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Objective Mixing

Posted by Johnny Geib on April 9, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Objective Mixing

There are times when I mix that are very difficult to get through. When my ears do not agree with my brain and I find myself remixing the same part over and over it gets very difficult to stay focused and to complete a mix that makes me happy. I believe that some of the strongest points of completing a mix have to be the ability to except certain things that you cannot change and understand that there will be times when a mix will never sound finished.

So one thing that you can do is to start to build your mix by its basic parts and try to complete the mix before you add any reverbs or delays or other plug-ins and try to get settled in your mind when the mix is near completion. At this stage you need to except that some parts are not going to fit until you add some sort of compression or some sort of panning position or whatever else you feel might finish the mix.

So my advice would be to start a mix like this. The first thing you do is you take care of all of your gain staging and make sure that all of your tracks are at a proper volume with all of the faders at the zero position. The next thing to do is to evaluate the parts that you have in their dry form, no effects, and see if you can come up with a balanced mix before you even start panning tracks to a certain side. Run the mix as though it is live and try to understand the room you're in. What do you want to hear from a live performance? Does the guitar need to be raised during the solo? Do other parts need to drop during the solo? All these questions should be asked before you really begin to mix.

The most important thing that I keep in mind, unlike many engineers, is to build the mix based on what's there rather than to immediately start adding plug-ins to try to get the sound you want. I have come to learn that it is better to mix a song based on its parts rather then what you think you hear in your head.

So before you actually mix, learn to mix what's there, see what the limitations of the tracks you have are and build the mix based on the spatial qualities the tracks create on their own. Only then should you start adding plug-ins and effects to build a finish mix.

Johnny Geib

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1 Comment

Reply Johnny SoulShine
3:25 PM on August 19, 2017 
JG ... Sounds like Great Advice. Still new at this, though not new at playing or performing, I can see where you could get caught up in mixing FX instead of mixing the recording :-)