So much goes into making great mixes. Of course, you need good songs and good recordings, but once you start mixing a song, it’s easy to lose perspective. A second set of ears comes in handy. Big time.

I’ve been running my VIP membership for years. One of the foundational components of it was mix critiques. At this point I’ve critiqued hundreds of mixes for my members. Once a month we have a little live-streaming mix critique party, where I’ll critique as many mixes as I can in an hour.

The way I approach critiques is to listen like it’s one of my projects. When something stands out to me, I hit pause and make suggestions. By the end of the critique, I’ve handed out a virtual to-do list for the person, things that need to change to make the mix better.

Earlier this year, I realized how important these critiques are to people. They help people get perspective on their mix. They validate what they’re doing well, and they help them see the “blind spots” in their mix. So I added Mix Critiques to the list of services I offer.

Now, in addition to hiring me to master your album, for example, you can hire me to critique your mixes first. That’s exactly what VIP member Ben Holmes (BENHLMS) did.

He was working on an EP, and he knew he wanted to mix it himself and hire someone else to master it, but he had doubts about his mixes.

Having listened to Joe for a number of years, and being a VIP Member for a relatively short time, I heard Joe critique some of the VIPers’ tracks. That was a breakthrough for me. Joe and I spoke via email and we decided that a good plan would be for me to send Joe the tracks for my new EP once I had finished them and done the final mix. Joe would then critique each one before mastering them.

This plan would give me time to listen to his critique, reload the project and focus specifically on the areas Joe highlighted as needing attention before handing them over for mastering.

So that’s what we did. The songs were great, and I gave Ben a handful of suggestions to improve the mixes.

Last week I mastered the EP. The mixes sounded fabulous, and I was able to get a great-sounding master out of them. You can check out the album here.

Why am I telling you this? So you’ll hire me to critique your mixes and master your project? Sure, why not? (Check out my services page.) But more than that, I want to put a bug in your ear to find someone you can bounce your mixes off of in order to get better. I’ve talked about this before. It’s a painful process, but feedback makes you better.

According to Ben, “It has revolutionized my workflow and is something I will be using for as long as Joe is around to provide the service.”

Music was meant to be made with other people. It’s fun to go off into your mixing cave and create, but come up for air every once in a while and let someone hear what you’ve got. It’ll pay off, I promise.

Joe Gilder
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