Why does it sound worse after you mix it?


A run down memory lane, this was speed hump in my audio journey early on and is one I never forgot. I'm sure many of you have experienced this, and some continue to experience it. Receiving a production, beginning to mix it, and never going anywhere. At times even making it sound WORSE after you've mixed it.

For those of you experiencing some mixing woes, you're probably scraping the barrel for new techniques, plug-ins and settings to help bring some extra sparkle and magic to remedy this halt in your creative process. But I'm here to let you know, none of that will help. A good friend of mine and talented engineer Tony "JackTheBear" Mantz told me:

"We often look for the most complex solutions, because we build ourselves up to believe the more complex the solution the greater and more successful the result, but more often than not it's the simplest solutions which work best". 

So, the first thing to help you along your way and get you onto better sounding mixes, is stop looking for silver bullet solutions and complicating the mixing process. There isn't one plug-in you'll put in your mix and wallah, it's like Tony Maserati himself mixed it. Throw that mindset out of the window, I can guarantee you with practice and commitment your technical chops will develop over time.

But my advice to you, if you're in the boat where your mixes are taking steps backwards, is to listen to the rough mix, the raw production. Start by taking notes of what made you fall in love with the music. These are your foundations to start mixing from, and without those solid foundations and deep understanding of how this music makes you tick, you'll forever be chasing your tail to finalise your mix.

Nicholas Di Lorenzo