How many times have you mixed a song, thought it was finished, then despised it 2 days later? I used to do this all the time, but now I do rigorous testing with my mixes before I consider them ‘finished’.

Even in the best of circumstances, for the greatest producers, bedroom or small studio mixing can pose many problems and roadblocks.

Last week, we gave you 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Recording.

Today, we’ll be looking at 5 Tips Before Finalizing Your Mixes to make sure you won’t regret hitting ‘bounce’.

1. Your Monitors Aren’t Perfect

Don’t just use a single set of monitors to check your mixes. Sure, your track might sound great on those, but you want them to sound great on everything, right?

I like to check my mixes through my monitors, my studio headphones, my stereo, and my car speakers. I know how music should sound on all of those, so I’ll know something is off if it sounds wrong on one of those.

Always use at least 2 points of reference.

2. Phone a Friend

Listening to the same track over and over can actually become fatiguing. I don’t even just mean that it becomes tedious and annoying, but it is physical tiresome to your ears. It’s always a good idea to bring in someone from the outside for an opinion.

Ask a fellow musician, music buff, or even someone with no musical experience what they think of the mix. 

I often bring in my roommate and another guitarist I know to give me feedback on my mixes. Even if I don’t always agree with their feedback, it opens my ears up to possible issues that others may find troublesome.

3. More or Less

This one plays on the rule that ‘Less is More’. While that is a great piece of advice that has been passed down through the ages, it’s not always the right advice.

More often than not, I find it more effective to use subtractive EQ to kill frequencies that I don’t want, rather than using additive EQ to accentuate the frequencies that I do want. What I’m getting at here is that you shouldn’t limit yourself to one strategy.

For Example: If your guitars aren’t cutting through, maybe you need to kill some mud, or maybe you need a boost in the upper mids.

There’s usually more than one way to accomplish a task, so don’t get frustrated if the first attempt doesn’t fix it.

We have a huge guide on EQing Distorted Guitars that I’d strongly recommend reading!

4. Refer to Your Favorites

This tip somewhat goes back to Tip #1. If you are unsure how something should sound in your monitors or headphones, listen to one of your favorite tracks and compare!

Pick something that you like the way it was mixed and use it as a reference. You do have to be careful here as if you try to follow something perfectly, you might just end up stressing yourself out.

Rather than trying to copy the way it sounds exactly, using a well-mixed track as a guideline for leveling out your mix can be highly beneficial to help you attune to your monitors.

5. You Are Never Finished

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

I often find myself struggling to ‘finalize’ my mix. I’ll be 95% finished for like a week and each day, make slight tweaks and sleep on it. The tweaks I make are generally so subtle that it’s barely a noticeable change. I’m not saying it’s a waste of time, but it’s certainly more time spent than I need to.

Just remember that you are never finished. You’ll never be at a point where you can say the song is perfect. Work to a point where you are happy. Don’t overthink and stress yourself out!

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This article was written by Zac Buras, our editor located in Louisiana

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