Getting mixes done faster

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by RichardT »

Aaron Straley wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 7:32 pm Thanks everyone, great advice that I will take to heart. I definitely need some self imposed time limits. Some of the denser mixes are taking me more than 20hrs, mainly because I cant get to where I want it, and refuse to call something complete that I know is not right.

I get really sick of listening to the same song that much and it ends of having a negative impact. It feels like I am not being very productive when it takes this long.

Yes I want to be able to mix faster, for a more satisfying experience and better end results. Lord knows I cant get any slower.

You might be one of those people for whom mixing is a necessary chore rather than a pleasure - but even so, it will get easier with experience!
RichardT
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2644 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: London UK

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by sonics »

May we know what sort of music, what sort of arrangement and which DAW? Folk singer/guitarist, deathcore, or 200-track film score? :lol:

There have been some good posts already, of course!

It's probably inexperience. You could do worse than find a mix engineer that works with music you like, and find out their methods. That's the old way it was done. I once paid for studio time with producer/engineer as a learning experience. In the end we had a great time and he didn't charge me anything!
sonics
Frequent Poster
Posts: 694 Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:00 am Location: Canada
 

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by MarkOne »

Of course the other thing that contributes is the performance. More than once I’ve heard interviews with big name mix engineers talking about really famous tracks saying stuff like “It was a joy to do, it pretty much mixed itself”

If it’s a great performance, it’s in time, in tune and the captured tone is on the money, and it was recorded in a great space there’s not much to do to get a great mix.

If on the other hand you’re like me and despite all your efforts those things are all a little sub-par, then it’s a much bigger job.
MarkOne
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2119 Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:00 am Location: Bristol, England, Earth, Perseus Gap, Milky Way
My Music on Apple Music
My Music on Spotify

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by Arpangel »

Aaron Straley wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:42 am What strategies do you recommend for speedier mixes?

None.

It takes as long as it takes, yours might take longer than mine, or they may be quicker, I’ve made mixes in five minuets, and some have taken months, making a mix is like growing plants in your garden, the same type of plant may take different times to grow, or it may not grow at all, it’s the same with recording, we must abandon this desire to make everything quicker, like, taking a long time is wrong somehow, it’s not, it’s just a natural thing, you just go with the flow.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12558 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by Mike Stranks »

Really good stuff so far... some of which I've only skimmed, so apologies if what follows has already come up...

I find that because I'm self-taught on using DAWs etc - aren't we all? - then my 'voyages of discovery' may have led me to adopt some labour-intensive ways of achieving a desired effect when there's a much simpler way available that I hadn't discovered. Checking out 'tips and techniques' articles and videos (with care!) can be useful in identifying quicker and easier ways of doing stuff.

Just last night I was watching a set of videos on using some video software I use... Some useful highlights on much easier ways of achieving something than I've been using. However, there were also some convoluted ways of doing stuff where I use much quicker approaches! Hence, 'with care' above...

... View and read with discernment... your current way may be a better way! :lol:
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9899 Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by jaminem »

Aaron Straley wrote: Thu Oct 06, 2022 11:42 am I've been seriously mixing for about 6 months now

Thats not very long, at all. I think your expectation is way off. I know a pro who can work very 'quickly' if they have to, usually this is due to a deadline, too much work on, or the knock-on effect of far too many little changes leading up to a deadline. True he will work faster than I and get a better result as he does it everyday and is very talented.

he's been at it over 20 years....
Practice mate, 6 months is really no time at all. Stop worrying about speed, quality is what you want - there are some excellent suggestions in this thread.

You will naturally become quicker the better you get...
jaminem
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1302 Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:00 am

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by OneWorld »

I think the point 8 made by Matt is especially useful....."8. Don't listen on everything on loop for ages. As well as hastening listening fatigue it leads you to be overfamiliar with the music — ie your ears grow accustomed to any problems. Instead, try having a notepad/pen handy, and as you get into the mix, try the tape-style workflow: play back once, listen, take notes on your thoughts and any problems, and write down a snag list. Work through it and then listen again. "

I think it helps to be consistent, using your ITB mixer as would have been done back in the day before DAWs became commonplace - each channel on a mixer would essentially always deal with the same content eg Channel 1 would always be lead voice and so on. OK there has to be done flexibility, but if for example one section of your mixer is for drums Kick, Snare, HiHats etc then when you get to mixing you won't need to set up each channel strip anew.

