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Bettering Your Mixes

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At Honest Amp Sim Reviews we try to ensure everyone that turns to us for help, gets the help they need and more. We love that people trust us enough to ask us to assist with the creation of great guitar tones and ultimately great mixes but I wanted to lay down a few suggestions for the future.

Our focuses with the public here at HASR first and foremost are as follows:

  • Helping users find the right products for their needs and budget
  • Helping with signal chain issues
  • Helping new amp sim users get started with plugins
  • Helping to find the right plugins for specific tone chases

We don’t mind the odd note here and there on mixes but for extensive mix feedback we want to direct people to better resources. We are not professional sound engineers or producers here at HASR. We are not really qualified to critique anyone’s work or provide feedback on audio mixing but we are more than happy to provide links to proper resources that we trust and highly recommend.

ALL of the following resources are suitable for anyone from beginners to professionals.

URM ACADEMY:

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The main resource that I would personally like to recommend is the URM Academy aka Unstoppable Recording Machine. This is basically an ultra-affordable school for anyone looking to up their game with audio mixing of any kind. URM Academy every skill level with open arms which is a good feeling and there’s also a lot of good humor / relaxed vibes involved. Even with only being able to put a little time into their resources, users will walk out with useful knowledge with real-world applications.

URM is run and operated by some of the all out most motivated, determined, hard-working and helpful people in the industry and they are always finding new ways to engage everyone they can. Nail The Mix sessions with the “who’s who” of producers, One on ones, mix rescues, fast track / mix lab content and so much more is available for about as much as you’d pay monthly for a premium streaming service. While you can’t URM n’ Chill (or can you?), the service is about as close to a guarantee / sure thing as I can recommend.

Want mix feedback, notes and opinions? URM provides a user group where you can ask for exactly that! This group is packed with many users that are more than happy to help out. One thing I like about this group is reading the comments, feedback and more from intermediate, expert and professional users about how they overcame plateaus and obstacles or found easy ways to remedy issues that may have you pulling out your hair.

So far, this resource has been absolutely key for me in my attempts to create much better mixes and I hope you will all head over there for guidance!

HARDCORE MUSIC STUDIO

Jordan Valeriote is an experienced producer known well for his terrific production, mixing and mastering skills. Don’t let the name fool you, HCMS isn’t just for “hardcore” styles and genres, it’s for literally anyone with interest in audio production.

HCMS has a huge vault of completely FREE content available on their YouTube. It’s actually quite amazing and remarkable how much is offered for absolutely nothing and I will often hit up the content when looking to learn something new or perhaps get a different look / angle at something. The way Jordan explains even complex techniques is masterful. He is always calm, cool, collected and working his ass off to ensure that every single person watching his content walks away with something more than they came in with. Having things laid out in a comfortable and concise way is infinitely beneficial in any learning process. Trust that you’ll find it here.

HCMS also have paid courses that I can say are absolutely worth the low price of registration. He often operates with only plugins / software which can really resonate with any at-home hobbyist that doesn’t have access or a need for racks of hardware. Above all, I believe this to be one of the best resources out there for the at-home producer.

AUDIO ISSUES / Björgvin Benediktsson

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Audio Issues is a website run by a very talented and personable guy named Bjorgvin Benediktsson. The website and his emailing list alone are very helpful on a ton of different levels but the best thing I ever did was buy his eBooks. They are all available on Amazon for very affordable prices but for even tighter budgets, they go on sale fairly often. For mix feedback look into his paid programs and sessions.

Bjorgvin is a straight up ninja when it comes to teaching everything from basic techniques to advanced game changing moves when it comes to all things mixing but for me, his knowledge of EQ had the most impact. His website, mailing list emails and most importantly his easy-to-follow e-books have all been a huge help for me on a number of levels. He lays things out and explains things in a way that inspires that “I need to go try this in my DAW right now” kind of way. His content has always left me with confidence as a opposed to confusion.

I highly recommend buying the following books from his collection:

  • STEP BY STEP MIXING
  • BETTER MIXES IN LESS TIME
  • EQ STRATEGIES

His content has helped me a lot over the last few years. My suggestion is to make an email folder for his frequent mailing list send outs and be sure to put all non-sales related incoming emails from Audio Issues into that folder. The reason for this is so that you don’t feel the pressure to do new things daily but instead keep the wealth of free information organized to be consulted when able. Going slow when learning new techniques is absolutely key.

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While we are not audio professionals, we will be happy to share our collective experience when it comes to our favorite mixing tips, tricks and techniques in future content but above all, when it comes to getting the absolute best mixes you can get, see the above professionals and the incredible services / resources they provide. We will however lend a few tips!

AUDIO PRODUCTION TIPS:

-Never ask people what they think of the song itself when looking for mix feedback, just ask them about the ups, downs and noticeable factors involving the mix itself. Asking people what they think of your music invites an unneeded element into the conversation. If someone likes your song or part of your song, they will tell you unprompted but by asking, it creates possible negativity that can cloud the situation.

– Learn more than the basics of the basics. What does this mean? Well sometimes “beginner” level stuff only concentrates on getting users familiar with a skill so for stuff like EQ, compression and other rudimentary areas of the mix game, make sure to go the extra mile. Before moving onto more advanced techniques, ensure you have a very firm understanding of all the basic skills you will need to move on effectively.

– GO SLOW, BABY STEPS, ONE STEP AT A TIME!! This is advice that I can’t stress enough. It’s very tempting to go from skill to skill, technique to technique while using little bits of things to improve your mixes to a level you will dfinitely notice but it’s a real bad habit. Whenever learning something new that interests you, learn it in full from start to finish because learning 30% of this and that will only create headaches in the future.

– HAVE FUN!! Sometimes we forget to have fun and when learning or struggling with a mix, this stuff might not seem like a lot of fun but don’t look at it like work. Look at it as learning a way to make your creations sound better and better. Imagine a mix like your dream house and every skill you learn as a new tool to build it. If you get frustrated or feel like you are getting nowhere, you aren’t alone. Simply step away from your studio rig for a bit, let your ears relax

– MIX AT LOW VOLUME!! Anyone and everyone that has been mixing for a bit will tell you that mixing at high volumes is counter productive. If you are mixing properly, you should be able to hear everything in your mix at even very low volumes. Mixing at a normal listening volume while occasionally turning up to check levels is a much better way to mix because mixing often takes many hours. Ear fatigue is a real thing so mix like a pro not an EDM DJ ok? Take care of those ears, you need them!!

– Make sure you have a decent set of studio monitors, we recommend the very cost effective and high quality ADAM AUDIO T7V set. The next step is to ensure your monitors are set up properly and calibrated. There’s a lot more to setting up studio monitors than putting them on a desk and turning them on. Having some proper foam separating the monitors from the surface they are on is also a great idea. Learn exactly how to set up your monitors and stay away from monitors that are made out of molded plastic like the low end of the KRK products. Don’t just buy crap because you see it in another video, do your research, get better sounding stuff.

Thanks!

The HASR team

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