What I Learned About Mixing in 2012

what I learned...2012 has been full of learning experiences for me, both personally and professionally. Usually when someone uses the phrase “learning experience,” they actually mean “painful experience.”

It’s so true, right?

Any time I learn a powerful lesson, there’s almost always some sort of discomfort that comes along with it. Take mixing, for example. I love to mix, but there are days where I would rather swim with hungry alligators than work on a mix.

Sometimes mixing comes easy. Sometimes it’s painful.

But if you can persevere, there’s always something to learn, something that will make your future mixes better.

Here are some of the things I learned: (more…)

Why You Should Join Dueling Mixes

I’ll make no bones about it.

I want you to join Dueling Mixes.

Why? Because I think you’ll LOVE IT.

Fact: You’re subscribed to this mailing list because you enjoy mixing. Otherwise, you wouldn’t listen to my random ramblings, right? 🙂

So…if you like to mix, and you want to get better, Dueling Mixes might be exactly what you need.

Here are a few reasons you should join:

  • Joe + Graham = Better – Dueling Mixes is not just me. It’s me and my dear friend Graham Cochrane. Two mixes. Two tutorial videos. Two very different mixing approaches to same song, each month.
  • Automatic Portfolio Builder – If you commit to mixing one song every month, in one year you’ll have a full album’s worth of songs in your portfolio, songs you can use to promote your skillz to potential clients (and make some $$).
  • Share Your Mixes – You may not know this, but there’s a special members-only forum, where members are actively sharing their mixes of this month’s song. Get feedback, hear what other folks are doing, and have fun while you’re at it.

If you want to get better, Dueling Mixes will help you.

And once you’re better, you really only need to land one paid mixing gig to cover your membership dues for MONTHS.

So, whadya say? Come join us?


A Puzzling Approach to Finishing a Mix

My son Owen (age 2) recently discovered puzzles.

Man, I haven’t worked on puzzles in years. These simple ones make me feel like a genius. 🙂

I wish mixing a song was as easy as doing a little 30-piece puzzle.

But perhaps it is?

Maybe we make things too complicated?

The problem we face when mixing a song is that it’s really easy to never finish. You just keep tweaking and tweaking…for years.  (more…)

Oops I Crapped My Mix

Remember that SNL skit? Ha ha ha. Good stuff.

As I’ve said a million times before, I love mixing.

But some days I HATE it.

Some days it just seems like everything I try on a mix just makes it sound worse. Or I’ll work on a mix for an hour or two, then I’ll go to lunch feeling pretty good about my awesome progress.

After lunch (let’s say I had a burrito), I come back to the studio ready to put the finishing touches on my awesome mix…and it sounds like crap.

At first I suspect I’ve been sabotaged by an evil nemesis. Maybe Graham? But then I remember that he lives in Tampa, and I live in Nashville. So he probably didn’t fly up just to mess with my mix.

Then I suspect the burrito. I firmly believe that you should never trust a burrito. (more…)

Grow Up Already

I’m not one to get easily annoyed.

But I tend to have a low tolerance for excuses.

In the wake of last week’s election (and the preceding several months), I heard a lot of complaining. A lot of whining. And a LOT of excuses.

It’s almost like some people (from both sides of the political spectrum) just want to blame the someone else (the government, the President, the other party) for their problems. What I fail to see is a lot of people saying, “Here’s my problem. Here’s the role I played in getting myself here. And here’s my plan for taking care of the problem myself.”

Sadly, I see a lot of this among home studio folks. (more…)

Seeing Double

Mixing is fun.

It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole recording process.

There’s nothing quite like sitting down at your desk with a fresh cup of coffee and a blank session in front of you.

You hit that magic triangle (Play button) and listen to the raw tracks. Then you begin sculpting the sound.

Setting levels. EQ. Compression. Reverb. Delay.

So far, so good.

But it gets even better. (more…)

How to Be a Thief (and still sleep at night)

“Thou shalt not steal.”


But…sometimes stealing is the best thing you can do for a song.

Lemme back-track and explain.

When you’re working on a project for a client, especially if you’re playing the role of producer, it can become really tempting to make all the decisions yourself. Not only that, it’s easy to want to re-evaluate every decision that’s already been made.

Here’s what I mean. (more…)

The Stubborn Two-Year-Old Technique

In case you’ve lost track, my son Owen is now two years old.

Since I work from home, we Gilders tend to get a little stir-crazy. Needless to say, we try to get out of the house as much as possible.

And that means LOTS of trips to the park.

Now that Owen is a little bit older, he pays a lot of attention to the other kids around him, especially the older kids. He’ll watch them play for a while, and then he’ll go imitate what he just saw.

He’ll see a kid jumping on a little bridge. Then, with a big smile on his face, he’ll run over there and try to do the same thing.

It’s pretty fun to watch.

But there’s a problem.  (more…)