Where 80% Of Your Mix Comes From

| Audio Example, Mixing, Plugins, Rant, Tips, Video

What if I told you that most of what you do in a given mix doesn’t contribute much to your final sound?

In fact, 80% or more of your mix actually comes from how you handle two simple things: EQ and compression.

Today I want to show you a mix done purely with two plugins (EQ + Compression) and encourage you with this simple truth: how you handle these two plugins makes or breaks your mix. Nothing else.


Get Better Mixes By Simply Changing How You Start

The first 60 minutes of your mix will affect everything. Here's my proven method!

18 Responses to “Where 80% Of Your Mix Comes From”

  1. Jorge Silvestrini

    This it really tough to do because of my bad habits. I’ve been learning and controlling myself. Instead of grabbing the EQ and Compression first, just going in order. Volume, panning, then EQ in mono and compression.

    Thanks for the constant reminders!

    • Tom G

      The other day I stumbled on something that really made a difference on a mix I was working on. I soloed the vocal bus and the drum buss – made their volumes about equal- (that sweet spot where they sounded good together). Next I brought up the bass to where it was in the mix but not overpowering- and finally brought up the volume on the guitar buss. In that order- I have to say made a big difference for me. Seems there’s always a volume battle going on and the guitar always wins because with rock music you would think that is the case- but usually it’s too loud and then you have to fight with the other instruments. I think the placement or panning of the guitar will ultimately make the difference but in heavy rock music it tends to kill everything else. Try bringing it up last- maybe it will help.

  2. Mark

    This is great – really helpful – thank you.

    What’s the track? It’s KILLER!

  3. Hector Martinez

    Hi Graham! I’ve been binge listening to yours and Joes podcast the last 2 days! They’ve been a great deal of information and inspiration! I’m an aspiring artist that plans to also produce and mix his own stuff. I’m barely starting off and I don’t have a big budget for gear at the moment. Right now I have a MacBook Pro, Logic Pro and recently purchased a USB mic, The Apogee Mic 96k…my question is, is it possible to make quality recordings with a USB Mic and are they good for vocals, or is it a must to get an XLR Mic with an audio interface?
    Thanks Graham and keep up the great work! You’re an inspiration!

    • Graham Cochrane

      While the USB mic you have sounds good – I would recommend an audio interface so you can plug in other instruments (guitars, keyboards) and swap out different mics for different things. More flexibility and expandability for the future.

  4. Tristany

    Gram, I have listened to the Cubase 8 tutorials and quite a few of your videos, but I still don’t understand what panning is. Will you please explain that. Also, is there anything that I should do with a background track? I hope to one day learn an instrument, but for now, my voice is my only instrument.

    • Graham

      Panning is simply placing your track in the stereo field. Moving it from the center to the left or the right.

  5. Marc

    This is a very elegant idea. The wall of technology can be overwhelming. Too many plugins and ways to self doubt. Just ears, eq and comp. I like it.

  6. Vanja

    gain staging, eq and compression are definitely the most helpful tools we have. thanks for remindig us ­čÖé

  7. Duane Brocious

    Back in the analog days, all we mainly had was EQ, Compressor/Limiter and Reverb. Your lesson is as valid today as is at was back then.



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