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Overcoming the biggest obstacle in mixing
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Saudade's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Overcoming the biggest obstacle in mixing

Just want to know if other share the same problem: To me the biggest obstacle in coming up with a good mix is....ear fatigue and the related issue, losing perspective/objectivity.

I find that I can only listen objectively for about 15mins. After that, I need more than a few hours gap, actually days in between, before I can come back to a mix and hear the problems. If I try to push it and accomplish a lot within a day, the mix with appear to me with jarring problems a few days later when I re-visit it. Very obvious problems like - why is this kick so lacking in low end? I have some skills, experience and enough tools to fix the problems, but if I can't hear the problem I can't solve it.

So my question is, how do pro mixers manage to finish a mix within 1-2 days?
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
This is a good guestion. I also seem to have the same problem sometimes. I will listen to something so long that the whole thing just gets on my nerves. Sometimes I switch back and forth between songs or try to do something else. How do you pro's do it?
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Oldone's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The answer is mix templates that take you to a happy medium so you don't start from complete scratch. Then your 15 minutes of focus can be much more effective. Take a few minutes break, then back at it. Plus a team of people to get perspective from if you need it. Plus a well tuned room and speakers in which you have complete confidence.
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I'd say that if you can only focus for 15 minutes at a time, there are other issues involved.
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
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Rick Carson's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Willing ➑️
I'd say that if you can only focus for 15 minutes at a time, there are other issues involved.
On hour 14 here. I've had breaks today. I got tired about an hour ago ear wise.
Old 13th September 2012
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Listen to other tracks... And take breaks as mentioned
Old 13th September 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
uncle duncan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A/B your mix with commercial product.

Mix at a low volume. Many A-list mixers do the majority of their work at a very low volume. It's how they keep their ears from getting ruined.

Listen to playback (and A/B your mix) on a different set of speakers in a different room while you remain in the control room.

Check playback on a boombox.

Turn off everything except vocal plus bass/drums. As you add elements back in, see if anything is ruining the balance. Just because you have 80 tracks doesn't mean you need to have every single one of them playing all the time.

Find the "thing" that makes the mix compelling. Maybe it's an oddball guitar lick, or an unexpected keyboard line, or a balance thing between the hi-hat and the guitar. Whatever it is, it's the thing that catches the listener's ear and makes them want to pay attention. If there is no "thing" like that in the mix, there's your problem. The best mixes are not perfectly balanced, they're a little off, making room for one particular element to stand out and make an impression on the listener.
Old 13th September 2012
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
NandoOg7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A/B is imperative. In fact, A, B, C, and D is even better. Listen at low volumes, only cranking once in a while. Short breaks.
Old 13th September 2012
  #9
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I ran into this problem SO much when I started mixing professionally. I would rack my brain for hours and I would think through so many little things and just not act.

I solved this problem by monitoring at lower levels (keeping your perspective and ears!), making quick decisions and just letting myself feel where the mix wanted to go. By mixing faster I was able to achieve more honest, engaging mixes that I was not only proud of, but kept the listener's attention.
Old 13th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Joe Haze's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I think the biggest problem is the client liking your hard earned mix and not wanting 20 pages of tweaks..
Old 13th September 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
It's important to mix at whisper levels and only cranking up the level to check on the bass and punch. And believe it or not also mixing fast is important in not loosing perspective and the original instinct/excitement. Most pro mixers I know will have the song 90% there within an hour or two and tweak the song for the rest of the day (with breaks) or the next day.
Old 13th September 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
ksandvik's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Lower levels. Come back next day and finish the job.
Old 13th September 2012
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
ForgottenG's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The problem is you are not awesome....... yet. It takes discipline and practice to be good. The more you do this the better you get. As said before, low volumes is important. As an exercise find a friend who also mixes and have a mix off. First you mix, set a timer for 2 hours. Mix for 2 hours then your done. Let your partner mix for 2 hours while you grab a beverage (or my preference, a pipe) Let him mix for 2 hours. Then you go back and mix for 2 hours etc. and so on each time starting from scratch. At the end or a couple days later listen to the mixes and pick your favorite one. This breaks the habit of obsessiveness and forces you to work on inspiration. Remember, this is just an exercise. I didn't say every mix has to be done in 2 hours.

I have found that some of my clients favorite mixes were things I threw up really quick to give them a quick reference. Your biggest problem is second guessing your mixes. The pros have been doing it long enough that they already broke through this issue. They are further along in their craft. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Oh wait.... Everyone is doing it.
Old 13th September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Suda Badri's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good post... I agree 15 mins is too short a time period to experience an inability to judge a mix due to fatigue... I listen to everything around 90 - 105 db spl when Im working... I step out of the studio every 45 - hour just to enjoy the weather Haha but the best thing id suggest is bring the levels up to where you like them to sit in the end of the mix and don't mess with it again while you do effects and dynamic processing so whatever volume you at you won't lose your original mix perspective... Also the second you notice your ears buzzing out its too late so just stop what you're doing and tea time
Old 13th September 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Dysanfel's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The biggest for me is remembering that the more elements I add the more crowded the mix. KISS!

I mix at 85db and take breaks when I find myself reaching to turn up the volume. I sit in silence during my breaks.
Old 13th September 2012
  #16
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
its a learned mental process. No problem being objective during the first mix. after that its in the client zone....
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