I use a controller which back across in groups of 8, so I set up each section reflecting that 8 MIDI + 8 Audio + 8 instrument tracks and so on

It is taking a bit of time to establishing the 'ideal' setup but I am getting there bit by bit, instead of setting up a mix and each time I do assign some plug in to track 1, another to track 2 and so on, I have all the oft used plugins always loaded and use them/bypass them as and when. I have set the controller up so the press of a button opens the plugin editor.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am trying to mimmick the use of a hardware mixer
OneWorld
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3715 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by danclapson »

Some of my personal hints for faster mixing...

- "Always gain stage". Get your channel levels coming in right before you do anything else. It'll save you a massive headache later.

- "Learn how to set your Levels, Pan and EQ before you do anything else". I've had to learn this skill the hard way, but if you can become super amazingly expert with Levels/Pan/EQ you are nearly 90% of the way. People waste hours adding compressors, distortion, verb, delays etc. I am not saying don't use other FX... yes, you might need them... just don't underestimate how important your L/P/E is to the overall mix. It's more important than anything else.

- "You can't polish a turd". However much you think adding yet another plugin FX can fix a sound, the problem is most likely your source material. Don't be precious - throw away and start again if it doesn't sound right.

- "Learn how to side-chain kicks and bass etc". Side-chaining is your friend for well balanced mixes.... and this comment is not just for EDM.

- "Always keep the input into your Master Bus under -XXX db". Be kind to your mastering process - give enough headroom for the final polish. Some say - 3db... others say -6db. I go for -6db and haven't looked back.

- "Less is much more". Save time. Don't add more. You'll realise later that it sounds better when you remove it.

- "Practice, practice, practice until you aren't thinking how to mix".

- "Oh... wait on... you can polish a turd". Once you become really fast, skilled and proficient at mixing you'll learn how to make anything sound good!!
danclapson
Posts: 1 Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:48 am

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by Aaron Straley »

I think the suggestions so far have been great. On thing I tried yesterday is using a list for each session and this is helping me already. This is such a simple step that is making big difference. How did I miss this?

One suggestion, I was already using. This was to use only stock plug ins and limit choices for plug ins. Once in a while, I will go searching for a 3rd party plug in if absolutely needed

I do enjoy mixing and have only been serious about it for about 6 months. By serious mixing, I mean mixing a song to a radio ready state. Please understand I have been recording music and using some type of DAW for more than 25yrs...recording my own music, sharing with bandmates, etc....Basically, I have a foundation there to build on, I just was not attempting to mix to a pro standard

I also worked as an RF technician tuning and testing amplifiers for many years, so I have a decent grasp on compression, EQ, filtering and the like.

When I started about 6 months ago, I was super slow and learning the new DAW. Getting my monitoring situation up to par (best I can), Exploring the the different plugins and settings for each. Learning all the editing features on the DAW. Now, I can tell I am at a point where I need to speed things up, that's what this post is all about. I think if I can start getting through mixes quicker, it will be more enjoyable and I will get better results. I am not trying to rush through mixes just to call it done, and will not pass anything off as complete when it is not right.
Aaron Straley
Regular
Posts: 62 Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2022 12:25 pm Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by OneWorld »

I wonder if one day some AI coder will attempt writing the code to mix automatically, after, mixing is to a great extent objective ie, each instrument should occupy a certain frequency range, volume levels and dynamics set relative to other tracks etc etc and a really clever application could ‘learn’ from organically mixed tracks?

It certainly would be an interesting challenge for a coder. That said, one of the most difficult aspects of implementing AI is the knowledge engineering element of the process, many human experts are very reluctant to disclose knowledge they have spent years and years acquiring, why would one make oneself redundant?
OneWorld
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3715 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by Martin Walker »

danclapson wrote: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:00 pm Some of my personal hints for faster mixing...

Hi danclapson, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

And what a great and super helpful first post - you'll soon have lots of friends here ;)

Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 19873 Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:44 am Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Getting mixes done faster

Post by Arpangel »

danclapson wrote: Fri Oct 07, 2022 12:00 pm Some of my personal hints for faster mixing...

- "Always gain stage". Get your channel levels coming in right before you do anything else. It'll save you a massive headache later.

This is very true, and this may seem strange, but I’ve noticed this many times over the years, George Martin semi-jokingly said something along the lines of, he could tell a good mix just by looking at the meters, this has been my case more often than I care to think, if the levels are all around the same area, things tend to gel, depends what type of music, but it’s not as silly as it sounds.
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12558 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am
That’s another thing
Post Reply