1. Not Editing Your Tracks
The mixing process becomes so much easier when you’re working with great sounding tracks. Although one part of that is getting those sounds right at the source, another part is making sure those tracks are edited correctly. That means editing both for groove and unnecessary noise. Noisy tracks cause problems when you add compression and bad timing means lack of feel and listening enjoyment.
2. Not Leaving Enough Headroom
Mixing doesn’t mean mastering. That’s a whole different process. But you should still mix with mastering in mind. That means leaving enough headroom on the master fader and setting up your tracks so that they have the correct gain staging.
While there’s less worry about headroom on individual tracks with today’s technology, you still need to make sure your mastering engineer ends up with something that isn’t squashed or peaking before he even starts mastering.
3. Not Listening To Your Compressor
Compression, along with EQ, is arguably your most important mixing tool. If you don’t listen to your compressor and just aimlessly twiddle knobs until you think something sounds good you’re in for a long learning curve.
Knowing how all the knobs interact and how to troubleshoot weird sounding compression settings is what makes you a master at compression.
4. Just Using Presets
While presets are a great starting point, they’re a terrible alternative to knowing what you’re actually doing. Putting on the “Snare Snap” preset sounds cool and all but that preset has no idea what it’s listening to. It’s just too generic to be helpful without you knowing how to tweak it.
5. Drums Blowing Through the Roof
Think of the drums in the mix as one of those actors in movies you don’t know the name of but every time you see him or her you know it’s going to be good. That’s how you should treat your drums. As supporting actors that don’t interfere with the leading role but when it’s their time to shine they really knock it out of the park.
6. Not Using Groups and Busses
Creating a simple mixing process is a must if you don’t want to do the same things over and over again. Using groups and busses is the #1 to simplify your mix and making you both faster and better at your job.
7. Incorrectly Using Sends and Inserts
This is the most common mistake I see even the most experiences engineers doing. While every rule is made to be broken, you still have to know the correct way to break it. Using the same parameters for a reverb on an insert that you would use as a send? That’s a terrible idea.
8. Not Filtering When You EQ
Don’t be afraid to cut unnecessary crap from your tracks. Don’t just lightly cut your low-end when your instrument doesn’t need it. Get. Rid. Of. It.
The same goes for high-end filtering.
This is a skill, because too much filtering and you’ll end up with tinny-sounding and lifeless instruments.
9. Using Too Much Reverb
You’re probably reading this and thinking to yourself, “Yep. Guilty as charged.”
Also one of the most common mistakes you make with your mixes. And it’s understandable because all that lush reverb just sounds so good!
But when you add it to everything you’re just left with an ocean of instruments, all drowning in reverb.
10. Not Checking in Mono
I recommend mixing in mono for a while just to make sure all your instrument are still there. In the video portion of the Mixing Mistakes eCourse I show you when a guitar solo can actually vanish from your mix if you’re not careful with stereo processing.
Mono is the best way to double-check stereo issues.
Are You Making These Mixing Mistakes?
So those are the mistakes you’ll learn to avoid in my Mixing Mistakes eCourse. Even if you thought you knew to avoid most of these things, the additional tips and tricks you learn will give you idea to make even your best mixes better.