A Nice, Warm Mix

This post includes some simple “do’s” and “don’ts” that will help you get your tracks and overall mixes sounding good. Remember, that it’s important to pay attention to how you EQ  and mix before you send your final tracks for mastering. Even a good mastering engineer can’t save a poorly eq’d/mixed track!

First off, my advice would be to take a look at how you are using reverb. Too much applied to your mix will just make everything sound muddy. And a low quality reverb will impart articles to your high end, making it crackle and sound tinny.

Regarding the use of synthesized sounds: Adding a decent analog, or “vintage” warmer plug (I use PSP Vintage Warmer, and more recently Nomad Factory’s MAGNETIC) to your individual synth tracks will de-sanitize them and round out the edges nicely.

Then look at your master fx chain, and take a look at the FX applied to your whole mix:
1. REVERB: Some people feel comfortable applying reverb to the whole (final) mix, some steer clear of doing that. It’s a personal choice. I will say that the quality of the reverb you use will go a long way in making your tracks sound good. I use 2c Audio’s Breeze.

2. COMPRESSION: Using something like PSP’s Vintage Warmer will go a long way to impart some overall warmth to your tune, and can help balance out your lows, mids and highs. Old Timer is fantastic too, as well as MPX from Waves.

3. MASTERING EQ: Check out Ozone. It’s really good. So good that it might be the only thing you need to get “that” sound without the use of any other compression or eq plug-in. I personally steer clear from the “all-in-one” mix solutions.

4. SONIC ENHANCERS: Plugs like BBE Sonic Maximizer can do wonders for a mix, but it needs to be applied sparingly or your mix will sound awful- thin, and really harsh.

5. BRICKWALL LIMITERS: Use one, and resist the temptation to get your final mix too loud, or hot. Always give yourself plenty of headroom on your master track volume. A loud/hot (and overly compressed) mix will make your songs sound like garbage, and wear out the listeners ear drums by taking away all of the dynamics you worked hard to capture in your recording.

Happy recording.

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