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Why Your First Mix is Likely Your Best

Posted by - 02:33 PM on 02/22/13
Came across an interesting article talking about how the first or second mix of a song, is usually the best one. The video in the replies talking about mixing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" - which went through 91 mixes and ended up landing on the second one - is compelling audio nerd stuff.
But what happens with each minor “enhancement” is a gradual loss of perspective. I’m sure that by mix 20 they were already so far removed from the first few mixes, but didn’t realize it. They were making small, gradual tweaks. Isn’t that what we do? We keep firing open our DAW, making some more tweaks, and saving the session. We think the mix is OK, but it will get better with time. In reality, we’re just loosing perspective and forgetting what the mix really should sound like.
 
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02:34 PM on 02/22/13
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Jason Tate
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02:37 PM on 02/22/13
#3
wall e
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I thought was going to be about mix tapes, in which case mine had songs from Disney rides and wrestling intros. Arguably my best though.
02:39 PM on 02/22/13
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ibelieveinjake
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Not completely buying into this one. The best advice is about commitment - make sure the arrangement of the song is good first, because that isn't something that can be "fixed" by even the best mix.

But that being said, my first mix is never my best. I test it out on multiple sets of speakers, purely to make sure I'm hearing the levels of kick/bass properly.
02:40 PM on 02/22/13
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Anton Djamoos
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I thought was going to be about mix tapes, in which case mine had songs from Disney rides and wrestling intros. Arguably my best though.
Same for me, when I accidentally put "Living on a Prayer" on it twice.
02:44 PM on 02/22/13
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Jason Tate
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Same for me, when I accidentally put "Living on a Prayer" on it twice.
Mixtape virginity lost?
02:51 PM on 02/22/13
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Micah511
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does burning extra copies of my Creed CDs in case i lost my originals count as a 'mixtape'?
03:14 PM on 02/22/13
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brighteye
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does burning extra copies of my Creed CDs in case i lost my originals count as a 'mixtape'?

Thats a mistake, not a mixtape!
03:23 PM on 02/22/13
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Fox83
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Love the stories some of these engineers have.
03:35 PM on 02/22/13
Jake Jenkins
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yup, i typically stick with my first or second mixes. if i keep redoing im going to get further from what i'm going for.
04:49 PM on 02/22/13
PirateSkater182
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I thought this guy looked like Wildford Brimley. Thanks Google.
05:30 PM on 02/22/13
incognitojones
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Sending this to my producer bro who's taking a while
05:42 PM on 02/22/13
cshadows2887
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Yeah, if you're Bruce Swedien, using your first mix is great. Most amateur musicians self-recording should not, as they're not industry legends with years and years of experience.
06:17 PM on 02/22/13
sweethypocrisy
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mildly relevant, Ken Lewis likes to do a thing he calls the "10 minute mix drill". the goal is to take your tracks, completely dry, pull all the faders all the way down and give yourself 10 minutes to mix the song. you really lose perspective when you sit and try to eq the bass drum for 3 hours. obviously he doesnt submit these as final mixes but its a good exercise for learning whats really important in the mix, the balance of all the levels not all the plug ins and such. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UQjqbz2NpQ
07:44 PM on 02/22/13
danperez
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This also translates as a life philosophy.

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