The Ultimate Guide
to Incredible Mixes
Sick of Bad Mixes?
Try this proven system that shows you exactly how to cure those embarrassing mixes and start making the best music of your life.
Dear Fellow Musician,
I never meant to get good at mixing. Heck, I didn’t even know what mixing was. Back in high school I wrote eight cute little songs and recorded them. I knew nothing about mixing, EQ, compression, and effects. All I knew was that my little system had an echo effect, and I put that sucker on everything.
The final mixes were somehow both muddy AND harsh. They weren’t nearly as loud as anything else I listened to, but I sold a bunch of copies to those sweet folks in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
Small-Town Kid Gets His Music Played on the Radio
Fast forward a few decades, and things have changed. I’m still writing and releasing music (over 50 songs on Spotify/Apple Music, just search for Joe Gilder), but now my music sounds like the stuff I hear on the radio. In fact, in 2016 I managed to get one of my songs on one of the most popular radio stations here in Nashville (Lightning 100).
Anyway, I don’t write all this to brag. I write it because if a kid from a small town in Mississippi can release great-sounding music from a home recording studio, SO CAN YOU.
Maybe you’ve got great songs. Maybe you’ve got a knack for recording and producing, but your mixing skills aren’t quite there yet. You need some help.
Hey, my name’s Joe Gilder, the guy who’s been running Home Studio Corner since 2009. I want to help you get better mixes. (And I can, I guarantee it.)
You Don’t Need a Bunch of Extra “Stuff”
It’s natural to assume that you need to shell out some serious cash to buy all the hardware and software you need to produce pro-level mixes.
The truth, of course, is this:
You can get great mixes RIGHT NOW using the equipment you already own.
How do I know? Because I’ve mixed hundreds of songs using the simple stock plugins that come with my software. Songs like these:
Like what you hear? Keep reading, because I want to share my simple system with you.
Can anyone learn how to mix?
Absolutely. Just like learning to ride a bike, kick a soccer ball, or play guitar, it may come more naturally to some people over others. The variable in whether you become great isn’t your DNA or even your upbringing. It all boils down to your ability to LEARN and PRACTICE.
But you need both. All learning and no practice makes you like that guy who could tell you everything there is to know about the guitar but can’t play a single note. On the flip-side, all practice and no learning means that same guy might spend all day practicing a chord that doesn’t exist. (It’s a stupid example, but you get my point.) You need to make sure you’re practicing the RIGHT stuff. Learn from someone who has gone before you, THEN practice what they teach you.
Without both sides of the coin, you’re doomed to either a head full of useless knowledge or countless hours spent chasing your tail trying to get a good mix.
While I would LOVE to be the one to teach you, even more than that I want you to find SOMEONE who can mentor you, even virtually. YouTube is great, but if you keep reading you’ll see why I have a solution that’s a better alternative.
"Are you going to teach me exactly what settings to use when I mix drums or vocals?"
Nope. I’ll do something even better.
Let me ask you a question. If suddenly you got very sick and had a choice between two doctors, who would you want: the one who memorized all the treatment plans for all the diseases? Or would you want the one who truly understands the inner workings of the body, disease, and how to fight it? Of course, you’d want the second one.
If I were to give you exact settings to use on a vocal track, for example, that would be completely useless. No, rather than giving you a pointless exercise in memorization, I’ll give you the keys to the kingdom. What do I mean? I will show you how to THINK about mixing, how to APPROACH your mixes in a way that yields better results with less tweaking, and how to develop a PROCESS that virtually guarantees great results every time.
Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.
It’s how I’m able to mix a song in just a few hours and get results I’m proud of. And you can do it too.
How long should it take me to mix a song?
Some people mix songs in 1-3 hours. Some people take days. There’s no “proven” time period. What I can tell you is that developing a more efficient process will allow you to finish mixes much faster than you normally do.
