10 mixing tips from pros

Catherine Marks, Rudimental, Stefano Ritteri and more share their best tips for mixing.

Catherine Marks

Catherine Marks

Rising star Catherine Marks was MPG’s Producer Of The Year 2018… 

Top Tip “Alan Moulder said: ‘For me, you’re just going to be a mixer’… I’d never been involved in the mixing process to that level before. It made me understand how something would end up, which informed me as a producer. So when I’m recording, I’m recording how I want things to sound at the end – the recording process becomes part of the mixing process.”

James Davidson

Along with Goldie, acclaimed producer James Davidson is currently working on
the Subjective project.

Top Tip “The mix poses the biggest challenge – achieving a coherent mix
over a whole album, with so many styles [like Subjective’s], took a fair bit of work,
but as long as the songs have real feeling and emotion, then you know you’re on
the right path.”

Rudimental

Rudimental

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Rudimental have collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, amassing multi-platinum sales, plus Brit and MOBO Awards.

Top Tip “The top end is easy, to be honest; it’s the midrange that’s the hard part. Once we
get the vocals, snares and guitars sounding good, and we’ve got a good mix, the bass comes later, which might be opposite to the way a lot of people work, but I guess I come from my live-engineering background.”

Mark Rankin

Paul Epworth’s long-time engineer, Rankin captured Adele’s 30-million-plus selling voice for the album 21, and Florence Welch’s delivery for two Florence + The Machine albums.

Top Tip “Josh [Homme] is constantly tweaking lyrics, right up to the last moment. So it’s good to keep notes [throughout the mixing process], just in case. I keep notes of vocal chains and settings, so I can recall them. I write it down, or I draw a little picture of where the knobs are.”

Stefano Ritteri

Stefano Ritteri

Genre-hopping Stefano’s musical world combines production, sample-based experimentation and DJing, with two decades of music making and some of the biggest labels in underground dance music in his rear-view mirror.

Top Tip “Trying to understand is very important – I do that. I listen to a DJ Koze record and I wonder what he’s used to create a certain sound, or I’ll listen to a William Onyeabor record and wonder what type of Moog it is. That’s very much in our nature as producers. But I just have the feeling that a lot of younger producers are just ticking boxes. I do my best to encourage experimentation and show students weird stuff – just to show that there isn’t one way to do things, and that by trying out new ways, you can end up in a new place.”


Reader tips

1. You don’t need expensive gear or plug-ins to make great-sounding mixes. Be patient and learn to make a great mix with the gear you can afford.”  Ash Lamothe

2. Recognise when a track deserves more time and when you need to step away. Sometimes, you can push a little harder with a track when you think you’ve finished and it reveals something new and amazing.” – Boldizsar Sarkany

3. You need to listen to lots of music and pay attention to the details: how does the bass drum sound? Snare? How do they use effects on vocals? It’s important to know your frequencies.” – Alejandro Elizondo

4. I’ve learned to leave the studio and come back after a day, and start over with a clean slate. Just because you worked on it for hours the day before, it’s okay to throw it away sometimes and start over. It pays to be more selective when starting projects.”  Ron Ramos

5. Remember that making music is supposed to be fun and intuitive. Listen to intuition as often as you can.”  Tapetown Studio

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