Which one of these lies are you buying into?

(Hint: I’ve been guilty of all of ’em in the past.)

1. I don’t need to listen to my mix on anything other than my studio monitors.

2. The more time I spend on this mix, the more perfect it will be.

3. This mix sounds bad in my car because my car stereo sucks.

4. If I can’t hear something in the mix, it’s because I haven’t compressed it enough.

5. I can make this mix sound huge by mixing through a limiter.

6. It’s better to spend 3 hours “fixing” a crappy guitar recording than to spend 30 minutes re-recording it properly.

7. “Get it right at the source” is only a suggestion. I can still get great mixes, even with bad-sounding recordings.

8. Maybe no one will notice that this guitar part is out of tune.

9. The snare drum gets lost in the mix, but it sounds amazing in solo, and that’s all that matters.

10. This reference mix sounds worse than my mix. I must be awesome!

Mixing’s a tricky business. And knowing the right way to use compression is a big part of the battle.

For the cold, hard truth about compression, go here:


Joe Gilder

6 Responses to “10 Mixing Lies You’re Telling Yourself”

  1. Xan

    1. No. I have never been guilty ov this one. I have always known too well that mixes that sound good in the studio don’t necessarily translate well to other environments.

    2. I hate spending too much time on a mix. If it is starting to become necessary it probably means that this is a ‘bastard’ track!! hehe I find you get at least one on an album!

    3. My car stereo DOES suck. I need to replace the speakers cause they start making very nasty plopping noises whenever they are subjected to any kind ov bass freqs. Hence the Bass is set down to about -6db, so it makes for a very tinny stereo. But I agree though, this is no excuse. A mix should still sound good within the known limitations ov the system it’s played on.

    4. Only an idiot would think this.

    5. Ov course we try this sometimes. It works occasionally, but more often not.

    6. Obviously it’s better to do a re-take. But sometimes we get sucked into trying to fix something, get so involved the time goes by and suddenly it’s like “shit I could have just re-done this..!’ hehe

    7. It’s a damn good suggestion, no mistake about that. But it is not *absolutely* mandatory. Sometimes we don’t have a choice to “get it right at the source”. Especially when one is involved in long distance collaborations with people and their tracks are at the mercy ov their tracking skills. I don’t think this is the problem it used to be because most seem to track with virtual stuff on their computers which usually results in a pretty “pro” sound, albeit rather “plastic” in my opinion. But an excellent plastic sound is probably easier to work with than a crappy organic one..! haha

    8. You might start with attitude, but before you finish the mix that part will drive you batty! Sometimes it’s possible to fix it with pitchshift or autotune but now refer to statement number 6!! hehe

    9. Snare drums that sound amazing on their own tend to get lost in the mix. Crappy ones tend to mix better..heh

    10. Hmmmmm depends on what the objective was ov the reference mix. What can one really say to this? 😉

    PS: How is everyone going with their crappy speakers?

    • Jason

      Bought new speaker wire for my bookshelf stereo system. Having Bose passive speakers isnt quite “crappy” lol but there only about 4″ with some port hole for low end and the receivers like a generic Sony or something. I mix on 8″ HS80m’s so there’s a huge difference. But yeah, its been fun goin back n forth…I have a Presonus HP4 so the receiver is just just plugged into a headphone output. I just mute the monitors and turn up ‘headphone 4’ and back again.

    • Jason

      “Hmmmmm depends on what the objective was ov the reference mix. What can one really say to this? ”

      If ur reference mix sounds less “lively” or less anything good than ur mix, its probably a good idea to check what ur listening thru. If a ref mix sounds muddy compared to urs, it might be that ur system needs eqing or ur room acoustics are off.

      If ur mix sounds “better” than when u listen to it on SOME systems its like “OMG….this is waaaay to bright” or “there’s waaaaay too much hi-hat”. Ref mixes should sound good across most/all systems.

      An interesting story, on my way to work, I put on a mix I made the nite before. It sounded dull and lifeless…it made me sad lol. Then I switched to a ref track and it too sounded dull and lifeless lol. So I turned it up a bit and flipped some eq around, got it sounding good, then switched back to my track. Well, my track sounded pretty good afterall. Not perfect of course but it cheered me up before I had to get out of the car and go to work 😛

    • CamBam

      I literally just got done tracking drums where I only mic’d the bottom of the snare. It sounds horrible in solo, but it fits perfectly in the mix. For the fills, I am going to use some automation to emphasize the overhead’s snare sound so it doesn’t sound horrible.

      • Xan

        When I used to record drums a lot what I always found was that if the drummer had a really good well tuned snare with a fresh (but played in) skin it was best to use the classic snare mic technique. But if they had a horrible flaccid sounding drum then I always mic’d it from the bottom with the mic pointing straight at the wires.

        This *was* in the analogue days where the tape would warm that sound up a bit, but I started finding that the snare sounds that way were most ov the time the better ones to mix.

        It only works with a bad sounding drum, if you mic a good one that way it sounds awful!

        As for your mix though, rather then spending all day with automation on the overheads. You might just want to try using the snare track to trigger a better snare sample. Sometimes this sounds really awesome mixed with the OH sound from the original drum. Plus you will not have to worry about phase issues! 🙂


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