It simply sucks when you’ve worked so much to give life to a song, but then the mix is just not where you want it to be. Over the years, I’ve mixed and mastered over 250 songs, and these are some reasons why your mix is not perfect… YET:
5 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. You need to have power in your low end, either from the bass or from the kick. Low end alone is 50-60% of your mix, and a bad a low end can definitely destroy your mixing. A couple of rules that I follow when mixing my low end: (1) Always start your mix with your low, as it is the most important part of it, and then mix the rest around it. (2) Don’t let your sub, in most cases, be louder than your kick. This happens and it is expected in dubstep, but not in most genres. (3) Listen to tracks you like and use them as references, as I mention in this video about how to set the kick and sub’s volume. You can also check our guide on how to mix low end over here.
2. As mentioned, you need to use reference tracks, even if just in your mixing & mastering process. When you’re mixing and mastering, you need to understand how loud is ‘too loud’, and also the opposite, and looking into a spectrum of / listening to a reference track can help you understand if an element needs to be louder or quieter by comparing your track to the reference. For example, put both your track and reference at the same loudness and compare if the hi hat is too loud or too quiet, then adjust your track. You can do the same with a lot of other elements and also use tools to help you out with this like EQ Matching tools and/or Spectrum analyzers, as you can see in this video.
3. You need to ask for feedback and you need to be open to hear what people say to you. Consider feedback as a beta test of your song in the ‘market’, which is really important because it gives you a first impression of how a possible label might react to your song. Second, since you’ve already listened to your song at least 100 times, you might be missing on / biased by your current mix, so asking someone for feedback is like getting a pair of fresh ears to give opinions on your songs. At the same time, ask 2-4 people at most for feedback to avoid too many opinions and take the comments that (1) you agree with and (2) that are common among the feedback you receive. Lastly, if 4 people are saying something to you even if you don’t agree, I’d look into it. By the way, feel free to send your track to us!
4. You need to mix with a purpose or you could overdo your mix, and finish less music. If you don’t know where you want to go, you don’t know where you need to stop, which often is a big problem when doing your mix and overwork it to the point that you don’t even like it anymore. And the more you fall into this, the less music you finish… Sounds familiar? If so, before starting your next mix and master, use reference tracks as ‘target points’ to your mix and it will help you immensely when mixing your songs. Set your mind to have your high end as high as Track 1, the low end like track 2 and the mids like Track 2 and boom you have targets to achieve and at least know you want where you want to take your mix to.
5. You can’t mix your song without checking your mono signal. This was a huge discussion on my latest live stream and on discord as well because I comment about it a lot. In simple words, the main elements of your song have to be present in your song and in mono and in stereo and if they disappear, make sure to put them in mono as well. This will help a lot when translating your tracks from high-end to low-quality speakers and it will help keep the experience more uniform. To check this, place a ‘mono toggle’ at the end of your mix and listen to your track. Then, if you miss anything, put that element in mono by increasing its mono signal.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What is your biggest problem when it comes to mixing?
1. Low end? Check our low end mixing guide over here and our videos on youtube as well for a really in-depth explanation of low end mixing.
2. Are elements getting lost in your mix? Maybe these elements are ‘invading’ other regions of the mix that they shouldn’t go to. For example, make sure your pad doesn’t invade your bass’ region
3. Loudness in the master? Often, not being able to push your master as loud is a mixing problem and, if I had to point out where, I’d start with the low end.