When you first start your career as a mix engineer, you can be quite overwhelmed. You need to remember that your success will come from lots of experience. To help you get your results quicker though, I have a list of five stakes that are common in first time studio mixes from those who aspire to be mix engineers.
1. The mixing is too loud.
When noise is over 90 dB, as a self-protection mechanism, your ears start to compress. Because of this, if you create a mix that is above 90 dB, there will be problems hearing certain instruments when it is listen to below 80 dB. Even though you could not hear the problem when making it, what you have created is a bad mix.
2. Deciding not to use a reference mix.
A reference mix can sometimes be seen as a double-edged sword. We want to listen to the competition so we know the dynamics balance and frequency that our customers will be wanting to hear in their own mixes. On the other side of the sword, though, these commercial releases have been professionally mastered. A reference mixes good if you’re trying to determine the frequency balance, but if you try to match the volume, you will merely get frustrated and likely mess up the mix.
3. Trying to put together a political mix.
When you try to make sure all the instruments are allowed or that the instruments reflect the political dynamic of the band, this is when you have a political mix. When you are creating a mix, the only guiding principle should be what sounds good. You should always let the song itself determine the mix.
4. Managing a bad mix.
Many times, a new engineer will start at his mix with one instrument. As he continues to instruments, the levels of the mix to come out of control. The only way to get control back is to start over.
5. Using too much reverb.
The typical new mixer goes overboard with effects. They tend to add reverb to everything to give their mix the feeling of grandeur. The mixes need to have perspective from all angles to make it work well. To do this, try to visualize the band on the stage and where everything would be in that situation.
By following these tips, even new mixers can find success.