Mixing a great sounding track isn't just about playing with fader levels and plug-ins, it's so much involved. Top mixers know that the key to producing great sounding mixes is more about working with disciplined mindsets.
The quick tip articles below touch on many of these mixing mindset along with some useful pointers and workflows that will enable you to work smarter and more creatively the next time you approach a mix.
In this free extract from the Mixing with Pro Tools plug-ins tutorial with Fab Dupont, Fab demonstrates how to set up a drum “crush” bus. This popular technique involves using heavy compression in parallel with a dry, uncompressed version to add density and excitement to the drum sound.
In spite of the UAD Distressor plug-in having a mix knob, when setting up parallel compression on a drum bus Jacquire King chooses to use a duplicate path and to insert the Distressor on a bus set to 100% wet. This is one of several workflow quirks which Jacquire uses in this free extract from Jacquire King Mixing Lifeboats, the 6th of the series in which different mixers all approach the same project and document their choices through the mix process.
Even when compressors are of the same general type (VCA, FET, opto, etc.), different brands and models often don't sound alike. The same is true for plug-ins that closely emulate their circuitry. In this excerpt from "John Paterno Mixing Lifeboats," Paterno is working on the lead vocal track, and trying to decide on a compressor to use…
In this free extract from his recent tutorial series Fab DuPont shows how he uses a repurposed tube preamp from an old spring reverb to add dirt and colour to a track by inserting it across the Mix bus. This free video extract is from a tutorial in which Fab describes his system for recalling a hybrid mix for Ulrich Forman's song, "1234" full of analog hardware to reset, reverbs to re-time and processes to recreate.
In this free extract from his recent tutorial series Brian Moncarz shows how he used duplicate tracks with alternate processing to provide the lift in the chorus of "Drop Me In The Water" from Our Lady Peace, something many of us might achieve using volume automation.
In this free extract from his tutorial series in which Andrew Scheps mixed the Green Day single “Bang Bang”, Andrew takes us through his mix decisions on the toms. While you might think a well-recorded tom might just need a gate, in this free extract we see how a clear vision of wanting “stadium drums” led to some interesting choices in processing. We particularly liked the use of pitch shifting on the reverb to add a sense of space.
Do you use references when mixing? If so do you have any tracks you use all the time? We asked the Production Expert team and got very different answers.
Some people refer to “mixing tricks” but are they really tricks? When is a technique just a technique? Julian looks at some common examples and decides.
Primarily, I’d use the original Insight in post production and mastering. I might refer to it from time to time for mixing, but not as often as in other cases. This has changed with Insight 2, as the suite provides several improvements that make it a killer companion for mixing duties for me. In this article I will outline its killer features…
A mix can quickly lead you down dark and frustrating rabbit holes that are difficult to come out of, however, we have some essential mixing tips that will hopefully help you to avoid getting suck when you mix your next song in Pro Tools. These tips will inspire you to develop some basic mixing disciplines and mindsets as mixing isn't just about moving faders and loading up plug-ins you know...
Without the following disciplines, mixes can quickly get the better of you. You'll only have yourself to blame if you don't work to a set of mixing disciplines. Below are 5 mixing disciplines I have used for many years that I regard as essential mixing rules which help to mix music that I'm proud and my clients praise and pay for.
If you are new to editing audio in Pro Tools then I strongly recommend you learn the keyboard shortcuts in this article as these will speed up your workflow.
Incorporating keyboard shortcuts into your Pro Tools Mixer workflow will help you get your mixes done more efficiently. In this article, I list my essential Pro Tools Mixer Window keyboard shortcuts that help me manage large Pro Tools Sessions while also saving me several thousand clicks of the mouse as well.
I am a partially sighted Pro Tools user, being able to see small plug-in controls is an everyday challenge for me. I have personally never "mixed with my eyes" because my vision is so bad it's impossible, I have to rely on my ears.
"Overthinking a mix" - we've all caught ourselves doing this at some point. Overthinking a mix is usually the point where we start to overcomplicate the mix process, which in turn clouds our judgement making it difficult for us to finish a mix.
We have all heard the expression "a mix is never finished, it’s abandoned”. When does any recording artist know when to put their audio brush down and declare that their masterpiece is done?
Mixing is a, first and foremost, a creative process. People are generally more than happy to jump head first into a mix with little regard for the most basic stages of mix preparation. It's these types of individuals that ask me time and time again to explain why their mixes have a tendency to "come undone"
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.
Learn Some Cool Mixing Techniques In Our Free 15 Minute Mix Challenge Videos
A great way to either learn new how to mix a song or improve your mixing skills is by watching someone else work an entire mix. Below are several videos showing you how to mix a song in a tight timeframe using a variety of popular mixing plug-in bundles.