How do you approach mixing?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by IHateRap, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. IHateRap

    IHateRap Guest

    I'm interested in exploring some different routes to completing mixes. I generally write/record the music and do quick adjustments to the mix at the same time. When I've finished the writing/recording process, I go back and tweak.

    I think that once I have everything tracked, I'd like to try starting with all the faders down. Does anyone approach it this way? What's your method for keeping metering in check? Overall, what works best for you?

  2. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    I use automated fades on the DAW, I'm not using faders on a console at the moment.

    I would agree, starting with faders down is the best. Bringing up tracks one at a time as they come so the song starts quiet and strong is a great approach.

    Keeping metering in check. There has been numerous threads here on the subject.

    Someone please correct me since I may be wrong about this. I've heard Engineers saying that staying below as low as -29 dbm is acceptable. And peaking stay under -6 dbm, no more.

    I got thrown out by an engineer buddy of mine who kept telling me to push it to 0dbm. Its a bad idea.

    Remember that when your working with 24 bit float:

    Less is More.

    More harmonics at the mixdown and better control for your Mastering Engineer.

    Consult your Mastering Engineer for details of how to best obtain the mix you desire.
  3. IHateRap

    IHateRap Guest

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. cdmasternow

    cdmasternow Guest


    hey, I am a mastering engineer. And guy above me is correct.

    Start low, Also i say mix instruments in the order the feels most comfortable for you. There really are no rules.

    When approaching your mix its no so much volumes, Volumes will be a snap if everything is in correct phase.

    Mixing is alot of eq carving and compression. Apply eq correctly and everything should be tight and crisp
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Sorry. Gotta call BS on this one. This statement is highly dependent on what type of music you are recording and what your end product goal is.

    Most well mastered commercial recordings will have some eq and compression utilized but the whole idea of "carving" is not apropos to all music.
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Protip: this guy has done nothing but spam his link.
  7. RonanChrisMurphy

    RonanChrisMurphy Active Member

    Apr 21, 2009
    I mix on analog consoles, so its almost always a fresh start for me.

    I start with no time based FX (delay reverb) on the mix. Then I push up all the faders and do my panning, get relative balances and then start doing corrective EQ to deal with anything that is fighting the over all mix.

    I really like to have all the faders up at first so I can see how things are working together, rather than pushing up one element at a time.
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    +1 :cool:

    Gimme a broomstick mix 1st run through.

    To start with anything other than faders up is like buying a mail order bride on a blind date and giving up a blank check.
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Yep. By the time all the overdubs are tracked and you've been listening to the headphone mixes with nothing on em for quite a while the first mixdown move is usually everything on and up with nothing attached.

    Usually by then I know what I want the song to do.
  10. John Santos

    John Santos Active Member

    Feb 29, 2016
    I usually start with panning. It's like placing band members to their correct spots. It's like me as a director understanding the places where everyone needs to go.

    Like rehearsing everybody, I let them play together first. By that time, I try to listen to who leads the song. Is it the saxophone? The violin? The piano? The electric guitar? The drums?

    Once I find my center piece, that's when I begin lowering the volumes of other faders, looking for the other instruments that would deliver the right sound for the song!
  11. AODEF

    AODEF Active Member

    Mar 10, 2016
    Organization, routing, general levels and panning, subtractive equalization, compression, (possible multiband compression) ,either dynamic equalization or equalization, effects, (dynamics, level, frequency density, spatial location of effects). Spatial location using early reflections. Expansion if needed. Bus treatment if needed. Automation. Mastering...
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    My initial approach is to always listen first... to figure out what I don't need to do to the song. ;)

    With all of the modern processors and technology that has become so accessible to so many people, I think that sometimes it's easy to forget that we are mixing music, and not math.

    IMHO of course.
    AODEF likes this.

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