Changing things up slightly. Gonna start sending out these daily emails first thing in the morning instead of at noon. Just keepin’ you on your toes. 🙂

I recently finished up my latest mix for Dueling Mixes. I’m happy with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share a few key things that contributed to the awesomeness.

KEY #1 – I used a reference track.

I took my own advice and actually used a reference track for this mix. It’s a good idea to compare your mixes to a similar, professionally-mixed track. But it’s also kinda annoying…and I keep forgetting.

This time I didn’t.

The song is sort of a “hip pop” tune, with vocals, synths, guitars, and sampled drums. The song immediately reminded me of a Coldplay song, so I fired up the song in iTunes, set it to loop over and over, and routed it to a separate channel on my mixer. While mixing, I would regularly switch over to the Coldplay track, just to make sure my mix was moving in the right direction.

It’s not about copying the sound of the reference track. It’s simply about keeping yourself grounded, to make sure your mix doesn’t sound off.

KEY #2 – I spent a lot of time in mono.

While working through all the tracks, setting levels and EQ, I listened in mono rather than stereo.

This forced me to make every track find its place in the mix.

KEY #3 – I left things alone.

There were a lot of tracks in this mix that sounded great “right out of the box.” Some of them I left alone entirely. On others, I applied something simple, like a single EQ cut.

If it sounded good, I left ‘er alone.

KEY #4 – I made myself sit and listen.

Sometimes it’s hard to stop and actually listen to the song you’re mixing. This time I forced myself to sit and listen to the song in its entirety twice before calling it done, once on my normal studio monitors and once on my smaller “crap speakers.”

After that I made a few tweaks and was done!

To hear my mix of the song (and mix the song for yourself!), make sure you’re a “card-carrying” Dueling Mixes member. You can sign up here:


PLUS you can watch my tutorial video, where I’ll show you a bunch of cool tricks, like:

* How a simple one-minute tweak can make the chorus in your mix hit HARD (that I learned from a subscriber).

* How to use my “homemade” mono button to get wider mixes. (Wait, what?)

* A crazy guitar effect that worked wonders on background vocals.

Click the link above to join and get started.

Happy mixing!

Joe Gilder
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