From hopeless high-school demos to fantastic finished mixes
If you’ve ever felt discouraged by your muddy mixes and wish you could feel proud of your released records, let me share a story of how terrible my first songs sounded…
Back in high school, my band recorded an album that may go down in history as my favorite worst-sounding album.
I didn’t know anything about mixing back then. I could play the parts well enough, but we couldn’t get our mixes to sound good. The drums were thin. The bass was muddy. The guitars sounded harsh and always fighting with the vocals.
I wanted big and powerful guitars that sounded like the bands we were emulating at the time: Tool, Deftones, A Perfect Circle, 30 Seconds to Mars. Heavy guitar tones.
I felt dejected because we really loved our songs. We had a following and fans were waiting for our album. We couldn’t let them hear the mess we were making. We were embarrassed by how much different our tiny mixes sounded compared to our powerful live shows.
We did our best, and with the help of a professional mastering engineer, we pulled it out of the mud and released the best effort we could at the time, with minimal mixing knowledge. I’m proud of our release and what it symbolized for our career, but I’m hardly proud of how it sounds.
Even years later, while working with another band I still had insecurities when it came to mixing. We were looking for a spacious Americana sound, but I didn’t know how much space was too much. What was the sweet spot when it came to reverb? How much could I add? Should I have used a delay instead?
These questions kept me second-guessing my mixes to the point where I never knew whether they were done or not.
I listened to my mixes on as many speaker systems as I could find, and every time I felt frustrated with how different they sounded. If the bass was too loud on one speaker, you couldn’t hear it on another.
If the kick sat nicely on my earbuds, it overpowered the low-mids when I played it in my car. Again I felt scared that if I let people listen to the songs they wouldn’t like them just because the mixes didn’t sound as professional as the music they were hearing on the radio.
I’m sure you share some of those same feelings? Do you have songs you wish sounded better? Or do you have half-finished mixes on your hard-drive just waiting to be released, except you’re not how to add that final 10% to make it sound polished?
And because your mixes don’t stand up to the songs you like so much your music-making stalls. You lose interest in the process because nothing gets finished.
Your hard drive just becomes a reminder of all the attempts you’ve made at making great mixes. You can only try so many times before you’re ready to give up.
But don’t give up yet because I have the solution you need to confidently finish your mixes so you can be proud to release your songs.
It’s my step by step mixing process you’ll find inside the Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course.
It’s the process I’ve refined after years of working in audio. It helps you avoid all the mistakes and self-doubt I had when I was starting out and feeling insecure about how my mixes sounded.
When you master this process, you’ll know exactly how to get from a rough recording to a finished, professional mix.
Loosely, these are the steps you take:
- You create a rough static mix with volume and panning.
- You make all of your tracks and instruments fit together in the frequency spectrum with EQ.
- You tame the dynamics of your mix and add punch and tightness with tasteful compression.
- You create depth and space with reverb and delay, making your song sound three-dimensional and full.
- You add saturation to select instruments that need that extra polish, that sweetening you hear in your favorite music.
That’s exactly what Mixing With 5 Plug-ins teaches you. However, sometimes you need that extra edge. Some advanced techniques to make your mixes even more powerful.
- You may need to add parallel processing to your drums to make them hit harder, panned delays to make your guitars wider, or parallel EQ tricks to add even more definition and clarity to your bass and low-end.
- Or you need to know how to use advanced techniques like stereo widening, automatic double-tracking, amp simulators or mix-buss processing to add that final polish your mixes need.
Luckily, those bonuses are available inside the Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course for free in the form of the Parallel Processing Masterclass and an Advanced Mixing Techniques walkthrough.
Hundreds of people have used my mixing methods to release professional sounding music. My students have not only felt accomplished with their own released records, but some have also gotten paid for their work!
I would love to travel back in time and tell my timid high-school self how I would master everything I was afraid of back then and then use my knowledge to pay it forward, helping out home studio musicians all over the world.
If you want to be one of those students, today is the day you get started. Mixing With 5 Plug-ins is available at a whopping 50% off until tonight so make sure you join the course before I increase the price.
Just use the coupon code BF50 when you check out to claim your discount!
Here’s where you go if you want to transform your muddy demos into professionally mixed records: