Posted on 16. Mar, 2016 by Daniel Duskin (Record Producer, Mixing & Mastering Engineer) in Mastering, Mixing, Ssh!
Have you ever compared your mix to professional mixes and masters?
Sure you have!
I’m talking about when you’ve just finished—or just about finished—your mix, and you want to see how it stacks up to some of the greats.
Chorus to Chorus
You probably first tried doing this by skipping to some random part of your song, and some random part of other great mixes. Then you quickly realized that it doesn’t always work out so well, unless when you skip from one mix to the other you are comparing chorus to chorus.
Comparing the two mixes in the chorus is a great way to check and see if you have achieved similar width, power, top, and bottom.
If you’re still pleased with your mix after this—frighteningly—sobering check, you’ve probably nailed the mix!
Yet, you’ve probably forgotten to check something that is possibly even more important!
Intro to Intro
At first it might seem strange to compare the intro of your mix to the intro of another mix… I mean, the songs haven’t even fully started yet!
That’s true! But have you considered the fact that many of your potential listeners are skipping from song to song, and determining which song they will land on by what sounds good in the first 5 seconds?
I’m not just talking about loudness and tone, you should be listening to everything.
Skip around and listen to the first 5-10 seconds of a bunch of good mixes, and put yours in the rotation. Which mixes grab your attention and make you not want to hit that next button?
Does your mix have what it takes to have good landing power? It could be an intriguing vocal that sounds like it’s whispering in your ear, a strong beat that makes you want to move, a shocking sound effect that has you wondering what will come next, or just about anything that is more likely to have you put down the touch screen device and enjoy the music.
The Most Important Part
It could be argued that the intro, and/or the first 10 seconds is the most important part of the song, and likewise the most important part of the mix.
It’s the first impression which sets the mood for outside opinions.
If you can get the beginning of the song to knock their socks off, odds are you have already hooked them, and they are gonna love your mix.
Not many people are likely to reject your mix as not sounding so great once they’re already into it. At that point, they can tolerate and enjoy a lot more because they’re already feeling good.
Your Outro, to Other Intros
Now that you’re happy with your mix after comparing the chorus of your mix to the chorus of other mixes, and comparing the intro of your mix to the intro of other mixes…
compare the end of your mix to the beginning of others.
No one will compare the end of your mix to the end of any other mixes. But, if they listen to your mix all the way through to the end, they are likely going to have another song coming up right after yours in the shuffle.