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Thread: 10 Tips to Improve Your Mixing Skills

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    10 Tips to Improve Your Mixing Skills

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    Mixing is a tough thing to teach to someone, because at the end of the day there really is no right/wrong way to do it, so long as the final product sounds good. That being said, here are 10 tips to help jumpstart your mixes if they're sounding a little "stale" 10 Tips That Will Help You Improve Your Mix Skills in the Studio | ProToolsHelp.com
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    Hi Charlie, nice list, I'd like to add something about the subtractive EQ you said.

    While I agree 100% about it, if your source is recorded properly you might not need to cut anything (or small 1-2db cuts should be applied).
    Same goes for boosts too.

    I disliked the "EQ: Don’t Turn up the Frequencies That You Like" sentence, cause it gives the impression that subtractive EQ is the only way of EQing and boosting is no-no,
    while usually subtractive goes first and additive goes 2nd.

    Can you please send us a portfolio of your mixes, so readers here can listen to your work before implementing anything?

    Don't mean to offend you of course, it's just since someone is teaching, he should always provide the readers the results of his teachings so he can decide
    if he wants to follow his advice or not

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    I am not sure i agree with #10 at all. I am not going to mix on crappy speakers. I will reference on crappy speakers for a reference. But i am not going to detail my mix on speakers from a dollar store. Your mixes on the genelecs were probably garbage because your bedroom studio wasn't treated properly. Or with anything. Which, i might point out no where in those 10 posts did you mention the listening environment?

    Some food in there for thought but some of those talking points are very misleading.

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    How's it going mate? Thanks for your feedback. When posting I try not to be too dogmatic, so I try to throw in terms like "generally" or "usually", as there are always exceptions. Coming from an analog background, a lot of those old school eq's are noisier when boosted and can cause a lot of phase shift, so I generally use subtractive eq as a rule. Now that most people are using plug ins, the added noise is almost zero, so boosting is ok. I plan to do a more detailed article about the ins and outs of EQ at a later date to supplement my point. There are times when I use 12 dB of boost, but that's another topic all together. One mistake I see noob engineers do all the time, is they add all this insane amount of boost, but they never try to cut anything.

    As far as posting up mixes that I've done, I have to look into that. I don't own the intellectual property rights to anything I'v worked on, so posting that stuff up could get me into some legal hot water.

    Hope you enjoyed the article nonetheless

    Peace
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    Hi there,

    Thanks for your feedback. I knew that #10 would stir up some controversy, so that's why I kind of piggybacked it onto #9 where I mention using multiple speakers. I also mentioned that switching to the NS-10's put my mixes back on a more even keel. I didn't make any changes to my room, just swapped out the loudspeakers.
    Please visit my site at PROTOOLSHELP.COM

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShanPeyton View Post
    I am not sure i agree with #10 at all. I am not going to mix on crappy speakers. I will reference on crappy speakers for a reference. But i am not going to detail my mix on speakers from a dollar store. Your mixes on the genelecs were probably garbage because your bedroom studio wasn't treated properly. Or with anything. Which, i might point out no where in those 10 posts did you mention the listening environment?

    Some food in there for thought but some of those talking points are very misleading.
    I must say, I've read/heard time and again from top mixing engineers, like Chris Lord Alge for example, that, although they have multiple sets of speakers (in their case, anything they want, obviously), they predominantly use shitty (and I mean shitty) speakers for most of the mixing. In fact, Chris has a small, crappy cassette stereo (couldn't even be called a "boom box" really) that sits on a rack behind him, and he said that he usually ends up listening to that for about 80% of his mixing work.

    Obviously, no one is suggesting that great monitors aren't useful, but the more I read about pro mixing engineers (and I mean world-class ones), the more I learn that most of them (in my experience) actually spend much less time on the nice speakers than they do on crappy ones. I've started to mess around with this idea just a bit, using the crappy Logitech 2.1 system that I have on my office computer, and I must say that, whenever I've made adjustments to the mix that sound better on those crappy speakers, it usually ends up sounding better through my monitors as well. Actually, not usually---it always has.
    famous beagle

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    You guys need to be careful with your second-hand advice. Some idiot is going to think that junky monitoring is better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg_L View Post
    You guys need to be careful with your second-hand advice. Some idiot is going to think that junky monitoring is better.
    I'm just quoting words that I heard come out of Chris Lord Alge's mouth. And I can't imagine the maker of that crappy cassette deck is loading his pockets full of cash to say that---especially when he didn't even mention the brand or model of it.

    But one thing I'll say is that you hear a lot of snobbish crap from some people that tends to frighten others from even trying to make/record any music. Things like:

    "Oh, you have XXX monitors? Well ... good luck! You may as well be using a land line phone to monitor with. Call me when you get some real speakers."

    "Oh, you're mixing in a bedroom? It's that small? To be honest, it really doesn't matter what you're using; it's going to sound like shit anyway."

    Yet you have Grammy-winning engineers saying things like, "In general, I do most of my mixing on a crappy little boom box," and for some reason that information is completely invalid.

    I'm no mixing expert to be sure, but it seems to me---also backed up by what I've heard and read repeatedly---that when it comes to mixing, experience trumps gear (as it usually the case in my experience), meaning that the most important thing to do is to get familiar with the room, your speakers, etc. and learn how to mix on them. If you look at famous mixing rooms of the past, many of them hardly come close to the stereotypical minimum-requirement setup you often hear about here and on other forums.

    I've seen the old Stax control room where all those hits were mixed (at the museum in Atlanta), and it was a tiny room (smaller than a typical bedroom) with no proper acoustic treatment whatsoever.

    The mixing room at Abbey Road, where almost all the Beatles stuff was mixed, was tiny as well with not much in the way of acoustic treatment, yet they managed to mix the hits of the most enduring band the world has ever seen.

    My point is that there's an "if I only had this piece of gear" mentality to this site (and other places) lots of times, and that doesn't usually end up helping anyone.
    famous beagle

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    I agree with you, except for the lame studio name dropping. Does anyone want to sound like a Stax or Beatles record anymore?

    You don't need to have the best gear available. But you're talking about professionals that have been doing this for decades throwing out little tidbits of bad information for the n00b. For the home recording n00b dummy, he's better off with some moderately decent gear to get going. The learning curve is flattened and accelerated when someone has the basics settled - like decent monitoring and a decent mixing environment. When they get proficient with that, then they can experiment with stupid ideas from stupid pros. Hero worship is a slippery slope. So is pining for the way they did things 50 years ago. Mixing pros always talk about the stupid things they do and then people fall over each other trying to duplicate it. I think they talk shit on purpose just to throw off the sycophants. But then you guys just eat it up.

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    I'd say that the pros use shit because they know what good sounds like.
    A noob has no reference point.

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