Two Simple Tricks That Could Save Your Mix
Be honest...we've all done this before.
You’re in the middle of a mix and working on one singular element. You begin making EQ or compression adjustments to the track, but you just cannot pinpoint what changes you are making. You solo the track to hone-in on that single element and then sculpt it to the sound of your preference.
This is a no-go.
Sure, you can now hear the changes better, but you lose context within the mix. If the song was comprised of that single element, then go ahead. But this is a mix; our goal is to mix every track with one another. In solo, you cannot hear how the now-altered sound fits into the rest of the song.
Avoid working on single tracks in solo (or if you must, do it briefly).
A method you can use to prevent yourself from doing this is to bypass whatever processing plugin you are using on the track. By turning the plugin on and off, you can better hear the differences you are making without having to solo the track.
Easy, right? Here's another one.
The most common way to start a mix is by taking care of the overall initial balance and levels of the elements. 80% of the sound of your mix will come from this first step, so it is important that you get this right. A method I have come to use is the The Mono Trick.
By listening back in mono, you lose the stereo field of your mix. In this case, that's a good thing. This forces your ears to work harder and listen with more attentiveness. It will be more difficult to get a good balance in this state, but that is the whole point. If you can achieve a nice initial mix when everything sounds right on top of your head, as soon as you go back into stereo it will be as if listening to an orchestra with every instrument having its own lane. I stay in mono for the volume, EQ, and compression stages of the mix, then I go into stereo for the reverbs and delay effects.
That's the trick: Get better results from your mixes by listening back in mono.
Drop a comment if these two quick tricks helped your mix, and stay up to date with more Editorials from Music Never Ends.
Listen to No Chaser, performed by The Neverending Mixtape and engineered by Jalen, below.