If you’re not a Dueling Mixes member, you missed out on a really fun and insightful webinar we had yesterday.

You see, Graham and I put a lot of effort into making each month really unique and valuable. That includes lots of fun bonuses, free gear from time to time, and special guests.

This month we invited mastering engineer Ian Shepherd to create some special bonus content for our members. Graham and I sent him our mixes and he mastered them for us AND shot a tutorial video showing HOW he did it.

Fascinating stuff.

To top it off, Ian joined us on the live webinar yesterday and was laying down some really awesome information.

Ian’s from England, so the way I see it he’s like the James Bond of mastering. He makes it look so easy, and he explains it in a super-awesome British accent.

Anyway, one of the big takeaways from yesterday’s webinar was something so simple it seems silly.

So simple it seems like it wouldn’t make a difference.

So simple you’ll probably ignore it.

See, Ian has a great set of ears. (Being a mastering engineer for the better part of two decades will do that to you.)

And he immediately heard things in our mixes that we maybe hadn’t noticed. And he knew how to address the issues in mastering.

It was a work of art, really.

But I asked him HOW he got to the point where he could listen to a piece of music and immediately hone in on the issues. How did he hear it so quickly? How did he know what to listen for?

The answer?


(Well, duh, Joe. Nice one, genius.)

Here’s what I mean.

A huge part of Ian’s ability to quickly and accurately dissect the problems in a mix is directly related to how much listening he does.

Having accurate monitors is important.

Having a well-treated room is important.

But LISTENING. Listening is MOST important.

Ian has spent literally YEARS listening to music on his system.

If you invest that much time listening to GOOD music on a good system, you’ll find yourself being able to more easily pick out the parts of a mix that aren’t working well.

And this is JUST as applicable to mixing as it is to mastering.

The more you can force your brain to listen, listen, listen to good music in your studio, the more your brain will be hardwired to expect that sound.

Then when you pull up a mix and it DOESN’T sound like the reference material you’ve listened to so much, you’ll be able to identify WHY.

It’s a lifelong process.

It won’t happen overnight.

I’m certainly not there yet, but little by little I’m getting there.

Your homework: Make it a point to listen to music OTHER THAN your own projects in your studio. Become acquainted with what a GOOD mix sounds like in your studio, then you’ll be much more able to produce good mixes yourself.

And if you need tracks to work on (and mixes to listen to), become a member over at Dueling Mixes.

It’s there to help you get better.

Get started here:


Oh, and you’ll be able to download the mp3 recording from yesterday’s webinar if you join soon.

Sweet, huh?

See ya.

Joe Gilder
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