I would like to continue with our theme of mixing tips for the home music studio. Let me share with you 5 simple things that I've learned over the years. I'm sure there are many more tips we could add to this list. However my desire here was to cover several that have helped me greatly.
2 heads are better than 1
If you're reading this blog, then you probably have a good understanding of this tip. In my early days of recording, I learned so many things the hard way. Spending way too much time experimenting only to come to the same result as others who have already been there.
There are a lot of engineers who have been "around the block" so to speak. They have had years of experience creating amazing projects. When I find someone like that who is willing to share of their expertise, I always try to learn from them.
One of the guys I've learned a great deal from is Dave Pensado. This guy makes my head spin at times but in a very good way. I've learned a lot of great mixing tips from watching his shows.
Practice cutting EQ rather than boosting
Though this may not be a hard and fast rule it is still a good one to follow. I get a lot of questions about EQ mixing tips. There are many variables to proper EQ that can get confusing real fast. Regardless, I would say that cutting frequencies are often better than boosting.
To many times we are trying to add something to a source track that simply isn't there. Yes, there are reasons for adding presence which can require boosting of some frequencies. However, most of the time cutting a frequency that doesn't need to be there is a better solution. The more I've practice this, the better my mixes seem to sound in the end.
Opinions are just that, opinions
In some ways this goes back to the "2 heads are better than 1" principle. The difference here is who you choose to listen to. If you're like me you've quickly discovered that there are 1000's of opinions stating "the right way," in home recording.
Let me give you this helpful mixing tip. I'm always cautious of the person who takes their opinions and tries to make them fact. If you spend any amount of time in recording forums then you know what I mean.
It is certainly helpful to get other opinions from people who are further along. Just learn early on to find the people who are helpful and not give too much thought to those who aren't. Nothing takes the fun out of home recording more than a gigantic ego with a large mouth ;).
Learn to use compression
I must confess when I first started using compression, all I did was turn knobs. In the old days of video gaming we called this "button mashing." However, the more I learn exactly what compression did, the more I found a huge value in it.
Take the time to learn how to use compression. This is one of the most helpful mixing tips I can give. Compression can add life to your tracks. It can produce power and control, yet still maintain dynamics. It's worth the learning curve without a doubt.
If you haven't signed up for my weekly email newsletter, don't wait any longer. I've created a free e-book to get you started with compression. That e-book is free to every new subscriber. You can sign up at the end of this post.
Don't underestimate the need for mastering
Mastering is a complete necessity if you want your project to sound professional. Mastering is like detailing the car after it's been rebuilt. You may think your mix just can't get any better. Get it into the hands of a good mastering engineer and you'll change your mind real quick.
Mastering adds life to otherwise dull tracks. It adds presence without being too sharp. It brings the volume of your final mix up to an industry standard level. Good mastering brings all your tracks into an overall balance to one another.
Mastering is also the process that makes your final mix sound great in a wide variety of systems. Don't overlook the need for mastering and you will not regret it.
Do you have any mixing tips you'd like to add? Please include your comments in the section below.