generic synth patches or predictable guitar or keyboard sounds?

9. Does the song groove? Does it feel as good as your favorite song? Is the instrument that supplies the groove loud enough?

10. What’s the direction of the song?
Should it be close and intimate or big and loud?

11. Are you compressing too much? Does the mix feel squashed? Is it fatiguing to listen to? Is all the life gone?

12. Are you EQing too much? Is it too bright or too big?

13. Are your fades too tight? Does the beginning or ending of the song sound clipped?

14. Did you do alternate mixes? Did you do at least in instrumental-only mix (TV mix)?

15. Did you document the keeper mixes? Are all files properly named? Are you sure which file is the master?
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