Transform Your Rough Recordings Into Released Records, Even If You Only Have a Home Studio

Do This For Mix-Ready Songs

If there’s ONE thing I’ve learned in my fifteen years of experience working in audio, doing live, broadcast, and studio mixing, it’s this:

When a song is “Mix-Ready” it’s EASY to mix.

So if you’re a musician and you want to release better music…

…or if you’re a producer who wants to create better tracks…

…and you finally want to master your mixing skills, this Mix-Ready Roadmap will show you why a “mix-ready” song means you can mix better music every time.

If you missed the introduction to the Mix-Ready Roadmap, check it out here before you read on.

Pro Mixes Are Easy If You Believe It

You might think that even if you have a “Mix-Ready” record, you won’t get good results because you lack the high-end gear or years of experience, but that’s simply not true.

Many of my students create songs in bare-bones home studios, and they still release amazing songs that sound awesome.

Take Eric L’Esperance and his band Ash & Eric, for instance. They released their album “Sure” from their simple apartment studio in Massachusetts, which became one of their most successful releases.

Or Ed Charles, for example. You might think that he’s hired an army of session musicians and multiple commercial studios to create his productions, but he actually makes all of his music in a loft in Woodstock, New York.

Making high-quality music with minimal equipment is easy if you have mix-ready records.

But you have to believe you can do it first because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.

Mix-Ready Roadmap Part 1: Mix-Ready Songwriting

Everything builds on the previous part of the production process, starting with the song.

These questions focus on the songwriting, arrangement, and production, setting the stage for a successful mix-ready record.

Are you Happy With the Song Itself?

Make sure it’s fully composed, recorded, and ready for mixing because you won’t fix a boring song with an awesome mix.

Although mixing as you produce is a method that works for people, I’ve found that constantly jumping from the creative composition phase of the songwriting and production to the more analytical and technical part of mixing and mastering will get in the way of finishing your work.

Commit to the sounds you’re producing and move on.

Do You Have All the Necessary Parts?

Verify that your song includes the required elements, such as verses, choruses, and bridges, or any structure that suits your vision.

Does each section naturally flow into the next? Seamless transitions between song sections are crucial for a song’s overall cohesion. If something sounds clunky, you’re unlikely to fix it with some mixing tricks.

In addition, make sure your song’s lyrics and melody are fully prepared before you start recording.

It’s a waste of time and money to work on lyrics while recording, especially if you’re hiring an engineer. And it’s a waste of mental capacity to try to do both the lyric writing and recording simultaneously.

Your song’s melody should resonate with your intended emotions and build up to the chorus effectively. If a song is supposed to sound angry, recording soft vocals will contradict the song’s emotion.

Ice-Cold Examples

As an Icelander, it’s my obligation to be an unofficial ambassador of Icelandic music.

So to give you some examples of great productions that would still be great if you stripped everything except the lead melody and harmonic support (i.e. accompanying instrument), here are a few songs that came on my playlist while I was on a run:

  • GDRN – Parísarhjól (imagine if this was just a vocal and a strummy acoustic guitar).
  • Sykur – Reykjavík (imagine if this was just a vocal with a foot stomp and clap. It would still make for a cool song).
  • Daði Freyr – I’m Not Bitter (I met Daði Freyr at a VIP performance in Phoenix recently where he performed this song with just a vocal and a sparkly-clean electric guitar, and the song stands strong when you strip out the rest of the production).

So, if your mix sounds uninspiring, maybe it’s the song dragging down the production. See if you need to return to the drawing board and strengthen your songwriting first.

Great Mixes Start With Great Ingredients

No matter how expensive the compressor is, it won’t make an unfinished song into a mix-ready record.

You could have the most talented session musicians inside the highest-quality studios in the world, but if they don’t have a decent song to perform, there won’t be anything to mix together.

Mixing is one of the most important parts of producing a song that people want to listen to, but nobody will care about your music if you don’t start with “Mix-Ready” recordings.

Now that you’re confident in your song, it’s time to move on to the next part of the Mix-Ready Roadmap.

This pit stop has everything to do with the instruments that make up the arrangement and how they can make or break the mix.

More on that in our next session tomorrow!


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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

We help musicians transform their recordings into radio-ready and release-worthy records they’re proud to release.

We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use immediately to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

Björgvin’s step-by-step mixing process has helped thousands of musicians confidently mix their music from their home studios. If you’d like to join them, check out the best-selling book Step By Step Mixing: How To Create Great Mixes Using Only 5 Plug-ins right here.