Here’s a list of things I consider important when building a mix, divided into ‘tiers’. I might add to/fiddle with this over time, but I’ll put it up now as it’s been saved in draft for a year or something. I wanted to get this up so I can refer to it in future articles.
– Sound selection
– Gain structure / levels
– Making good decisions / doing less
– Space/separation vs intensity/density
– Individual EQ
– Individual dynamics
– Group processing
N.B. These apply when talking in a mixing context as opposed to a creative/musical context. For example, hitting a buss hard with compression to try to keep things from clipping, vs hitting a drum buss hard because it sounds cool. Or sidechaining stuff to try and get stuff to fit together in a mix, versus sidechaining for the rhythmic pumping effect.
I’m not going to discuss it all at length; other articles can/will do that. Looking at this now though, a few things jump out at me.
– The higher the level, the more focus it should get.
– The lower the level, the less focus it should get.
– The more focus the higher level stuff gets, the less you need to worry about the lower level stuff, and the better your mix is likely to sound.
– The more time you spend with the lower level stuff, the more you’re likely making up for mistakes made on higher level stuff.
– The higher level stuff is principle-oriented; the lower level stuff technique-oriented.