MixCoach Podcast 058: Mix Tricks Downsides

Mix Tricks Downsides

mix tricks trick

In this episode we talk about how mix tricks might get in the way of a great mix.

Raw Transcript:

Announcer: This is the MixCoach podcast episode 58.

Jon: This week on the podcast we’re actually going to be talking about how
you can keep the technical side of mixing and the tricks that you learn
from getting in the way of actually creating a good mix.

Jon: Hey, Kev, who’s it going today?

Kevin: Hi Jon, how are you doing?

Jon: I’m doing good.  So this week, I was going to ask you, and with
MixCoach member and things like that, we’ve listened to hundreds and
hundreds of different mixers’ mixes over the years and months, and I was
wanting to ask you about, either for yourself or for other people that we
coach.  Does the technical side of mixing, do tricks ever get in the way of
actual mixing?  Does it ever affect the actual mix in a negative way?

Kevin: I mean, absolutely.  I think we all kind of have the same mindset
when we’re mixing.  We learn a cool trick and we want to use it, and we
tend to almost always overuse it the first time. So one of the things I do
is I almost always if I learn a new trick I will do it, but I’ll make sure
that it actually sounds better and it’s not just louder.

Jon: Right. It’s like your compression trick or something like that you
pop on and you’re like, yeah, that sounds good and it’s just louder, that
sort of thing.

Kevin: And I think that’s one of the things that why people like Chris Lord-
Alge and Dave Pensado and all those guys they do these things and they show
you how to do it, but they’re like any person who’s seasoned, a seasoned
pro, and they know just how much to add.  It’s a lot like being a musician.
You know when you first learn that lick or that bass lick, and you tended
to want to play it on every song although it didn’t really fit on every
song.  It would probably been better just to play it one time in the whole

Jon: Right.

Kevin: Tricks, mixing tricks like that, you learn them from experienced
engineers, and you think that’s the end-all trick to make your mixes sound
amazing.  And they are one of the little things I always say is that good
mixing or mixing well is not about any one thing you do.

Jon: Right.

Kevin: It’s about hundreds of small things that if you took one out, you
probably wouldn’t even notice it.  If you took five out you might start to
notice it, but it’s all about the subtleties and absolutely tricks can kind
of get in the way, but, how do you get to the place where Pensado or Chris
Lord-Alge or some of these really… J. R. McNeely and those guys like
that.  How do you get to that place without stumbling and making some

The most important thing that a mixer can do is just to mix.  You’ve got to
mix. You’ve got to make those mistakes, and you’ve got to get them behind
you fast and figure out that I probably won’t ever do that trick again on
this kind of song, or whatever.  That’s one thing I love about MixCoach
members, there’s a song every month you can mix, and you’ve got all these
guys who are talking about tricks that they used on this one song.

Jon: And the thing about that to me is like you said, you’ve got to get
that stuff behind you.  Whenever you’re mixing and you’re learning how to
mix.  Just like any craft that you’re learning to hone and things like
that, you’ve got to get a lot of stuff out very quickly because otherwise
you’re stuck for a long amount of time in this curve of learning and of
going oh, man, let me try this.

So many times I’ve run into even like where you get to a new plugin.  And
then it’s like you use that plugin on a mix and then… I always make sure
that I sleep on a mix if I use a new trick in it.  And I listen to it the
next day or a couple days later even before I make sure it’s in.  Or if
it’s a hard deadline on something, most of the time I don’t use a new
trick, that sort of thing, because a lot of the times you wake up the next
day and go whoa, that new reverb sounds great.  It’s just about 11db too

Kevin: I’ve never done that… I’m kidding. I do it all the time, even
until this day.

Jon: Awesome, so that’s a great way that you guys can definitely can help
yourselves keep the technical stuff from getting in the way and keep those
new plug-ins from inserting themselves and it being a mix all about that
new plug-in for sure.

Announcer: Thanks for listening. This has been the MixCoach podcast, the
podcast dedicated to making your next recording, your best recording.  For
more tips, tutorials, and even a free course be sure and visit us at

Question: What are some mix tricks you use or a mix trick you have overused?


By Jon Wright

As a graduate of MTSU with a degree in Audio Engineering and Technology Jon has been working as a full time mixer and engineer in Nashville. He loves running, writing, and all forms of entertainment. He also enjoys long walks on the beach with his wife.

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