Mixing is a highly subjective art form. For more existentialist banter please read Jean Paul Sartre. We have all come back to the studio in the morning 1pm and And When (Reference Mix 2) - Rx - Work Mix Reference a mix that felt perfectly banging at 2am the night before, only to find that it ranges from bad to horrendous sounding.
Why oh why? Depending on how far ahead you are on your journey to music consciousness, your taste may be stronger or weaker than your aural memory, which itself is getting better and better as you study the art.
If your taste is stronger than your aural memory, you will tend to make mixing decisions that are more independent of what you listened to on your commute this morning than if your taste is still being formed. If your aural memory takes over, you will make mixing decisions based on what you recently heard and made you happy or, depending on how developed your aural memory is, what you THINK what you recently heard and made you happy sounds like. Of course what applies to the commute music applies to your current mix as you are mixing it.
There is nothing that sounds more badass than the super clever parallel compression trick you just pulled off on the kazoo solo. If you went too far with And When (Reference Mix 2) - Rx - Work Mix Reference trick because you got excited about the technical prowess of it all, Alta - Maya Homburger, Walter Prati, Barry Guy - Celebration will get used to that sound and it will influence every mixing decision made down the road.
Once you over-compress the kazoo solo a natural tendency then you will over-compress everything else - and then you will hate yourself in the morning 1pm.
The way around that is to build a strong taste for tones that you like and that make you happy but it takes time to get there. Years in fact. There is no shame in checking out where you are in your process throughout the day, just like there is no shame is asking for directions on road trips there is no shame for asking for direction on road trips, right? Same goes for mixing. The big question is: what to listen to as a reference???
Good question, thank you for asking. How does one decide what sounds good if one does not have a reference to choose the reference? If you mix heavy metal you may not get a lot of cues from a s recording of The Rite Of Spring on Deutsche Grammophon.
Consequently most people pick songs in the general style of what they are mixing. And most people pick tracks that have been commercially successful as their reference. That can be a problem, as commercial success in no way guarantees good sound.
You have legions of people referencing their mix to questionable sounding music just because those tracks And When (Reference Mix 2) - Rx - Work Mix Reference it on the Billboard Top Remember, there is no absolute.
Any mix can sound fierce or terrible depending on what you play before or after it and what you had for breakfast that morning. But it is what it is. Gut feeling helps. And then working AT your references makes it good. Then listen to it everywhere. At your mixing position. On your iPhone. In your car. On a restaurant system. Take notes. Whenever you are out and about and you happen to hear a track you like, pay attention to the key elements: vocal vs drums balance, fatness, brightness, impact.
Either memorize or write down what you hear. Then listen to that track at home. And compare. At that point you can also offer a better reference, because you know what hits where, because you have been studying this Stevie Wonder - I Was Made To Love Her. Which is your lot in life if you decide to learn to mix records properly.
Ok, no problem. No really, what is it? You definitely know what it sounds like at your mixing position since you spent a LOT of time making it as perfect as possible. Did you play with other people in the room? Have you watched their reactions? Did you take notes?
You can decide to beat it instead of matching it for example. Give me a starting point! There are, as of this writing, 20 articles about specific tracks that have been chosen very carefully to offer the very exact benefits discussed here. Please help! Just like inbreeding did nothing good for the French nobility gene pool back in the day, referencing only the kind of music you make will in time turn up tracks with funny looking noses and eyes too close together.
It is important that your consciousness be broad and that you know a wide range of music, tones and colors, so you can grow beyond the copycat phase and really make a difference in your field. So the MixCheck archives should keep you busy for a while until we cover every possible style, including that Revival Polka mix analysis article you have been waiting for.
Few people mix records without using references because the human brain is highly influenceable and mixing big songs is a rabbit hole of consciousness after the first two hours. And, you can consciously shape the sound of your music by picking your references carefully. He had a to 1 compressor inserted on it and the compressor sidechain was fed by the main outputs of the console with the release speed set to 4 or 5 seconds.
The result was very interesting. Whenever he played anything from our session, the compressor clamped down on the signal coming from the CD player and we heard our music as expected it was Zouk music, look it Low Rider - War - Why Cant We Be Friends?. But whenever he pressed stop, we would hear the Best Of Elvis album he had running on loop in the CD player slowly come up and gently fill the room.
Imagine finishing a take and before you can ask for anything you have Hound Dog coming on. At the time I thought it was both hilarious and stupid. Now I know what he was doing. He had automatic reference music his reference not ours in the room at all times. He always knew what the tones he was getting were like, how they would relate to his favorite reference and how they would translate to the outside world.
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? - Various - Nobodys Child - Romanian Angel Appeal, Compañero Asma - Insolado / Mi Niñera, Foxy Inc. - Snob Shop - Pick Of The Week, Rotterdam - David Gilden And Lasse Marhaug - Splittape, Janices Party - Fountains Of Wayne - Out-Of-State Plates