Why is that good? Because the more mixes you finish, the better your mixes will be. Finish mixes in 4 hours instead of 8, and you’ll be able to mix TWICE as many songs over the same time period. That means you’ve just fast-tracked your timeline, shortened the distance between where you are now and where you want to go.
The key is SIMPLICITY.
Sometimes you need crazy complex solutions in a mix.
More often than not, Dr. Occam wins.
Occam’s Razor states that the simplest solution to a problem is usually the best solution.
There are a lot of people who want you to think mixing is super complicated, that you can’t possibly do it on your own, that you need to hire a pro or buy a huge plugin bundle or upgrade to $10,000 gold-encrusted studio monitors powered by a tiny nuclear reactor.
The truth is you’re probably OVER-mixing your songs.
You’re doing too much. If you can find a way to restrain yourself, your mixes will instantly improve.
Go try it.
Seriously, bookmark this page, go to your studio and pull up a mix you’ve been working on. Count how many plugins you’ve used. Now cut that number in half and try to mix the song using ONLY that number of plugins or less. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.
It changes a lot, doesn’t it? It changes how you approach the mix, how you think about it, AND the mix sounds better. Why? Because you’ve managed to avoid over-mixing the song.
Was that your experience? If so, keep reading.
Even the Pro’s Make This Mistake
We home studio folks aren’t the only ones susceptible to the dreaded tendency to over-mix. Famous engineer Bruce Swedien wrote this about mixing Michael Jackson’s album Thriller:
“I did 91 mixes of 'Billie Jean', and finally Quincy [Jones] said 'Let's go back and listen to mix number two.' And we did, and it blew us all away! I had overmixed that song right into the pooper, so the mix that went onto the record was mix number two.” (Source: Sound on Sound, Nov 2009)
Perhaps they needed to go through all 91 mixes to realize that #2 was the best one. But I bet Bruce was much less likely to go overmix the next song after all the time they spent (i.e. “wasted”) on those unused mixes.
Don’t think you’re immune to it. Bruce pointed out that mixing is about making gut decisions, and oftentimes those initial gut decisions are the right ones for the mix, but it’s hard not to keep doing more and more.
Just like sometimes a good song only needs a piano and a vocal track, you’ve got to learn when to leave the mix alone.
So it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to mix a song. What matters is that you know when you’re mixing and when you’re OVER-mixing.
How do I know when the mix is finished?
You’ve probably heard cute little saying like:
“Mixes aren’t finished; they’re only abandoned.”
“The mix is finished when the deadline arrives.”
While there’s certainly some truth to the idea that there’s always SOMETHING we could tweak in a mix, we’ve already seen the dangers of over-mixing. That means we need to develop the ability to call a mix “done,” even when there may still be some imperfections present. (Sometimes the imperfections are the best part, by the way.)
So how do you know when the mix is finished? You need a system. While “winging it” can be fun, and it feels more creative, I’ve had far more success using a very specific system to help me determine exactly when the mix is finished. It means backing myself into a corner, giving myself a specific set of rules to follow, but it works.
The Need for a Mixing System
I know, I know. You’re a creative person. You don’t like to be boxed in. You don’t need a system, you’ll just “feel” your way through the mix.
But the truth is you DO like boundaries and systems. You need them. We all do.
Every time you perform a song as a musician, you are agreeing to confine yourself to a system, a fairly strict, rigid system as a matter of fact. You must follow the tempo. You must follow the chord changes. You must exclude most of the notes on your instrument and play only the ones that fit the key of the song. You must balance yourself with the other musicians. You must adhere to the song structure and arrangement. You get the picture.
We NEED boundaries in order to do our best work. That’s why over-mixing is so insidious. It gives the illusion that you are “making progress,” when in actuality you’re running in circles, chasing your tail. You need a system that pushes you through the process of mixing a song and demands that you finish.
It’s the only way you can say you make music — by finishing it.
