We’re back with another FAQ Friday! Today’s featured question is this:
I’m a little confused about what is good enough when it comes to a final mix before mastering, when the mix is clean enough, or what to leave for the mastering process. For example, on one tutorial, I heard a famous mixer finish a mix, and of course the mix sounded perfectly mixed, tight, and polished, but to me, a little bit muddy, but I doubt the final master track sounded like that.
Good mastering engineers really are worth their weight in gold. They will go in and cut out some of that muddiness that you hear, or other things that were in the mix that will get the track sounding its absolute best and ready for the radio.
What is important to remember, though, is that there is not one 100% correct answer every time. If it were as simple as paying a famous mixer or engineer, then every time that person worked on an album, it would be on the radio. When it comes to your mixes and the records that you work on, feel empowered and know that you understand your tracks and trust the vision you have for them.
Some of the most successful and best sounding albums of all time did not have a separate mixer or engineer, they were created by the same people from start to finish. Jack Douglas, for example, did not like the idea of handing his tracks over to someone else. In some situations, you may be the only one who understands your tracks and will be able to get them sounding how you want them to.
If you are listening to a mix and hear something that you want to change or take out, trust your ears! You don’t have to send your tracks out to a third party to get them sounding great or to make them radio-ready, you have the power to do that too! If you are listening to a track, though, and you find there is something missing but you don’t know where to go, then by all means reach out to someone and have them work on the track or collaborate with you. That will also help you to improve your skills because you may learn something from working with that person.
Watch the video below to see the full answer and the answers to some other great FAQ Friday questions!