Have you ever been guilty of saying these words in the studio?

“Don’t worry about it…we can fix it in the mix!”

If you have, don’t worry. You are not alone.

I believe we’ve all, at some point, said this in the studio.

The reason this is the problem is that during the recording phase of our song, we tell ourselves we can use fancy plugins and cool mixing tricks to fix any sound that we record.

What we’re REALLY telling ourselves is that the recording doesn’t matter. We’re saying that we can just slap up a mic in front of an instrument, and things will turn out fine.

But things DON’T turn out fine.

Usually we end up spending hours and hours during the mixing phase trying to fix our recording mistakes. Oftentimes it just doesn’t work. We end up with mixes that we aren’t proud of, because we don’t have recordings that we are proud of.

When you say “We can fix it in the mix,” what you are REALLY saying is, “I don’t know how to make this recording sound better, so I am going to give up and just record something anyway.”

Do you see the problem there?

Rather than making yourself get it right at the source, you’re throwing in the towel. That’s no way to run a session.

Here is my suggestion:

Learn the difference between fixing things and enhancing things.

You can’t fix a bad recording during mixing, but you can correct small issues to make the recording sound even better.

The key is to know what’s possible and what’s not possible during mixing. If you have an unrealistic expectation of what you’ll be able to do when you mix a song, then of course you’re going will be sloppy during the recording phase.

However, if you know what EQ and compression can do in a mix — and what they can’t do — that gives you a much more realistic mindset for the recording phase.

Everything you record should run through the filter of “Is this going to work in the mix?” If the answer is “No,” then you need to record some more. If the answer is “Yes,” then congratulations! You can move on to the next track.

The reason I bring this up is that you can study my training videos as much as you want, but if you’re not applying them to the recording phase of your songs as well as the mixing phase, you’ll end up disappointed.

So, here is my advice to you.

Grab a copy of Understanding EQ…


…and learn all the wonderful things that EQ can do for your mixes.

THEN…the next time you record, ask yourself this question: “Is the sound I’m getting from this recording conducive to a good mix harmful to a good mix?”

This one tip alone could enhance your recordings tenfold.

P.S. Whether you own Understanding EQ or are about to buy it for the first time, make sure you watch these videos over the weekend. There’s a BIG announcement happening on Monday, and you’re going to want to be prepared.

3 Responses to “The Great Session Killer”

  1. Xan Angelfvkk

    In the most part I agree with this. But there are occasions where “fix it in the mix” is the only option. You might have for instance done a track that could never be recaptured again for some reason (like not wanting to go back up the mountain! haha) and it has some issues. In these situations it IS worth spending the time working on it as part ov the mixing process – and I do agree it can take time!

    However, for the most part we aren’t really talking about mixing here, it’s more what would be defined as “editing” anyway…the good ol’ cut-n-tuck…! hehe And no need to rely on compressor or EQ for that. 🙂

    • Joe Gilder

      You’re right, but I’m talking about all those times people sit in the studio and refuse to focus on getting a good recording because they can just fix it in the mix.

    • Justin Morales

      I think he also meant to be mindful of what you can and can’t do in the mix while you’re recording.
      I have this 70’s p-bass that looks awesome, i used to get so many complements on it when i was still gigging with it. the problem is that the intonation is horrible and a lot of the go-to frets buzz, the truss rod is broken and the bridge has these ridiculously long saddles that can only be microscopically adjusted. so until i buy a new one i have to actually autotune some of the notes, and filter out some of the high end buzz. The results, somehow, end up great though. i wouldn’t recommend auto tuning bass normally but in this case it’s necessary without renting/borrowing or buying a bass. if anything, it’s usually the opposite – tuning issues are the perfect example of when to listen, diagnose and re-record… before you come down the mountain.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *