Great song mixing is all about keeping the excitement!
Keep those things in mind.
Whether you mix on your own or hire someone, following these guidelines will make mastering results a real enhancement for your music - instead of a repair session!
Mono didn't fade away after stereo and surround sound took over. It's as important as ever for many reasons.
You have absolutely no control over how someone listens to your tracks.
You want your song to have that important first impression as much as possible no matter how it's played back.
Regain control!! Read more here.
Mute portions of tracks where the instrumentalists or vocalists are not playing. This helps avoid the buildup of residual noise that can happen – with amps or effects units, for example.
It will also eliminate the 'mouth' noises from singers while they're waiting for their next entry.
Mastering can bring out those noises if they're not muted during the mixing process. Thanks to Ashton Price of Morph Productions for highlighting that point to me.
This too can save time and money when I master your songs by avoiding restoration charges for removing hiss and clicks.
If your music style matches a commercial release, then A/B your song mixing progress along with that track.
But remember this:
Here are some benefits:
Your final mix should have from 3 - 6 dB of headroom.
So bring down the master faders till you do get that headroom. This lets you know you're not clipping and distorting during your final song mixing process.
But don't go overboard, either, trying to maintain that headroom exactly. The odd peak to -1 or -2 dB below zero should not cause problems, especially in the case of something like ballads, which are generally a overall quieter level.
One of the complaints I get from clients when I offer this tip is: “My mix won't be loud enough!”
Well that's true! But it'll also be free from clipping and distortion. And it'll be way easier to deal with in the mastering stage.
But if your mix sounds too quiet after you turn down the master faders, simply turn up the controls to your playback monitors to compensate.
Mix at listening levels you're comfortable with.
Let your ears tell you what's right. Give them a rest now and then, too, to avoid making bad judgements.
Stop worrying about how loud your song should be! (That gets taken care of in mastering). Make it great, first!
Get a 3rd party perspective.
This is where mastering can help you.
Not only will I ensure your mix is ready to master, I can creatively enhance your song mix to a whole new level and keep your listeners engaged!
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