I love mixing. I really do.

That’s not to say I don’t love all the other aspects of creating music – writing, arranging, performing, recording, editing, mastering, etc. But I particularly love to mix.

Whenever I’m recording someone (either myself or someone else), a little part of me is always in a hurry to get finished recording so I can move on to mixing. This, of course, can lead to a “Fix it in the mix” mentality, which is not a good thing at all. But alas, I’m guilty of it sometimes. 🙂

What I love about mixing is that it’s a challenge. Every time I start a new mix, it’s like sitting in front of a puzzle (except much cooler). Regardless of how well the tracks were recorded, they won’t blend together very well without the help of a mix engineer.

There’s so much give and take with mixing. If you turn up one instrument, chances are you need to turn another one down. If you pan one track to the left, you probably need to balance that by panning another track to the right. If you remove all the low end on a guitar track, you’ll need to make sure the kick drum and bass have plenty of low end to make up for it.

There are thousands of tiny decisions to be made, and there are a thousand different ways you could mix a song. I find it all exhilarating.

To me mixing is like taming a wild horse. It takes a lot of work…and there are times when you just want to shoot the horse. But it’s so satisfying once you’ve finished a mix, having beaten those tracks into submission. 🙂

Mixing Resources for You

I’ve written a lot about mixing here on HSC, and I thought I’d compile a list of them all right here. These are all completely FREE resources for you.

If, after reading through all of these articles, you’re itching for more, and you’d like to dive in-depth into mixing, you should join us over at MixWithUs.com. As much as I love mixing, I also love teaching others how to mix, helping them improve their mixes, and what better way to do it than by mixing songs together?

Before you head off and read the articles below, leave a comment. Let me know if you’re going to join Mix With Us. I’ll need 10 comments at LEAST.

Even if you decide not to join MWU, you should still check out these articles. Enjoy!

[Photo by join the dots]

  • Joseph J.

    I will definitely be joing MWU when I’m done with the Production Club. Having a great time and learning a lot in the meantime…

    • Joseph J.

      Or “joining.” Either one.

  • Paco (PR)

    Well, I think that balance is the main point here. I love listening to a well balanced mix where you are able to listen to all the instruments and nothing jumps too high or overrides other instruments. I don’t have a lot of experience on mixing yet, but I totally think that good mixing is all about looking for the balance of sound. Greetings from Puerto Rico Joe!

  • Right now, all my extra cash is going into my Mac fund. However, when I finally have a new Mac (be it an i7 iMac or an i7 MBP) I’d love to check out the course. Of course, by the time I’ve managed to scrape up enough dough for a Mac, technology will have probably advanced to the point where I can download the information and skills directly into my brain Matrix style, so that’s something to think about.

    Seriously, though, I do plan on checking the course out at some point. I’ve learned more about mixing from the free vids throughout HSC than any other resource, so I’m sure the actual course would be a priceless resource to have access to.

    Thanks!

  • Jamus

    Love the resource, Was slower on the last production club Joe but still rocking through and nearly now finished.I will be joining mix with us shortly, just gota finish the production club stuff.Babies and wifes kind of held me up.Loved the 30 min mix video.That really inspired me the other night.
    cheers for your tremendous resource.
    James
    New Zealand

  • Carl Simons

    I’m following Diego Pozo on this one and I will make time for this lesson. I just learned that the difference between a good song and a great one is in the mix. Think about it – In a chili cookoff (I’m from Texas) – what makes one bowl of chili far better than the one next to it. It’s what’s in the mix, balanced blends of herbs and spices (key word BALANCED). I’d like to learn how to balance. Let me know, I’m in.

  • mark b

    i don’t have a ton of mixing experience yet, but i can tell it’s one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. i love it too.

    I will join MWU when i have some expendable cash: now i need to save for my new iMac!

  • Randall

    You nailed it Joe. It is like a puzzle, often like a puzzle with the pieces laying face down. I love mixing, probably what got me interested in being an engineer, aside from trying to make my shitty bands sound better. Haha. But yeah, this article took the words right out of my mouth. Keep up the great work!

  • for me, mixing is pretty much like cooking. you need common sense, good taste and balance. also, you need to now when it’s ok to let certain ingredients burn just a little for maximum impact. knowing when to call it a day is important too!

    no matter how many times you do it, every mix is different -some are quick and painless, while others are like a really slow birth labor.

  • “What I love about mixing is that it’s a challenge. Every time I start a new mix, it’s like sitting in front of a puzzle (except much cooler). Regardless of how well the tracks were recorded, they won’t blend together very well without the help of a mix engineer.”

    Spot on, Joe. This is exactly how I feel, and why I love doing what I do. Hell, sometimes when I’m bored and lacking that creative spark for a new tune, I’ll go and remix an old one!

    A year back I was an aspiring film composer and did a couple of collaboration projects, but it was during these that I discovered that I was spending more time doing the mix than the composition and, like you said, wanting to hurry it up so I could get on to the mix! So I gave up on the scoring and just started focusing on making music and mixing it up.

    I do get a little excited when you’ve got a new mixing video up on the site, since I’ve learnt so much from the ones you’ve already made! Thanks a heap 😉