Okay, so there are a lot of things that make a mix sound amateur.

But you should know there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with you if you’re not getting amazing mixes.

If you could get great mixes on the first try, then it probably wouldn’t be that satisfying anyway, right?

However, one of my goals is to help you avoid common mistakes.

Mistakes are good.

They help you learn.

But if you pay attention, you can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes, and perhaps even avoid a few of them altogether.

So, what’s the #1 sign of an amateur mix in my opinion?

Reverb Overload

Reverb is SO cool. You can make it sound like you recorded your vocal track in a big cave.

But that’s also the problem. 🙂

As we talked about yesterday, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

For some reason, this is especially problematic for people who are just learning how to mix.

They’re not super happy with the way their mixes sound, so they start drowning all the tracks in reverb.

In other words, they’re trying to hide their tracks behind a wall of ‘verb.

But that don’t work, pumpkin.

A bad mix will still sound bad with a lot of reverb.

So, the moral of the story?

  • Don’t use too much reverb.
  • Don’t set your “tail” setting to something super-long. (I normally go for something like a 700ms reverb tail. Longer for ballads. But if you’re doing 8-second reverb tails, you’re in for some trouble.)
  • Is the reverb really obvious in the mix? Or is it subtle? Subtle usually wins for me.

A bunch of people asked me to do a tutorial series on reverb and delay, but rather than make it a $27 dollar individual tutorial, I decided to cover reverb and delay on a live training session for my VIP members.

This training went down a couple months ago, and you can watch it right now in the VIP members area.

Become a member today for just 5 smackeroos.

Here’s the link:

www.HomeStudioCorner.com/VIP

Joe Gilder

  • Clifton L. Boyd

    Joe, quick question.  I like subtle reverbs too…and I’ll take like a brian mcknight song and pull in the session just so i can hear it through my monitors.  Or i might listen to a Eric benet song…and it sounds like they have complety NOTHING on their voices, but yet it still has the “studio sound” if that makes any sense!  Just really nice, full, clean processed sound.  But you hardly hear any kind of reverb or anything on it.  A good example of this is your song on your album entitled “Home”.  How do you accomplish that?  Because when I buss my vocal to an aux reverb track…the more i pull the fader down on the aux track to get a subtle verb…my vocals just sound drier and drier…almost not processed or something.  I don’t know, its hard to explain.  But anyway, maybe you can shed some light on it for me.  

    • It has a lot to do with how the reverb is set up. I usually remove a lot of high end from the reverb to keep it from being harsh and obvious. I also will sometimes make the reverb have a fairly long tail, and then only send a little bit of signal to it. It creates this space and warmth without being obvious.

      • Clifton L. Boyd

        Ok.  Thanks man, I will try that and see what I come up with.

  • Vin

    This always bothered me on My Morning Jacket albums…he isn’t a bad singer yet he drowns in reverb and it makes you think he must be terrible if he needs all that masking!

    • Sometimes big reverbs can be awesome, but a lot of times for beginners it’s more of a stumbling block.