If you are new to mixing then this list should help you, if you a veteran then you can drop your top tips at the end of this article in the comments. In the meantime, here are 5 mixing mistakes you should avoid.
Compress The Hell Out Of It
With the advent of mix bus compressor plug-ins and our immersion into flat-lined MP3s, some people think the challenge is to see how little the master output signal should move, it’s not. With the introduction to loudness normalisation into more and more delivery systems, like broadcast TV, iTunes Radio and Spotify, there is little point in over using compression in an attempt to make my track louder than anyone else's, because it will just get turned down.
Wash It All Out
Reverb used well is an art, but stick a different reverb on every channel or put so much on a send that it sounds like an acoustic Tsunami and your track will lose all clarity. Whenever I mix one of the final things I do is to pull all the time delay effects down by 3db - more is less. Also, try increasing the pre-delay on reverbs so separating the reverb from the dry audio and again you won't need as much.
There’s A Hole In My Life
Or for a lot of people, right in the centre of their mix, often vocals and guitars are missing some vital mid-range eq to help them cut through. Leave the smiley face graphic EQ shapes to Hi-Fi catalogues
Not Enough or Too Much Tuning
Lazy auto-tune is awful, which is simply to dial in a preset amount of auto-tune on the whole track. Take time to go through vocals and apply auto-tune at a forensic level, even if you insist on heavily stepped tuning, it’s more impressive on parts of the track, not all of it. We are human beings and a lot of the interest is those human touches, so taking them out takes away the feel to a track.
Taking It Out Of Context
Make sure you listen to appropriate reference material before you start mixing. If you’re mixing for a client then get them to send you examples of what kind of sound they like. If you are working on your own material then listen to some tracks you’re trying to sound like. Of course also listen to it in the room you’re mixing in so you can hear how the room sounds.
So there you are, 5 things that can make or break a mix - what tips do you have?