Was Blind, But Now I MIX

“You mix with your ears, dummy.”

Good point.

But is that all?

Unfortunately, no.

Unless you are visually impaired, chances are you struggle with mixing with your EYES.

I know I do sometimes. All this software just looks too cool. It becomes easy to let your eyes make the mixing decisions BEFORE you let your ears in on the action.

The result? Well, isn’t it obvious? (more…)

Recording Wannabe’s

Remember that post I wrote a couple days ago?

The one where I said stealing plugins makes your mixes worse?

(It definitely got a few people fired up.)

Let’s dive a bit deeper into that, shall we?

Some people thought that I was saying that people who steal plugins aren’t capable of learning how to use those plugins effectively…that there’s some magic force field that causes everything to sound like poo.

That’s not what I’m saying.

I’m talking about deeper issues. (more…)

Why Stealing Plugins Makes Your Mixes Worse

How about a bit of controversy to start off your week?

Got this email a few days ago:

I’m not rich, and I don’t have money for plugins. Me and my friend are working on a project…the plugins we need are about $2,000 each. What would happen if we torrented the plugins and made a song? Would we get sent to jail?


Here’s my response:

It’s really a moral question. I personally don’t use pirated plugins because it’s morally wrong.

But there’s a bigger issue here than the question you’re asking. You’re assuming you “need” these $2,000 plugins. I’d be willing to bet you don’t need them at all.

I just finished up a song, and all I used were the free plugins that came with my software. I didn’t use any “extra” plugins at all…and it sounds amazing.

Why? Because I know what I’m doing. I learned the technique of mixing and making songs sound good. Plugins won’t help you do that.

You can buy fancy plugins (or steal them), and your mixes will still sound bad if you don’t know how to USE them.

Hope that helps.

Rather than debating the morality of pirating plugins, ask this question instead:

Will these plugins make ME better?

The answer is a big fat NO.

In fact, I propose that the more plugins you have, the WORSE your mixes will get…IF you don’t have a proper understanding of the basic concepts of audio.

For me, it all begins and ends with EQ:


Joe Gilder

“But there are so many plugins we haven’t used yet!”

This past weekend was the very first Simply Recording Academy. Graham Cochrane and I got together with a bunch of home studio guys like you and tracked and mixed a band here in Nashville over two days.

It was epic.

I’ll be writing about it more, but my brain is still processing everything.

There were a lot of great moments over the weekend, but one that really stands out was on the second day. We spend the entire first day tracking a band (a really, REALLY good band called Manic Bloom — check them out, buy their music). We spent the second day mixing the song.

The moment that struck me was when we were probably over halfway through the mixing process, and Graham and I had only used the stock EQ and compressor plugins that come with Pro Tools. That’s it. We literally didn’t touch another plugin for most of the mix session. (more…)