In this week’s Ask Joe podcast, I answer some pretty cool questions. We cover everything from mixing vocals to how to decide how many tracks to record on a particular song.


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Topics covered:

  • Mixing vocals
  • Finding a good computer for recording
  • The right number of tracks for your song
  • Dealing with USB latency

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3 Responses to “Ask Joe #39 – Mixing Vocals, Recording Computers, and more”

  1. Jordan

    I too have noticed difficulty in using a reference track, simply because I’m pretty sure all the other music I have is already mastered, so there’s a small discrepancy there

  2. Robert Aquin - Montreal

    Great podcast, as usual, Joe, but with regards to using a reference mix or track I find it hard to really compare what I’m doing to a pro mixed song.
    For instance, I probably don’t have the same instruments as what the original musicians played. Was the guitar a Les Paul through a Marshall stack? I’m using an Epiphone through a Vibrolux Reverb. I’m probably using EZ Drummer to try to match the ‘live’ drummer in the original band. What about the vocals? My voice is sure as shootin’ not anything like the original singer (I ain’t no George Strait!).
    …how then do I use the reference track?
    Robert – Montreal
    P.S. EVERYBODY should become VIP members

    • Joe Gilder

      It’s all about having something to bring you back to reality. You’re not trying to copy the reference track entirely. But you’re making sure your song is in the same ballpark. The fact that it’s mastered doesn’t really matter. Just turn it down to match the volume of your song.
      From there you’re comparing basic stuff. Does my track have a lot more low end than the reference track? Is the lead vocal in my song much louder than the lead vocal in the reference track?
      You ask questions like these. If you NEVER listen to a reference mix, then you have NO way of knowing if your mix is moving in the right direction. You could spend 6 hours working on a mix, only to find that your bass is WAY too loud. Had you been regularly listening to a reference mix, you would have noticed immediately the there was WAY more bass in your mix than in the reference mix, and you could adjust accordingly.
      The reference is supposed to give you that harsh jerk back to reality. Your mix might sound good to your ears, but when you compare it side-by-side to a well-mixed song, the flaws start to come out. And that’s a good thing. It gives you a…wait for it…reference point.
      Hope that helps.


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