Mixerman's 10 Steps to Better Mixing

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Mixerman, Aug 19, 2001.

  1. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Once again, this is a re-post of a re-post of an article I wrote sometime ago. This one has never been altered, it is exactly the same as it was the day I wrote it (in less than 2 minutes), and has stood the test of time.

    I have gotten good response to this, and now that I have a forum for these things, I thought I'd put it up.

    Now the 10 Steps:

    1. Mixing is an attitude
    2. If the song sucks, the mix is irrelevant.
    3. Working the room, keeping people entertained, happy, and relaxed is half of mixing successfully.
    4. Putting everything proportional in a mix is going to make a shitty mix.
    5. Gear are tools in a mix that make life either easier or more difficult,
    they are not what makes a mix good or bad.
    6. A mix can be GREAT and not have great sound.
    7. If nothing about the mix annoys someone in the room, the mix is often times not done.
    8. Mixing can not be taught, it can only be learned.
    9. The overall vibe of the track is much more important than any individual element.
    10. Just because it was recorded, doesn't mean it needs to be in the mix.
    11. Be aggressive.

    Oops that's 11!

    Mixerman
     
  2. td

    td Guest

    Mixerman,
    I gotta tell you I really appreciate your thoughts / concepts about mixing - I get inspired reading your thoughts and it's been liberating to read " A mix can be GREAT and not have great sound. "

    In the few weeks since I've discovered your forum I often found myself quickly exiting the net & pulling up a current mix to work on while these concepts are fresh in my brain.

    I look forward to future discussions.

    Peace,
    Tony
     
  3. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    That is sooo cool! :)
     
  4. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    #7 is the big one for me......
     
  5. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Mixerman,
    I have copied many of your posts to my word processor. The 11 tips are wonderful. I also love the plains concept. You are a huge inspiration to me. Thanks so much for passing on things and concepts that have worked for you on to the rest of us.

    (smile omitted out of respect)
     
  6. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Originally posted by drumsound:
    Mixerman,
    I have copied many of your posts to my word processor. The 11 tips are wonderful. I also love the plains concept. You are a huge inspiration to me. Thanks so much for passing on things and concepts that have worked for you on to the rest of us.

    (smile omitted out of respect)


    And I thank you for your kind words, and your omittance of those very annoying smiley faces.

    Mixerman
     
  7. Tymish

    Tymish Guest

    Oy number 7! I recently mixed a recording of a band I'm in. Once everyone was happy the mix was bland. And for some reason my guitar was actully too low in the mix after hearing the finals. Guess I didn't want to seem too self serving but in the end the mix suffered. That is one situation I like to be the back seat driver for.
     
  8. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Damn good advice!

    It is true as well..

    Some of those bland mixes can really be mastered to a level of amazement...but When I first got started in mixing I noticed the masking effect all too often. As a beginner being cautious 25 years ago, all it took was a few years doing FOH for the 2500 to 7500 folk crowds and this was one area where making the mix kick ass reasonably really helped with the studio.

    I compared front of house mixes with studio mixes and found their is a happy medium ..but the FOH mixing was designed around maximum comfortable SPL with little to no feedback and highlighting soloist and keeping that foundation very real with clear vocals where as the studio mixing I strive for a smooth uncolored blend with plenty of punch and life. When I got the oppurtunity to do a major sized crowd, (superdome)then the entire thinking process had to shift more to the studio thinking to keep from ringing the hall too much.

    Once experienced, rule 11 became important as aggressiveness showed confidence and on the ball thinking.

    Think about it...as engineers, we are constantly selling. We do it through the monitors and the mouth. Don't be scared to use as much eq as it takes to recover lost dynamics (sans Makie eq's! which become nasty when cranked open beyond gain resitrictions)....I do love the "kick ass and cival at the same time" sound. Don't be afraid to push that snare on up into the mix fellows!
     

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