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Thread: How do you choose what instruments will be important and what to cut around

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    Unhappy How do you choose what instruments will be important and what to cut around

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    You know when you got many tracks and you need to mix them. How you decide what's important

    How to find out which frequencies with the equalizer on which tracks to remove

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    When someone sends me a session to mix, I generally assume they intended that everything is supposed to be included, but I'll tell you the secret to a great mix: it all comes down to good production. If they put pieces together that fit in the first place, the less you'll have to try and worry about what you are describing. That said, people go crazy worrying about this more than we ever did back in the day, and it's common sense. What supports the song? Is your kick or your bass the lowest instrument? Just go through and make decisions based on what is most important, and what needs the space. Balance first, EQ first to correct obvious problems, then see what you actually NEED to do.

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    It's very rare for me to have gone to the trouble of recording an instrument only to leave it out.
    But it has happened. Sometimes, something just isn't working and much as I may love the part solo'd and want to hear it forever, I have to discipline myself and recognize when there's a Greek among the Ghanaians or an Armenian among the Americans and that the Greek or the Armenian has to go. It hurts, it's painful but the song is first priority.
    Ask yourself ~ does this part enhance the song ? Does it absolutely have to be there ? Will the song be lesser without it ?
    Then take action based on what your answer is.
    If it's going to stay but it's getting in the way sonically, you experiment with panning, volume and EQ. It's hard to say how I decide because you'd have to be aware of which song I'm talking about and be privy to the tracks and any which may not make the cut.
    In general, I know what is going to be in the song or I wouldn't be recording that part. You know how digital portastudios and current DAW technology offer[ed] loads of tracks or virtual tracks so that the user can do multiple takes and compare ? I never use them and never have. I consider them unnecessary. Recording, songwriting and mixing is ultimately about making decisions and sticking by them.
    Finished is better than perfect.

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    I generally feel like the producer* should make the call of what's crucial to the song. Anything that isn't crucial should be considered ripe for culling if it's hurting the mix.

    A good rule of thumb is that any given section shouldn't have much more than 1 bass rhythm part, 1 mid range rhythm part, 1 lead part, and percussion. What instrument is handling each of those roles should usually be pretty intuitive unless your session is a total mess.
    A part can be composed of multiple instruments if they're doing the same thing. (e.g. two rhythm guitars playing the same part. Multiple vocalists if they're singing the same words in time, even if the notes are different)

    * If there's no designated producer, I'd usually consider the songwriter the de-facto producer.

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