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 at low volumes. How low? Well, I would say that if I were sitting next to you in your control room, we should be able to have a conversation with the mix playing and not struggle to hear each other. It ought to sound like background music, if that makes any sense. Give this technique a try and see what it does for you.
5. Take breaks! I take a 5-10 min break about every 30-40 min of continuous mixing. I leave to room, get a drink, use the bathroom, kiss my daughter goodnight….whatever it takes to get your ears to reset. Then go back after your short break and give a quick listen to your work and you will instantly hear if something sounds out of place.
6. Check your mixes on several different speaker systems if possible. What I do is to check my mixes on a $25.00 boom box, which sounds like CRAP! If my mix sounds balanced on that cheap boom box then it will translate to just about any computer or car speaker. I also will do a quick check on headphones as a 3rd source. Pretty simple but effective!
So there you go! Six tips to help you make your mixes sound more professional right away and its easy on the wallet. Sure, there are other tips as well but and I encourage our more experienced engineers to chime in and leave a comment. Again, there are no “right or wrong” with any of this recording stuff. This is what has worked well for me and my clients are more than satisfied with the results so these techniques have served me well. Hopefully this is helpful and you can use these on your mixes.
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