2 Basic Approaches to Mixing
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” This quote is attributed to the late-great Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. We could modify that to read “Writing about mixing music is like dancing about architecture.” Regardless, it’s difficult to describe the art of mixing music using mere words, and it can be even more challenging to attempt to mix music in an unfamiliar style. That’s our job today—to share two basic approaches to mixing music, no matter what genre or style.
Learn to use these tools and your mixes will potentially sound better than ever. But first… Calibrate your ears We calibrate input levels when recording, and we should calibrate our ears before mixing. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with quality reference material, so cue up some music that’s well performed and expertly mixed.
There’s a semi-apocryphal story about a famous mixer who listened to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” every day to tune his ears before mixing. I tried it. It wasn’t my jam. We must each find our own “Sugar.” Here’s a Spotify playlist to get you started (Yes, I know it’s a compressed format, but it’s a place to start):