Lost in the frequency fire…
Sometimes you get lost fighting frequency fires.
A mix I’m working on has driving drums, powerful bass, hard-hitting guitars and edgy vocals. In a word, this song is awesome.
And to make all that power cut through you sometimes keep adding and subtracting random frequencies depending on what you’re feeling.
So you waste time. One minute it’s too harsh so you pull the 2.5 kHz from the mix bus and it gets a little tamer.
After a while, you’re trying to figure out why your guitars aren’t cutting through, so you add more 3 kHz to your guitars when you should’ve just left the master bus alone and dipped some harshness out of the guitars and raised the volume.
Mixing is about balance and when you spin too many plates, sooner or later, your Grandma’s porcelain comes crashing down.
It’s good to have a system to follow when you’re mixing – especially if you created the entire system in the first place.
But you also have to follow the energy of the song. Unfortunately, sometimes that leads to you jumping from one thing to another without thinking about how everything ties together.
That’s when you need to refer back and follow the system. It’s silly to admit, but I actually refer to my own book while I’m mixing if I get into trouble. It’s there for me just as much as it’s there for you.
A recent Step By Step Mixing user says it well:
“Love this book and the format that lays out the bare essentials. Truly a KISS book (Keep it Simple Stupid). Often we are bogged down by all the gadgets and widgets out there and cannot even use the tool we already have properly. Before you spend another dime on some new fangled plugin save your self time and money and get this book. This guy is 100% dedicated to help you with your music.”
His last statement really made me proud. It’s truly a privilege to be able to spend my career helping people make better music.