Top 6 Mixing Mistakes & How To Avoid Them PT 1

mixing May 22, 2018

This week we are going to look at the first three of six mixing mistakes many of us make and a tip on how to avoid them. Let jump right in shall we?

1. Too Much Bottom End – a lot of home studios usually do not have the proper acoustic treatment to produce an accurate low end of a mix and that usually mean the mixer over compensates and ultimately they end up with too much low end.

TIP – Take great care to properly acoustically teat your mixing room and that will really help you dial in the proper amount of low end

2. Terrible Treble – On the other end of things a lot of mixers want a bit of sheen and polish on their mixes and they boost up the 7K – 10K range and that range of frequency’s will tend to add a lot of sibilance to a vocal and a bit of harshness to high hats.

TIP – Make sure you use a D-esser on both the vocal and high hats or cymbals if they are a bit harsh. This will help you add air to a mix with out becoming to...

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Be Wise About Your Gear Upgrades

gear / plugins May 15, 2018

Buying new gear for our home studios:  What is more fun than that, right? We all do it. No matter how many people tell us we don’t “need” new gear or that the new gear won’t make our recordings any better and “it’s all in how we use the tools we have”, right? I know I have said this a million times to my students and even myself; but there is something exciting about upgrading our gear or adding a new tool that we didn’t current have. I am just as guilty of this as many of you reading this.

So if we have a few extra bucks and want to make a purchase for our studios lets at least make a smart purchase. Lets at least make a purchase that can really help and really be a true “upgrade”. For example, if you already have several vintage style compressor plugins and some plugin company adds their version of the 1176 emulation do we really need to spend $300 on that when we already have 3 other versions of the 1176 in our...

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3 Tips For Achieving a Great Bass Guitar Sound in Your Mix

mixing May 08, 2018

Do you ever struggle with getting a good, solid, consistent bass sound in your mix? Do your mixes always sound either too boomy or too thin, or do they simply not cut through the mix and sit well in the track right?

We have all had this issue at one time or another and I have a few tips I have picked up along the way and they have really helped me, so I want to pass them along to you.

1. Use Small Amounts of Distortion or Chorus - Most times people record bass by simply plugging straight into an interface directly and they don’t use an amp. Or they use an amp and the tone is rather clean. One way to make that bass “pop” is to add a little of distortion to grit things up. Not too much, keep it barely audible and you will be surprised how much this helps. Another thing you can try is adding a pinch of chorus to the bass track. Again, keep it subtle. Too much will make the bass sound too wobbly.

 2. Spend Time Playing with the Attack Settings on the...

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How Do I Go About Getting New Clients? Here Are 5 Tips

studio business May 01, 2018

 Ok, this time I am going to address the question I receive ALL THE TIME from people who are just starting out as a home studio owner and/or someone who has been in business for a short while and are doing ok but want to grow and get more business. I am going to share with you a handful of tips that I have used over the years that have worked for me, to the point where now I get about 70% of my work from referrals / word of mouth in my area. I know there are far more great tips than what I am about to write here, so please chime in and leave a comment below if you have an idea or tip that has worked for you personally.

 1. Build a professional-looking website.  This seems pretty obvious but I will tell you that in my home state, when I first started out, the very first thing I did was research all of the recording studios in my state and let me tell you how piss-poor 98% of the websites that I found. They were basic at best and looked very armature. Almost...

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Setting Good Levels At The Recording Stage

recording Apr 24, 2018

I mix dozen of records every year for clients all over the world. These artists have their music recorded in all different types of recording studios. Some are more high-end studios while others are the simple 1-room studios in a friend’s house. Regardless, I see a very similar pattern in many of these recordings.

I first will import the audio files into my DAW of choice or I will simply open the session files that was sent to me. I then put all the fader at 0db and hit play and guess what I see? 85% of the time when I look at the master fader it’s a wonderful shade of RED! Yes, clipping right from the get go. I look at each individual track and they are almost always peaking at around -1db to -3db. Even sometimes specific tracks have audible digital distortion as well. I put my hands over my face and shake my head.

This weeks lesson is about recording / tracking at constrictive levels. I teach all my students that you should be tracks in the digital domain at -10db to...

