Mix tips: For Consistency's Sake

Brian Hazard at Passive Promotion has a must read for anybody involved in the music production business.

Brian has great methods on how to keep consistency on your mixdowns (in terms of having the same *sound*) in various projects. He further writes about the right sound pressure levels in order to prevent ear fatigue. I may add here that mixing down to a reference is by far more important than the latest cutting edge gear or matching EQs. I for one have a very limited speaker setup but I keep comparing my stuff to other recordings that I know they sound "right" on a large PA system.

Studying music that you like and adore and trying to copy what the masters did is the best way to learn how they actually do it. You can think about Destiny's Child in whatever way, but when you pay attention to the way the vocals are layered, equalised, arranged and processed you have to admit that the mix of all these techniques make their vocals sound so distinctive and unique. Of course, this is easier to achieve if you have Beyoncé standing in your vocal booth than a lousy Jon Silva. But still, if you just adapt the methods and principles, you can make a recording going from "demo quality" to at least "decent".

You definitely need a set of good EQs, dynamics and delay FX but every DAW package available today will give you that right at your hands. It's more crucial to know your system and especially be aware of its weak points (room flutter, resonance, speaker limitations, etc.). And I am so with Brian when it comes to proper monitoring levels: I know guys that run their amps with the volume knob at three o' clock all the time ("need to get into that club atmosphere") but are quite surprised when their mixes sound plain shyte, simply because they cannot judge anymore after 20 minutes of work. Actually, if your ears started bleeding in this situation, people would probably become more aware of the damage they cause to their ears.

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