Avoiding the Obvious

This one makes me uncomfortable.

Mainly because the people who really NEED to hear this probably won’t.

Well, they might read this article. They might even nod their heads and “agree” with me. But they’ll step away from their computer, fire up their studio and go back to their old ways.

Their problem?

They avoid the obvious.

Let me give you a few theoretical examples…

EXAMPLE #1: Bob emails me and says, “Hey Joe, I don’t have a very good singing voice at all. All of my vocal recordings sound bad. How can I mix them to make ’em sound better?”

BOB’S FOCUS: Mixing techniques to make his vocals better.

THE OBVIOUS: His source sucks. He admitted at the beginning that he doesn’t have a good singing voice. He needs to either become a better singer or find a good singer to sing on his project.

EXAMPLE #2: Bubba emails me and says, “Hey Joe, I can’t get the low end to behave in my mix. It’s always too bass-heavy no matter what I do. What plugin do you recommend to fix this?”

BUBBA’S FOCUS: Finding the right tool to fix his problem.

THE OBVIOUS: Bubba needs to learn how to mix using the tools he already has.

Okay, one more…

EXAMPLE #3: Betty Sue sends me a mix and writes, “I know the guitars are out of tune, but what can I do to make this mix sound great?”

BETTY SUE’S FOCUS: Mixing tricks.

THE OBVIOUS: The guitars are out of tune. Re-record them if you want any hope of a good-sounding mix.

Here’s the deal.

Ask yourself if you’re avoiding the obvious.

Do you find yourself actively ignoring parts of your recording, like an out-of-tune guitar or a bad vocal performance?

No amount of skills or plugins or magic fairy dust will fix those things.

I can sell you tutorial videos on how to use things like EQ and compression effectively, but if your recordings sound bad — if you’re avoiding the obvious problems in your projects — no amount of training will help.

It might hurt a little.

It might mean you have to work a little harder.

It might take more time.

But it’s worth it.

And once your tracks are recorded and you’re HONESTLY proud of them, then it’s time to move on to the fun task of mixing.

I love to mix, and most of my time is spent carving stuff out with EQ.

If you want to learn an effective, easy way to use EQ, go here:


Joe “Captain Obvious” Gilder