About a week ago now I attempted to mix a track in an hour and it taught me a lot about my own mixing practises and where and how I need to improve. The brief basically stated that I had an hour to mix the track (below) to some certain reference tracks by the Black Keys and their lead singer’s solo career.
Overall, I learnt that I have a lot to improve on. At my current skill level, I spent way too much time on organisation. I grouped drums, VOX, etc. when I didn’t necessarily need to and spent too much time colour coding, renaming and reorganising tracks. Although that process is necessary to me to be able to differentiate between things and overall increases my workflow, I do need to get faster at it.
From there, I begun to build a mix by working on the levels of everything, as well as panning. When doing this, I went from left to right in terms of what I edited. I have since learnt that this is probably a poor and time consuming way of doing things because the track as a whole is now probably mixed to the first instrument you looked at. It is a better practise to mix from the main melodic elements, so that they are at a good level within the mix and punch through where they are supposed to. This practise would be extremely time saving as, when I mixed, I had to go back and readjust the levels of the drums that I edited first because they were too loud compared to the main vocals and lead guitar section.
With the time I had left, I tried to add some simple EQ and reverb routed via busses on Auxiliary tracks. I only managed to do this to the drums and vocals however and a lot of further FX processing would of been great to have done, however, in the hour I had, only this was feasible.
Overall, I don’t think I really spent my time on the correct things. I would of loved to have spent time making the guitars a little more grungy by adding some distortion and overdrive effects. I also would of liked to done some vocal processing because at the moment the main vocal sounds too clean for a grunge/indie/rock kind of track. Overall, I think with more time I would have been able to successfully meet the brief, however with the brief time that I did have, I did an okay job of mixing. The drums are a little too loud and guitars take away a little too much from the vocals in my opinion. However, overall I think I did an okay job. I know now that I need to focus on efficiency in order to reduce the time it takes for me to work on superfluous things and to allow myself more time to focus on the important stuff in a mix.
Thanks for reading!