Your Lesson on Experimentation I Learned From My Beat Up Old Saab
This weekend I spent most of Sunday morning struggling to fix the soft top on my 1998 Saab 93.
I have it on permanent loan from people who live in town about two weeks of the year, so it’s a pretty sweet extra ride to have.
I’m way too practical to buy a convertible, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to drive one around for fun.
However, as cool as driving with the top down can seem, it’s a beat up old car that’s prone to have problems.
Saturday night I thought I’d take the top off and drive my wife to dinner. However, looking cool in front of your wife was not in the cards that night, and the top jammed halfway up.
So come Sunday morning, I spent three hours troubleshooting the issue to figure out exactly how the system worked. As it’s both a hydraulic and electronic system that works in tandem, it’s an interesting problem to think through.
It involved a lot of experimentation and trial and error.
- “What happens if I do this?”
- “What happens if I do these things in this order?”
- “What if I change the order around?”
With the help of some incredibly useful Youtube videos, I finally understood how the system worked.
Although I needed to do things in a fairly exact way to make the system work, I learned a lot from the experimentation process. More importantly, I think that’s something you overlook when you’re mixing your songs.
The end product you’re looking for is a “finished mix,” but for you, it doesn’t really matter how you get there. I had to follow some very particular steps to get the top of the Saab working, but I still had to experiment to figure out how it worked without accidentally breaking the top.
You on the other hand, can experiment as much as you want knowing that you’ll never really break your mix. You can always just delete that plug-in, reduce the gain reduction, or boost your high-end less.
You can also do the opposite. Add more plug-ins, slam that compressor, and crank up the EQ boost.
Experimentation is key to discovering how things work. When you’re mixing, you don’t have to be scared about what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do. You should only be concerned with what the “finished mix” sounds like. If your experiments make your mix sound better, all the power to you.
If they don’t, keep experimenting. You’ll probably learn something along the way.
If a systematic approach to experimentation that helps you understand exactly what you’re doing when you’re tweaking your mixes, look no further than Step By Step Mixing.
It’s a step by step system that helps you use the five most important plug-ins you already have in your arsenal. Depending on your needs, you can get the reference book, or upgrade to the full Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course.
Check it out and grab your copy right here: