In these nice tips, we show you the common mistakes made by many producers during mixing with tips and techniques to avoid them in the future – Feel free to comment with your suggestions!
1. REVERB ON BASS
Reverb is an essential tool of the mix it will make your instruments shine but on the other hand it may turn your mix into a mess. This is especially true on the low frequency sounds like the bass, kick, bass lines and even the lowest notes of the pad. Rather than providing energy and perceptive depth, it will mess up your mix.
Tip: If you are determined to add reverb to such sounds, try adding an equalizer after your reverb, drastically reducing the frequencies below 200Hz so the final sound is cleaner.
2. WEAK HEADROOM (power range up to 0 db)
The Current Synth plug-ins have become truly powerful! Take for example a preset from your favourite plug-in and you can already see the channel reaching almost 0db. It ‘s almost as if the plug-in are trying to surprise you with the volume, the problem is that once you set a sound source loud enough, everything else must be equally strong, which means that your mix will inundate over 0 db,leading to digital clipping.
Tip: A good idea is to avoid this is by starting a project mix by setting all the post-fader volumes down to -6 dB to -8 dB to provide good headroom for mixing everything before starting with the actual mixing.
3. EQ TO BOOST VOLUME
Do you want a louder sound? Use the volume fader. The EQ is not just a tool of empowerment, it is also made to cut frequencies too. A classic mistake is to increase and decrease any band that they have in front of them. The EQ is meticulously designed to equalize i.e. manipulate the data in different frequencies of the sound, but if you’re using it to boost, it may be necessary to cut the same frequencies in other sounds(layers) to prevent the overlap in that particular area of the spectrum of frequencies.
Tip: Reach the right volume before equalizing. This is also called Gain-Staging, and it should be performed before any inserts on the mix. Also, if you’re looking to boost a certain frequency, be sure to cut the frequency in other layers in order to avoid crowding or muddying of the mix. As a rule of thumb, don’t boost or cut more than 6dB on the EQ.
4. OVERCROWDING THE CENTER
When mixing a track, we need to remember that keeping everything center certainly will crowd it,and will not help your final mix. However, as some sounds that generelly should be placed in the center channel like bass drums, bass lines and vocals, others can be placed cynically into the space with other sounds in the mix. Don’t forget the panning control on your channel. Mixing using headphones worsens this problem, in fact, the pan will seem much less accurate compared to a pair of studio monitors and also the spatial separation will seem to be much greater.
Tip: Pan your high synths into the mix using stereo enhancers, or place them in the background using reverbs or low-pass filter.
5. WORKING TOO LONG
Think of it as your ears and your mind may gets accustomed to always listening the same sound, this makes you eventually liking the mix, and you end up making wrong decisions. Firstly, your criticism will be compromised and it will lead you to make bad choices on decibel levels,the amount of reverb, EQ and so on. Secondly, you eventually start increasing the volume of the track – in an attempt to increase the power of sound – tiring your ears even more. Thirdly, it is very likely that you begin adding too many instruments in the high frequencies.
Tip: Take regular breaks and intervals during production (even days)
6. OVERUSE OF PRESETS
We are so used to using presets on every, they’re a good representation of what the plugin can actually do, be careful when using those inside your mix directly because many of them tend to ave varios effects already present on them such as compressors, equalizers, channel strips and also predefined ‘Mastering’. How can these settings ‘recognize’ a mix uniquely from any others? They can’t. You should always use your own hand and create presets(patches, as they like to call it) to each track, so you will also have a personal touch to the sound design.
Tip: Each track is different, so no pre-packaged presets work as well as your ears. Presets can be a great starting point for sound design, but be very careful before implementing them into the mix as it is.
7. ALL DRUMS ROUTED ONTO A SINGLE MIXER TRACK
There are several reasons why the recording sessions of acoustic drums are actually recorded by many microphones, one of which is that the mixing engineer can access individual sounds being mixed. You need to indentify every instrument on the drums, and make a channel for each of them. It’s also pretty commonplace to use noisegates, eq’s,etc to seperate each element in the drum mix.
Tip: Try to use compressor, reverb, etc … seperately on each drum sound. Do not use a single effect on the whole kit, try to work on a multi-channel kit. For an effect to be applied on the whole drum mix, use a post-fader Bus.
8. NO ARRANGEMENT, NO WORKFLOW
When we create our track, we tend to add many elements of which some are probably empty or not used in the final mix. Now, in the mixing stage, these are rendered useless and we need to delete all those elements. It seems a small thing, but this has two advantages: Firstly, the CPU and memory of your computer dedicated to the execution of something redundant will be freed up. Secondly, an arrangement neat and clean helps you understand what you want faster, and saves your time finding out a particular thing.
Tip: Clean your Arrangement, Clear your mind. Also,if possible label the various instruments and color code them.
9. MASTERING AND MIXING SIMULTANEOUSLY
The master channel processors, designed to fill and upgrade your overall mix, are great, especially to percieve a rough draft of the mastered version, be careful not to abuse too much of them, especially at the beginning of mixing. For example, if the master cahnnel uses a single Channel Strip/Maximizer to pump the volume, you will notice that your final mix does not sound good, without it. The momentum that this processor runs will be to unbalance the mix making it dependent on the total processor itself to a correct sound. This means that you’re going to turn off the processor for export to a mastering studio, the entire mixing could be compromised.
Tip: Mix the track properly, before even thinking about mastering.
Bonus Tip : OVER-COMPRESSING THE VOCALS
If there is a vocal in the mix, be careful about it’s consistency, which means the volume has to be decently perfect from the beginning to the end, not also it should have some natural dynamix range. Everyone knows that the compressors flattens dynamics. But, a compressor alone is not enough to ensure a steady volume, so that you can hear every word and phrase clearly.
Tip: Volume automation can be essential and it will give the impression that the voice always remains constant and effortlessly steady over the rest of the arrangement.