I tried posting this yesterday, but I ran into some technical roadblocks, so here ’tis.

I’ve got a new video for you today. Live from my home studio…

[flashvideo file=http://hsc-video.s3.amazonaws.com/4hourstomix-4.mov /]

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the blog post explaining the mixing course in a bit more detail. The doors open on MONDAY (3/29)!!

Also, don’t forget about the live streaming concert tomorrow night (3/27) at 5pm Central Time. I honestly don’t know how good the audio quality will be (fingers firmly crossed), but I’ll also be recording it all into Pro Tools. [Hint: If you join the new mixing course, the live recording might be a bonus…just sayin’. :-)]


I’ll be answering questions about the upcoming mixing course after the concert on Saturday. So come listen to some music, then stick around afterward, and we’ll have a live Q&A.


  • Adam S

    Great tip Joe, thanks!

    It took a while for me to realize that creating constraints (don’t need more gear, don’t need more plug-ins, don’t need more sound samples) is helping me focus.

    I set a pretty realistic goal for myself for this year to write a song a month. This seems like the next logical step to achieve my goal…more granular time contraints for specific pieces of the process.

  • The ‘taking a break’ idea has really been on my mind lately. I spent three hours working on a mix recently. Afterwards, I added the bouncedown to my iPod playlist, where the previous semi-mixed version still was (I tend to do a lot of level, EQ, and effects adjustments while I’m still tracking). Anyway, playing them side-by-side, I realized how much better the original version sounded — I’d been chasing some sort of ‘analog warmth’ ideal, and had turned by song into a fuzzy mess with no presence.

    At least for me, it’s easy to get carried away with a certain sound during a long mixing session, and end up going down the wrong road. SO, I think my new rule will be to spend no more than one hour a day mixing any given song, and to save a unique session file and bounce after each session.

  • aLf

    Nice video, but the time limits for a mix are in my opinion to short…

    According to the Pareto principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle) I would do aprox. 3/4 from a mix in 3-4 hours and the rest would take 1 day!

    Probably, I do the first 3-4 hours a “static” mix (volume, panning and so on) and the rest of the time I doing tweaks, automatation, FX and stuff like that.

    I spend 2 days to complete a mix and that´s not to much, I think. I mean, there´s lot of editwork to do sometimes and only editing drums can cause a lot of hours work.

    • True, but I’m talking about JUST mixing. Editing drums is a completely different topic. I definitely invest a couple hours per song just editing drums. That’s not mixing in my book. Mixing is when I sit down with all the tracks and JUST mix, no editing, etc.

      4 hours is definitely on the short side, but it’s working well for me so far.

  • FamousPatrick

    Interesting that you bring this up now, as I have run across several references lately to the value of estimating duration of tasks and setting limits. I am one of the chief offenders on this, as I have several tunes that have been languishing, waiting for the “final” mix, which I put off because I know it will take forever.

    However, on Wednesday, I dug out an old tune and gave myself one hour to do the final edit, and two hours for the final mix, which I completed last night. Now, I am at the “shop the mix to friends” stage, and will take your advice about spending no more than one hour tweaking. I took your advice before I even heard it!

    BTW, I think I signed up for the new course a long time ago, when you first floated the idea as a possibility. If I’m not on the list, please add me. Thanks, FP

  • Bruce Meyer

    When I bought a guitar that I intended to be my real, lifelong basic guitar, it boiled down to a choice between a $1000 one and a $2500 one from the same maker. I didn’t think the audible difference between the two was worth $1500, so I took the $1000 one, and am happy with it for years gone by.
    (Actually, it was $325 vs $675, in 1975 dollars, but same thing.)
    About writing books, I think it was Samuel Johnson said something like, “You’re never done, but you can stop.” When I wrote a dissertation, there was always one more book to read, and stopping seemed arbitrary. I’ve learned to embrace that feeling of being arbitrary, embrace lack-of-closure, and try to move on to the next thing.

    • So true. Chances are you’ll get better at your skill if you’re constantly completing lots of projects, rather than dragging a single project on and on and on until it’s “perfect.”