It’s the only way you improve your skills and get better — by making and finishing music.
We inherently know this is true when it comes to learning to play guitar. It takes practice. But we assume we’ll be able to get pro results on our very first mix. It’s not reasonable.
And mixing is far more complicated than playing guitar. There are thousands of decisions to make. You need a system that helps you identify the right decisions to make, make those decisions, and move on through the mix until the mix is finished.
I've put together a package of training materials that will help you effortlessly develop your own mixing system, a system that will help you consistently pump out incredible mixes for the rest of your life.
Let me tell you a little bit about it...
The Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes
The Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes is a system of resources that will give you everything you need to start cranking out better mixes immediately.
The system is broken up into the following 8 courses:
These components give you both the training you need (to better understand the concepts and strategies of mixing) along with plenty of practice material to "work out" those mixing muscles and start to see improvements.
Here's what you can expect from each component...
Understanding Mixing sets the foundation for the entire system. In the five core videos, you’ll learn a 5-step system for mixing that guarantees you’ll see better results as soon as this weekend. In addition to the core videos, you’ll have immediate access to several walk-through mixing tutorials, where I guide you through the mixing process step by step. You can even mix the song along with me on your own system.
With Understanding Mixing, you’ll learn:
You cannot expect to produce consistently great mixes without learning how to wield an EQ plugin with confidence. Equalizers are fairly easy to understand, but they can be a pain to master. With Understanding EQ, you’ll learn strategies for how (and when) to use EQ to get the best results.
Included with Understanding EQ:
What people are saying about Understanding EQ:
"I've been following the blog for a few years now, and I bought and went through your Understanding EQ course at least three to four times now, get something new out of it every time! Especially the ear training excersises! Love those!"
Matt Howard from California
Understanding EQ is what made me what I am today. One of my best investments ever. Thank you, Joe."
Aaron Nkosi from South Africa
"The quality of my work jumped up instantly (after YEARS of plateauing, and listening back to hear all my earlier work sound like I recorded it in a cave). So I recognize (and have experienced) the potential growth that taking action can bring!!"
Damon Fadjo, from somewhere in the US :)
Once you’ve grasped EQ, it’s time to get a handle on her partner in crime: compression. Compressors aren’t terribly intuitive, but you’ll need to become a compression master if you want to get incredible mixes. With Understanding Compression, I’ll show you:
In addition to the core videos, you’ll get:
Praise for Understanding Compression:
"Joe, loved your Understanding EQ and Understanding Compression videos. I record and mix much better because of them both...Thank you."
Jeff G. from Ohio
Drum Mixing Guide
Drums are a fickle beast. Typically made up of anywhere from 4 to 14 tracks or more, they act like a single instrument, yet they include lots of individual sounds.
I’ve honed my approach to mixing drums over the years, and in this series I teach that system to you. And guess what? It’s not nearly as complicated as you might think. The system is simple yet POWERFUL. If you want punchy, killer-sounding drum mixes, this series will get you there.
This series includes a number of multi-track drum files to download and mix along with me, as I show you different drum mixing techniques and how to use them to get the most out of YOUR drum tracks.
Vocal Mixing Guide
Vocals are so critical, they deserve their own series of videos. The lead vocal is arguably the most important component of the entire mix. Do you have the confidence you can make it shine like it needs to? If not, don’t you worry. This series will get you there. I’ll help you:
In this series I’ll walk you through several different vocal mixes, featuring both male and female vocalist. You’ll also get bonus training on How to Mix Background Vocals and How to Mix A Cappella Vocals. Vocals for days!!
Mixing & Mastering “Fighter EP”
Once you’ve gone through the courses above, you should be feeling more confident in your abilities as a mixer, but you still need some guided practice. That’s where the Mixing & Mastering “Fighter EP” series comes in.
