Tip JarYesterday I linked to a few great articles on preparing to mix by Jon at Audio Geek Zine. (If you haven’t read those yet, be sure to do so.)

In keeping with the mixing theme, I have a question. If I walked up to you and asked you for one mixing tip – just one – what would it be?

You could tell me to not overuse compression. You could tell me to get acoustic treatment. Perhaps you’d tell me to get a summing box. Or maybe you’d tell me there’s no way I can get a good mix without upgrading converters and monitors. Or maybe a big, expensive plug-in bundle is the ticket to good mixes.

What do you think?

Mixing is such a subjective endeavor. Asking for the best mixing tip is like asking a guitarist what the best chord is.

However, I think it’s still helpful to simplify things. Being forced to give only one tip makes you focus on what’s really important to you.

Ready? Here’s my answer:

High-pass virtually EVERYTHING in the mix.

That’s it. That’s my one piece of advice. Let a high-pass filter become your best friend.

For those of you that don’t know what a high-pass filter is, it’s simply a filter that rolls off low frequencies. Most EQ’s will have a high-pass (or low-cut) filter along with a low-pass (or high-cut) filter.

What’s the biggest problem you face with your mixes? Chances are “muddiness” ranks right up near the top. Why? Because we put too much low end in our mixes.

Each individual track in your session may sound great, and you may not think it has too much bass, but when you combine all of these tracks together, you end up with mix that gives you an instant headache, due to all the low-mid build-up.

Try this next time you mix. Put a high-pass on every track in the session, except for kick drum and bass. Then stand back and listen to how much clearer your mixes sound.

This isn’t a magic pill, but this approach has worked wonders for my mixes.

What’s YOUR number one mixing tip?

[Photo Credit – burningkarma]