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Mixing as you Produce ?
Old 27th March 2019
Lives for gear
Audio Child's Avatar

Mixing as you Produce ?

Hey composers so i'd like to know others workflow

Are you mixing as you produce or splitting the session in 2 to mix your tracks from a blank slate!

I've been doing the latter but i find it a lil time consuming so may just try the approach of mix as i go along for time management reasons.

Whats your take ?
Old 27th March 2019
I tend to mix as I go, because I find it hard to work with "raw" sounds the whole tune. I really wish I could just do the damn track and just concentrate into structure and the melody, but also saving some resources in that point not having all the compressors etc. in the mix channels.
Old 27th March 2019
Here for the gear
Ovee's Avatar

I'm splitting the "mixing" term into two stages:

1. Sound design mixing - where I'm mixing while working on the track to achieve the sound that I want to achieve for particular stems, instruments, sounds etc. On that stage I'm close to final mix in the meaning of balance, volume, panning, but it's still rough.
2. True Mixing - Everything from above exported to audio files and then mixed as I'm mixing a song from someone else.

I found that the amount of work that I put into stage 1 makes it less time consuming in stage 2, but there's no rule what I'm doing in first stage, what in second, what YES, what NO. It's my nautral workflow, so I'm not even thinking about it, it's just like "Okay, music is done, time to work on audio files."

But of course sometimes working on music goes so well and easy, that I'm closing it all in one stage. As always - it depends
Old 27th March 2019
Gear Guru
drBill's Avatar
Almost always, I have a template (or create a template) where the instrument tracks are bussed directly into their associated audio tracks. Audio tracks are at unity gain, and are placed on "input". Then those audio tracks are bussed outside the DAW to my 2 Bus analog chain, and returned into my "analog mix" track which is also on "input". If delay's, reverb, EQ, compression or any other "effect" needs to be added while writing, it's done on the audio tracks so that they are ready to go when I proceed to mixing.

General levels, etc. are set on my instrument tracks so that the audio tracks are essentially a "balanced mix" @ unity before I even start mixing. Then I'll digitize all the instrument tracks in real time in ONE pass by arming the audio tracks and recording. Then, I'll make the instrument tracks "inactive" and hide them - leaving only the audio tracks. I'll then mix the audio tracks and print the mix buss. Done. Simple, streamlined, and I'm essentially always mixing from note one. By the time I actually get to mixing, I'm already halfway done.

BTW, this is on tracks that are VSTi mostly. When real instrumentation gets involved (often for me) things get more disorganized and chaotic.
Old 28th March 2019
Here for the gear

As I go. I can't work with raw sounds, ideas just don't come up. I can't think of a new melody or new chord progression if I feel like the tambourine is too bright. I try to do it quickly though, I do broad moves and when the track is done, "mixing" is just fine tuning what I already have.
Old 28th March 2019
Here for the gear

I am in the process of learning to mix now (just my own music, I like electro and Hip Hop), and I try new things with each track, trying to discover a workflow. I've been moving in the direction of jamming out a bunch of parts for bass, harmony (pad), drums and percussion, leads, and sound effects, and I usually start mixing by high and low-pass filtering any tracks that need it (almost all tracks tbh), then I do an initial level setting, and then I mix the bass and kick drum (checking how they sound with all the other tracks in periodically), and I do the arrangement after that, and then I mix the kick and bass again before tackling the other tracks, and then it's on to just a tad more arrangement - fun with automation lanes and creating interesting transitions that are built from sounds from many different places in the arrangement. I try my best to make quick, intuitive, and musical decisions.
Old 28th March 2019
Gear Nut

I tend to mix while I produce. In the moment it’s all about the feeling, so I capture that feeling right then, vs trying to recapture it later. It saves time when the files are bounced to individual files already mixed to open in my DAW for the final touches. I work in Reason, and while Reason has more than enough tools to accomplish a full mix in the box, I like my DAWS workflow as it has capabilities Reason doesn’t.
Old 5th April 2019
narcoman's Avatar

Most of my clients are mixing as they go - they then send me the whole session to finesse for cinema etc. Mixing is part of the recording and production process these days.
Old 5th April 2019
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elambo's Avatar
I think we're all mixing as we go to some degree, otherwise how can we tell that the composition is precisely where it needs to be. John Williams and Mozart heard finished products in their heads, more or less, as they were constructing them so they could tell where a piece needed support, but that sound in their head was a proper version -- or proper mix -- of each instrument, and of each section, and of the orchestra as a whole, but that final sound doesn't tend to formulate perfectly when you're composing in smaller steps using MIDI. And remember that one of the primary jobs of a conductor is to mix on-the-fly.

Volumes and frequencies clash often, and if we're not cognizant of it we might think the clashes are due to the arrangement whereas it could just need some sonic crafting. So we're sculpting those things, to some degree, as the composition fills outs. Same with reverbs -- it's important to approximate the spaces.

I try to get things sounding close toward the end of the composing steps, but even during the "mix stage" I often change the composition when elements don't sound ideal. This is preferred when, for instance, a string section is cloudy and stepping on a melody. We could eq the strings to make room, or I could rearrange a little to make room. The latter is often the best approach, but not always. The composition, arrangement and mix should all go compliment each other seamlessly, and I think that's why it's important to keep all of it in mind throughout the process.

Technically, we mix within the same session where the piece was written, and we don't often use group busses (splits). We did for many years, but we've been happier with the outcome when we didn't treat each section separately, instead thinking of the whole enchilada as one piece, even from a mix perspective. YMMV.
Old 14th April 2019
Gear Maniac
Sonic_X's Avatar
always mixing till its sounds perfect
Old 15th April 2019
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar

Mix as I go.

Helps if you have a good template already set up and balanced.

Last edited by Jeff Hayat; 15th April 2019 at 01:25 AM..
Old 4th May 2019
Gear Addict
Volt9's Avatar
In the past I already did the mixing right away. But that was because I was learning to mix and because I didn't have the skills. (looking back I guess it is way better to to divide the 2 when you start making music, just so the mixing is not holding back your arranging learning skills)

These days I try to change my habit at a later stage. Only so that I can produce faster. Not all projects come in the final phase and all the mixing done is just a waste of time in those cases.

But it is difficult to unlearn and change. So for now it is often a combination. A project is starting to finish the more I mix and master.
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