Groove in the Mix

groove mastering mixing Jan 15, 2019

Music is all about emotion and getting people to feel something. Sometimes we as engineers like to make things more complicated and technical and we forget the emotion. A lot of people have asked me, "How do I know when my song is ready for mastering? How do I know when I'm done mixing?" I always say the same thing:

If your song translates the groove and emotion it's supposed to have on multiple devices, you're ready for the mastering stage. There is no need to over-mix your music, it can end up losing its pizzazz and flare. If you put it on a car system, boom box, phone, laptop, computer speakers, and no matter what it's grooving, the kicks are cutting through, the bass is singing, vocals sit right, it's great, you can now move on to mastering. Don't beat a dead horse. There's no use trying to pick apart every nitpicking detail of a mix. When it comes down to it, the only people that will know what those little details in a mix are going to be engineers, and if you are confident in your mixes and act like you know what you're doing, people are going to think your "mistakes" are intentional. For example, consider the Radiohead song, "Burn the Witch." When I first heard the song, I loved how the mix was moving when the strings came in. Then when the drums came in, I thought, "Man these are crazy muddy." But I immediately dismissed the thought. Why? Well, because it's Radiohead, and Tom York is an insane genius. Obviously they MEANT for those drums to sound that way. So the idea of these mixes being "bad" all of a sudden wasn't an option. It became, in my mind, and artistic choice. Have confidence in your mixing and songs. People will like them for what they are if they're good, groovy songs.

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