5 Mixing Mistakes You Need to Avoid
- Written by Rodrigo Marques
When we are going to mix something, the first thing that comes into our minds is commercial recordings, the ones we hear every day from our favorite artists. How did they achieve this? Let's take a look at how we can achieve great results avoiding mistakes during a mixing session. Check it out!
#01 - Do You Even Know How You Want Your Mix?
There is a Latin proverb that says: “Who has a mouth goes to Rome”. However, in that case, how far can we get only using the ears? Anywhere, as long as we know where we want to go with our mix.
If you want to get results like the ones you hear on your MP3, then you will have to follow a production process similar to what was followed during the production of that piece of audio. Much of the musical production is based on mathematics. If you stop to think, the computer does no more than calculate that mathematical data equivalent to our mix.
Did I get away with this? No, you may not enjoy math, but music (even if it can be mathematically abstracted) is something much more interesting. You need to know how to start your production process, even before mixing, starting from the recording of each audio channel. If you make a mistake during the recording process, your mix will probably be lost.
#02 - Audio Equipment - Expensive or Not?
A lot of people believe that their mixes aren't getting good because they don't have those expensive equipment like the famous studios. I will not try to convince you, but it's possible to produce quality music, using popular equipment.
Then someone says: Yeah, but the cheaper guitar pedals sound awful!
That's true. Cheap guitars also don't play tuned. Microphones may also be limited in this price range, but you may find a minimum level and still be able to produce with commercial quality.
You don't have to have a Mackie audio mixer console to make a decent mix. You can use technologies such as the virtual mixing console.
#03 - Creating the Mixing Environment Takes Time
This is the biggest secret of commercial studios. Many professionals have their own recipes to get a great sound, considered by many as heavy, full of "punch". Friends, it all comes down to signal density. Yes, if you work with quality samples, with sufficient sampling density, your mix will have these desired characteristics.
Let's imagine that audio is like a machine, and the channels of the mixer are like gears. If you have all of these parts working synergistically, you will have no problems when putting your mix to the point.
If you make a mistake during the recording process, then everything goes down the drain.
#04 - Using Too Much Effects?
One day, I was talking with a singer, and he was listening to one of my first recordings. It was a very beautiful song that I made at age 16, very interesting recording. The singer gave me a curious advice; he said that I should "use a lot of echo", and "wet" the voice generously. Okay. This happened in 1998, but... at that time, the tendency of exaggerated reverberation had already been left behind.
When we think that to create a pleasant environment we need to use a lot of reverb, it's easy to make a mistake and put too much reverb on vocals. No, you can continue to use reverb, but there are rules for that and everything will depend, first of all, on you having recorded your voice without reverberations.
#05 - Don't Follow Rules
Mathematics, even mixing is a mathematical process. You can mix a song without listening to anything, and this is possible thanks to computer programs that allow you to have full control over the characteristics of the audio. Have a formula and follow this from the beginning, so you'll be sure that in the end, your mix will be the best of all.
Formula HSS is the name I gave to the production process I created in the middle of the year 2002 in order to help speed up my mixes and standardise my productions. Certainly this is a formula that guarantees the best results. Study this technique carefully and your sound will improve a lot!
An extra tip from Rodrigo: If you want to know How To Build a Home Recording Studio From Scratch And Get High Quality Audio Using a Production Process, I recommend you take a look at our kindle book right now.
You may also like this:
We believe that a Home Recording Studio can change the future of many entrepreneurs and artists who need to show how great their talents are. Enjoy it!