Mixing With A Plan

I’m often asked,”But how do you mix, exactly?” I do it exactly by ear, but I also know a couple of shortcuts. I start by getting a balance of instruments where everything in the mix can be clearly heard. If I’ve done a very good job of capturing the sounds at the source, this static, mono mix should come together very quickly; good musicians mix themselves, so the faders should be at or close to nominal, leaving headroom for any fader moves that might later be necessary. If that sounds too much like work, you could try this:

Note that I have not as yet done any surgery on individual channels other than mutes, edits and general cleanup, and maybe a digital gain adjustment, in case I  screwed up somewhere and need more of the afore-mentioned mix/fader headroom. At this point, I’ll  apply bus processing as follows:

Eight times out of ten, the above accounts for 90% of the work; the rest is level and pan automation, if necessary, and effects/adjustment thereof; again, if necessary. It’s really easy to chase yourself down a rabbit hole listening to individual channels in SOLO, so don’t do it unless you have to; the point is  to get it all sounding great together.

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