If I had to describe mixing music to a layperson, I would say that mixing combines musical arranging with the idea of sculpture. To mix effectively, we must have a vision of how the song will sound when it’s finished and then we chip away at the arrangement to make room for its shape to take form. When I get a song to mix, I first listen to the rough mix to understand what the song is about and what elements are “in the way” of the song. Maybe some musical parts that seem really interesting don’t actually contribute to the song or actually mask the important elements of the song. As a mixer or producer a big part of the job is reducing or clearing away the clutter that hides the song. Often, simplifying the production makes the whole thing come together. Only after the clutter is removed can we enhance the core elements of the song with the proper placement, perspectives, and ambiences.
In this eBook we discuss the mindset of mixing and how to feature the meaningful elements of a mix. Like a chef, you have to know what great food tastes like before you can cook your own meal, so read the articles here and dedicate a few minutes every day to listening and studying successful productions. Analyze songs you want to compete with to see what makes them tick and learn to apply that knowledge to your mixes.
Take special note of the article “How to Prepare a Mix for a Mastering Engineer” so that you efficiently and effectively deliver your mix to a mastering engineer, client, or record label. Understanding your deliverables in a part of the pro mixer mindset that can separate you from the rest of the crowd.