In this series of videos, I will walk you through mixing an entire 4-song EP from start to finish. You can mix it right along with me. When I’m finished, I’ll show you how I MASTERED the EP as well. This is one of my favorite video series I’ve ever created, and it’s the perfect way for you to put in the practice and see more and more improvements.
None of my over-the-shoulder mixing videos are scripted, and that’s intentional. I want you to see me work through a mix, make mistakes, go back and fix them, move forward to the next thing. That’s real life. That’s how you get better, learning how to fix enough problems until the mix sounds incredible.
This one is for you if you’re feeling adventurous. In this fun series, you and I try to mix an entire song in just one hour, 60 minutes. While I don’t always mix songs in an hour, I occasionally challenge myself (with a timer and everything) to mix a song in under an hour. You’d be AMAZED what you can do under that kind of pressure. It’s intense, for sure, but something happens and your brain shifts to another gear. It’s wild.
In this series, I do a series of one-hour mixes, going back over the footage with you afterwards to help you understand my process and how I was able to do everything in under an hour. You’ll get the tracks as well, so you can take your own 1-hour challenge.
Remember — The way you improve your mixing skills is by first learning the right techniques and systems, then by finishing mixes over and over again. This course will help you get faster at finishing mixes, which will speed up your mixing progress dramatically.
Mix Practice is the final stop on the Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes. With Mix Practice, you get immediate access to a library of over 50 songs to mix. These are songs I have recorded and released over the years, and I add new songs whenever I release them.
If you don’t have a lot of material to use to practice (and show off) your mixing skills, Mix Practice gives you that in droves. Pick a song you like, download the tracks, and mix that sucker.
Rinse and repeat as much as you like. Some people like to mix entire albums or EP’s. Or perhaps you want to pick and choose. Either way, the more mixes you complete, the better your mixes will get. (Are you noticing a theme here?)
Will this make my mixes better?
The likely question on your mind, of course, is this -- "If I invest in this program, will it actually make a difference? Will my mixes improve?"
The answer is an emphatic YES.
If you go through the material and put in the time and practice, your mixes will noticeably improve.
If they don't. If your mixes aren't completely transformed after going through this program, you have up to ONE YEAR to request a refund.
Try It Out For a FULL YEAR
If you're smart, you won't blow through all the material in a weekend. You'll methodically and systematically go through the material over the next few weeks and months, applying what you've learned along the way. If you turn around 365 days from now, and you don't feel you've improved your mixes dramatically as a result, just shoot us an email, and we'll issue a full refund.
If I'm going to make big claims, I'm going to assume all the risk as well. There is literally no risk to you whatsoever. Take your time, work through the material. You have a full year to decide if it was a good investment for you.
The Key Word: INVESTMENT
That's the key word here, right? This is an investment in yourself and your studio. Chances are you have already invested thousands of dollars in your studio already - microphones, instruments, audio interface, cables, speakers, headphones, software. Doesn't it make sense to spend a small portion of that studio budget on making sure you get the most out of that equipment?
That's what I'm offering with the Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes. It's a way to maximize every other studio investment you've made. Your mixes will sound better without needing to purchase one more plugin bundle.
So, how much is the investment?
You've probably spent more on a single piece of gear in your studio than you're going to spend on this program.
Seriously, what's the last piece of gear you bought? A microphone? A guitar? Have you ever spent more than $1,000 on a piece of equipment for your studio? I know I have. How do you justify a purchase like that? Especially when perhaps home recording thing is more of a hobby than a career.
One word: PASSION. You are passionate about creating and sharing music. It's why I first picked up a guitar as a kid. It's why I own multiple guitars today. It's my passion, and I happily invest in my passion. But I always want to be smart, and I need to know that my investment is worthwhile.
Well in my humble but terribly biased opinion, The Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes is a no-brainer investment for you.
Why? Because you get access to 8 incredible courses, any one of which could change your life.
And it's Only $347.
Not $70,000 on a 2-year audio program.
Not $30,000 on a 4-year college degree.
