021 MixCoach Minute-The “Magic Pill” for mixes

Don’t you wish there was one thing you could do to dramatically improve your mixes? I’m going to show you one on this episode of the MixCoach Minute!

Raw Transcript:

Hey guys, this is Kevin again from MixCoach. This is another episode of the
MixCoach Minute brought to you by MixCoach Member. If you’ve heard any of
these videos you know how important MixCoach Member is to me and how
important it is to a lot of my members. I’ve had a lot of really good
feedback on how much they’ve learned at MixCoach Member and being forced to
mix different styles of music and how much more well-rounded of an engineer
they’ve become. So check out MixCoach Member whenever you get a chance. But
today, the topic I want to talk about is mixing in the worst-case scenario.

As you know from the last couple of episodes, I’m actually helping a friend
learn to mix. And we covered some of these topics like, in just a rapid
fire kind of question and answer session, a few days ago and these are some
of the concepts that I gave him about mixing. And if you’ve been listening
to me at all, or you listen to Graham or you listen to Joe, we all agree
that mixing mono is a very important thing. I want to reiterate that and
tell you that it just doesn’t get any more important than being able for
your mix to translate in mono.

Because if you think about it, I just thought of this, when I listen to a
song on my iPhone, it doesn’t come out both speakers. And if it did it
would still sound mono. This is the way I listen to it on my speaker. I
literally stick that thing in my ear and listen to it. That’s the worst-
case scenario and if my mix sounds goods on this iPhone or on a broken set
of headphones or a bad set of monitors, then I am perceived as a well-
rounded, good mixer. So it’s very important that you make your mixes sound
good in mono.

Couple things you can do is just mono the monitoring system that you have.
If you have a big knob or if you have a control surface, you can click the
button that says mono. In my system it doesn’t translate into headphones,
which I mix on headphones quite a bit. You may want to put something across
the master bus that mono’s things. There are plug-in’s I’m sure that you
can use to do that. Including Ozone and things like that, but I use a thing
from Wave called S1, and I make the width mono and I listen to it. And when
it’s by-passed, it’s stereo and when it’s on, it’s mono. It’s that simple
and then I do the majority of my mix, probably 80 percent in mono and that
makes my ear concentrate on what’s important.

If I can’t get enough snap out of the kick, if the snare seems to be
disappearing, the more I push it the louder it gets but the less punchy it
is, that tells me from experience that it’s a phase issue. And you will
have if you have stereo recorded instruments at all and you have stereo
reverbs you’re going to have phase issues because the phase issues are what
makes it sound wide in stereo along with the panning. If you have a bunch
of mono instruments, you probably won’t have this problem as much. If you
have stereo or even poorly recorded stereo instruments, acoustic guitar,
piano, those are the, mainly piano and mainly drums, those will be dead
giveaways of something needs to be changed phase wise. You’ll notice a huge
difference.

It’s that one magic pill that you can take for your mix to make it better.
Listen to it in mono and fix the issues that your ears are telling you are
there. A wimpy snare, floppy kick, a bass guitar that doesn’t seem to be
translating, flip the phase on those guys and you’ll see that in mono it
starts to sound good. And then the icing on the cake is that when you
finally go into stereo you will be glad that you mixed in mono because the
mix is going to sound amazing. Not just because you’re mixing it, but
because you finally went from mono to stereo and this is gratifying. This
is hard work. Do the hard work and your mix will sound better. So it’s very
important that you mix in mono.

How much time you want to spend there is up to you. I spend quite a bit of
time there because I’m that, I want to work, work, work and then get the
pay off. And the pay off is when I finally listen to it in stereo. Now, you
might need to do a few adjustments when you put it in stereo depending on
how well the stereo instruments recorded. If you mix in mono your vocal may
be a little light when you go to stereo, that’s no big deal, push the vocal
up. Because you know that with consistent with the track, the vocal is
going to be the same.

So your vocals are going to be consistent with the track if you’ve mixed in
mono and if you’ve got the tracks sounding good. You may have to make a few
fine adjustments when you get done, but I promise you if you will mix in
mono and spend most of your time there, your mix will translate better.
This has been a MixCoach Minute. I hope you’re enjoying this video series
I’m doing. Go and check out MixCoach Member when you get a chance. If you
want to be a really good mixer, come to MixCoach Member. Okay? Bye. See you
tomorrow.

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