Today let’s get right to the point. If you’re recording music, then typically you want the final product to be quality. You want a great, clear, exciting sound that displays your creativity and talent and moves people to tears (or joy, or head banging, or whatever…you get the idea). If this is a given, then why in the world do most of us tend to record our tracks as if the mixing stage of the process is going to somehow make that desire a reality?! Here’s the real secret to getting a great final mix…
Via Vs Heidelberg Photos Flickr
Before You Even Get To The Mix
Here’s the truth people. The most important tip I could give you as a producer and engineer (and musician!) is to record your tracks the way you want them to sound in the final mix. It’s that simple. Don’t assume the “magic” will happen in the mix. The “magic” happens in the tracking room with the actual instrument/performer and your microphone.
The art of recording is that…the recording! Great mixes (and great songs for that matter) come much easier when they start with great recordings. Whatever sounds you hear in your head, make them a reality before you ever hit “record” in your DAW. Is the instrument in tune? Do you have new strings/drum heads etc? Have you rehearsed the music enough? Is your mic placement ideal for the sound you’re going for? Do you know whether or not you want to double/triple your vocals? All of these are the types of quesions you need to ask yourself (of the band) and then answer and execute.
The Mix Starts In The Recording Process
I’ve written about mic placement before and how this one simple skill (that comes from experience and practice) will affect your recordings way more than which mic you are using. This huge truth simply reiterates what I’m trying to say in this article: the best sounding tracks are the ones that started with the best sounding recordings. You will get a better mix and a better album when you take the recording process seriously and try to think of the mix with every take you capture.
This tip goes hand in hand with The #1 Rule of Home Recording. If you don’t work in your studio with this rule in mind then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. So read the free eBook if you haven’t already, focus on being intentional with your recordings, and stop leaving things for the mix. Your tracks will be better off, trust me.