Not even what you would spend on a decent set of speakers or a cheap guitar.
But this investment? It'll pay HUGE dividends. And remember, it's all guaranteed.
Choose Your Bundle:
8 Mixing Courses
Understanding Your Room Course Custom-Recorded Mix Critique Custom Mix + Video of YOUR Song
8 Mixing Courses
Understanding Your Room Course
Custom-Recorded Mix Critique
Custom Mix + Video of YOUR Song
8 Mixing Courses
Understanding Your Room Course
Custom-Recorded Mix Critique
Custom Mix + Video of YOUR Song
8 Mixing Courses
Just in case you forgot, here are the 8 courses included, regardless of which bundle you purchase:
I've put together a few extra bonuses if you want to upgrade your order to Advanced or Deluxe to get even more value. Here's a description of the extras:
Understanding Your Room Course
This is a course I created with Gavin Haverstick, formerly of Auralex Acoustics, who is a freelance acoustician specializing in custom-designing and acoustically treating studios, performance venues, theaters, and more. As you probably know, your room is lying to you. It alters the sound you hear during recording and mixing. Sometimes your room can make it nearly impossible to get a good-sounding mix.
In this course, Gavin spells out everything you need to know to effectively set up and acoustically treat your room for the best results. (Included in Advanced and Deluxe bundles.)
Custom-Recorded Mix Critique
This is especially fun. At any point in the future, you may send in a mix and receive a custom critique from me. I will sit down in my studio and record myself listening to your mix, pausing playback along the way to make suggestions on ways to improve it. I will touch on everything from the mix to the performance to the recording and production. Then I will send the recorded critique to you! It's a great way to get another set of ears on your work, to help you see the "blind spots" in your projects and get custom feedback on YOUR work. (Included in Advanced and Deluxe bundles.)
Custom Mix + Video of YOUR Song
If you opt for the Deluxe package, you'll get the chance to have me mix one of YOUR songs while create a custom tutorial video just for you! That's right. I'll mix your song, and I'll record the whole thing on video and deliver it to you. It's like hiring me to mix one of your songs AND hiring me to do customized training session, exclusively for you. (Included in Deluxe bundle.)
1-Year 100% Money-Back Guarantee
I mentioned this above, but it's worth saying again. If your mixes are not absolutely transformed after going through this material and applying what you've learned, all you have to do is send me an email any time between now and one year from today, and we will give you a full refund. No problem. Easy peasy. And we can still be friends.
I don't want your money if the thing I sold you doesn't change your life. It's that simple.
Whether this Ultimate Guide to Incredible Mixes is right for you or not, thank you for reading this far. I truly believe this collection of courses will be a game-changer for you, and I look forward to hearing your success stories of how you're putting out mixes you never thought possible.
It's possible. And it's your turn.
Home Studio Corner
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to own a specific piece of software to get the most out of the material?
Nope. I use Presonus Studio One in these videos, but the software isn't the focused. I teach techniques and strategies that you can easily apply to any piece of software, from GarageBand to Pro Tools. I have many, many students who don't use the same software as I do.
Can I use the songs from this program in my portfolio, do show off my mixing skills?
Absolutely. Brag away. :)
What's the best way to get the most value out of this system?
Great question. I recommend putting yourself on a weekly schedule that consists of two components: learning and doing. If you give yourself one hour per week, spend 30 minutes learning from one of the courses, and spend the other 30 minutes applying what you've learned. Maintain that schedule, and you will see incredible improvements in no time.
How does the order process work?
It's really simple. Select one of the packages above and click the "Order" button. Next, you will fill out your contact and payment information. Once your order is complete, you will receive an email with your login information. Once you log into the members area, you will have instant access to the entire program.
How long do I have access to the material?
Forever. AND if I update one of the courses or add more material to it, you'll get access to that new material FOR FREE.
If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
The more important question is how would you MIX the sound if it DID?