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Mix Completion
Old 19th April 2019
Mix Completion

Hey Andrew,

You're a GEM! Thanks for taking time to answer our questions!

Question: At what point do you feel a mix is done? I know there's always one more thing that can be tweaked, but when do you feel it's okay to let go? Also how much do you leave for mastering in terms of EQ?

Thanks in advance

Old 22nd April 2019
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This question has a different answer depending on if you are mixing for yourself or for other people, but the basic premise is the same. I'll talk about it in terms of mixing for other people and you'll get the idea.

A mix is done when you can send it to a client with an email that just says "here's the mix". If you feel you have to write anything else to explain anything about the mix, then those are things that you need to take care of before you send it. That could be things you are struggling with because of the arrangement or recording, it could be things you haven't quite gotten to work in the mix yet, whatever. Basically, you have to imagine them hitting play and listening and that's it.

As far as there being one more thing that can be tweaked, I'm not really sure about that. One of the most important things for a mixer is perspective. This allows you to hear the mix the way a first time listener would, which is the only way to really know if a mix is working. The first thing about that perspective is that you won't still be obsessing on the last thing you were working on (you'll hear the song, not the snare drum), but more importantly, if possible, you won't remember what the last thing you were working on was. Once you can get to this point with a mix, you will really only respond to how the mix is working, and unless something sticks out to you as not working, you won't have anything left to tweak. It's easier said than done, but it's definitely something to strive for. For me, the way I try to do this is never work on a mix longer than I'm actually being productive. As soon as I feel burned out or like I'm not sure what I should do next I close the session and either work on another mix or take a break. That way I can't get bogged down in the details.

To the last part of your question, I don't purposefully leave anything for mastering. I'm not saying my mixes don't need mastering sometimes, but I'm always trying to make my mixes sound like I think they should, not like how they should unmastered. This can be dangerous, especially when you're starting out since some processing can't be undone, but it's the ultimate goal of any mixer really. What this means in practice for me is that there isn't what some people call a listening copy of the mix that gets sent to the band and producer that's different than what gets sent to mastering. Again, when you're starting out this can be a dangerous way to work, but it works for me.
Old 22nd April 2019
Thanks Andrew! Your answer exceeded anything I could've expected. Again I really appreciate you taking time to school us! Many blessings to you and your family!
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