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Monday, July 30, 2012

A Post-Mix Checklist

Faders image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Here's a post that I ran when I first started this blog in 2009, but it's just as pertinent now as it was then. It's a checklist to go through when you think you're finished with your mix. Much of this comes from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook or the upcoming Audio Mixing Bootcamp.
  • Does your mix have contrast? Does it build as the song goes along? Are different instruments, sounds or lines added in different sections?
  • Does your mix have a focal point? Is the mix built around the instrument or vocal that’s the most important?
  • Is your mix noisy? Have you deleted any count-offs, guitar amps noises, bad edits, and breaths that stand out?
  • Does your mix lack clarity or punch? Can you distinguish every instrument? Does the rhythm section sound great by itself?
  • Does your mix sound distant? Try using less reverb and effects.
  • Can your hear every lyric? Every word must be heard. That's what automation is for.
  • Can your hear every note being played? Automate to hear every note.
  • Are the sounds dull or uninteresting? Are you using generic synth patches or predictable guitar or keyboard sounds?
  • Does the song groove? Does it feel as good as your favorite song? Is the instrument that supplies the groove loud enough?
  • What’s the direction of the song? Should it be close and intimate or big and loud?
  • Are you compressing too much? Does the mix feel squashed? Is it fatiguing to listen to? Is all the life gone?
  • Are you EQing too much? Is the mix too bright or too big?
  • Are your fades too tight? Does the beginning or ending of the song sound clipped?
  • Did you do alternate mixes? Did you create at least in instrumental-only mix or TV mix? Some clients need them, others don't. Ask first.
  • Did you document the keeper mixes? Are all files properly named and marked? Are you sure which file is the master? Is it color-coded?
To read additional excerpts from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook and Audio Mixing Bootcamp, as well as excerpts from my other books, go to


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