Saturday, September 7, 2019

Using a second pair of ears to improve your mix

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are talking about a simple concept that can be put in the same box of our article about Referencing, which is using the ears of someone else you trust to help you fixing what you are not noticing.

After long mixing sessions, even not continuous, our perception of the song can become a little bit distorted: even if we are experienced mix engineers, we burn in each mixing session most of our critical listening capacity in the first 45 minutes of mixing, more or less, then we get so acquainted to the sound of the song that we lose objectivity.
Sure, stopping mixing and starting over the day after will give us a fresh point of view, but if we are working on a mix for weeks (or months), there will anyway probably be details that we will not be able to point out anymore, for example the cymbals are in general too low or too high, or the mix in general has too little or too much low end.

This happens because we focus on the details: we create, for example by automating even the smallest parts, a perfect equilibrium, and this way we lose the overview of the song, to the point that when at the end we realize for example the mix lacks IN GENERAL low end, we need to destroy all the equilibrium to fix it.
And this is frustrating.

Does this sound familiar? It happens to everyone, even the most professional mix and mastering engineers, and that's why often mixers sends drafts of their songs to other engineers or musicians they trust, in various stages of completion: to have a second pair of ears capable of pointing out what we can't notice anymore.
The more often we do it during the various stages of mixing, the less we will have to "roll back" when something needs to be fixed.
And if you trust the person you need to trust his or her opinion, because you in that moment are looking too close to the song to see it as a whole, and only 2 or 3 months after finishing the mix you'll be able to notice what your friend is noticing.

So my suggestion is to find someone you trust and send him/her your mixes for opinions, and you do the same to that person: it will take the projects of both of you to the next level.

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