Last time, I shared with you the first five reasons you’re not happy with your mixes. Today, let’s finish out the countdown.
5. You Don’t Have A Good Understanding Of EQ And Compression.
Early on in the history of Home Studio Corner, I decided to create two in-depth courses about EQ and compression.
They seemed like obvious topics to me, but I didn’t expect them to be as popular as they were. To this day, Understanding EQ and Understanding Compression have been the most popular courses I offer over in the HSC Store.
Why is that? Because people quickly realize that while EQ and compression are fairly simple concepts, it is crucial to really understand what they do and how to use them if you want to create good mixes.
EQ is all about frequencies. You can never use EQ properly without first becoming intimately familiar with what different frequencies sound like. For example, you may think you know what 500 Hz sounds like, but you could be way off. I used to think 500 Hz was a “muddy” frequency. If something sounded muddy, I would cut 500 Hz. It never really helped, because muddy sounds happen more in the 150-250 Hz range.
It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but developing a deep understanding of what different frequencies sound like made a massive impact on my ability to get great mixes in my studio.
4. You Rarely Actually Finish A Mix.
If you take nothing else away from this list, at least take this one to heart — you need to finish projects to get better.
Anyone can start a project. The people who are good, the people you look up to, are people who finish projects. If you spend more time watching tutorial videos than you do finishing projects, something’s wrong. Yes, tutorials are good. (Heck, I built a business around them.) But they’re only useful to you if you use them to work on and finish projects.
Do you have friends who always talk about this big project they’re working on, but they never actually have anything to show for it? It gets old after a while, right?
I don’t care if you annoy your friends. I care that you make great music and hit your musical goals. You can’t do that if you never finish anything. Make it a goal to FINISH what you start next year.
3. You Don’t Spend Enough Time Getting Levels Right.
This one is more important than getting EQ and compression right.
EQ and compression mean nothing if you don’t have a good, balanced mix. And balancing a mix is a simple process of setting levels, moving faders.
We mixers love to skip over this phase. We want to “get to the good stuff” and start using our fancy toys and plugins.
Well guess what? Those toys won’t do jack for you if you don’t have a balanced mix first.
Graham and I did a full podcast episode exploring this one topic. It’s that important. Definitely worth a listen.