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Setting Up Your Mix For Success

mixing Apr 17, 2018

Hello once again. I hope everyone is finding the last couple of posts regarding starting your very own professional home recording studio useful. What do I mean by professional? Well are you taking in clients and producing great products and making money in the process? Then to me, you are considered a professional.

Anyway, this time I want to take a quick break from our last discussion and answer a question I received in an e-mail the other day. I thought this would be a perfect tip for the very beginner as it pertains to mixing. The question was.....

“How do I go about starting my mix? What should I do first? Do you have a standard process you follow before getting into processing individual tracks?” Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks – Alan

Well thank you Alan for your question and as a matter of fact, yes I do have a 5-step process I do to start of each and every mix and here it is…..

1.) Create a new song or project in my DAW and open my...

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Mixing in Mono....What's the Point?

mixing Apr 10, 2018

 I listen to a lot of my students mixes after the have taken once of my MADE EASY courses and have found that several of the mixes have a bit of “mud” in the low / low mid range. When I hear this I wonder if they checked their mix in mono before the final print.

Most of us mix in stereo almost all the time and we do a lot of panning of instruments to the hard left and hard right (guitars for example). So that usually leaves the bass guitars and kick drum up the middle. It’s pretty easy to get things sound well balanced from a frequency point of view when you use the entire stereo field. However, when you fold everything to mono all of a sudden there is a low-end build up that make the entire mix sounds a little muddy or boomy.

The reason for this is those guitars and other instrumentation panned to the left and right have some low end frequency’s in them even though you use a high pass filter you may not grab and roll off enough low end. So when that all...

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Is Doing Work For FREE Really the Way To Attract Clients?

studio business Apr 03, 2018

I have discussed this topic with many of my private students over the years. Here is the basic question I receive a lot.

“I am a new recording engineer and I offer my services for free and I can’t seem to get any takers, any advice”?

I always answer this question with a question. I’ll ask my student, “are you constantly meeting and interacting with musicians on a regular basis and no one needs to have any recording done or did you simply put up a Facebook post or two and you are waiting for clients to find you?"

When you are new to this game I know it can be difficult and sometimes intimidating to put yourself out there but in this game, especially at the beginning it’s all about self-promotion. At least until you are at a level where past clients will do a lot of the promotion to other artists for you.

Here is how I would tell you to start. Make sure you have a portfolio of examples of your work that people can listen too. If you were to walk up...

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Acoustic Treatment Is The Least Sexy Thing But It's Important

in the studio Mar 27, 2018

I must get three e-mails per month from people who are frustrated because their mixes do not translate outside of their studio. The e-mails goes something like this…

“Hi David – I have a question. I have been mixing for about a year and I am having a terrible time getting my mixes to sound good on a variety of different sources (ie. car, i-pod, hi-fi system etc.) I work on a mix for days and get it to sound perfect in my studio and as soon as I bring it to another sound source the entire mix falls apart. What am I doing wrong here?”

When I receive an e-mail like this the very first thing I ask is:

“What type of acoustic treatment do you have in your mixing space”?

Most time the response is either “none” or “I have a few panels of foam on the front wall behind my speakers”. Here is where the issue lies.

We are all so caught up on the latest vintage / analog plugins, outboard gear, the latest DAW, etc.,  that we forget...

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6 Things Improve Your Mixes That Wont Cost You a Dime PT 2

mixing Mar 20, 2018

Ok, let's pick up from last week's blog post.....Here is PT 2

4. Mix at a low volume. Actually, as low as you can possibly stand….LOL. This is something that took me a while to wrap my head around and was very challenging for me to stick too. Our instinct is to turn things up, make the room rock! Everything sounds good a louder volume levels right? You want the drums to sound BIG, turn them up! LOL. Well the real secrete is to make those drums sound BIG at a low listening level. If you can do that, then regardless of the volume that the listener listens to your mixing masterpiece, it will always sound BIG and FULL and it WILL ROCK! Not to mention mixing at low volumes will save your ears and allow you to mix for longer periods of time. Now this does not mean don’t ever do a quick 10 second check of your mix at a louder volume. You need to do that as well. Break the pattern of what your ears are hearing so they “reset” themselves, but do most of your mixing...

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