In this article, we are looking at highly effective ways to mix music faster.
Whether you are mixing your music or someone else’s audio tracks, it is essential to get things done quickly without losing the quality and increasing the number of mix revisions.
Mixing music faster is highly achievable by only including a few things in your mixing process.
Let’s know about them one by one.
11 classified mixing tips to mix music faster!
Here are 11 tips to mix music faster and speed up the mixing process.
1) Get all requirements before Mixing
Communication about the mix and what the artist wants from their song is the first step to speed up the mixing process. This step becomes crucial if you have started working with a new artist.
Even if it may seem obvious but do not shy away from communicating with the artist or producer, doing so helps you to know the style and voice of the artist.
Get to know the artist well and squeeze every minute detail about the final product.
For this, you can meet up with the songwriters or arrange some video calls. Remember to take notes, as one can easily forget these interactions.
2) Reference Tracks
A Reference track guides the mixing engineer throughout the mixing process to the finished song. It is what the artist needs their song to sound like.
One thing to note here is that you don’t need to make the songs sound the same. In the first place, it is pretty impossible to do so.
Mixing with reference tracks helps make a mix sonically similar to the reference track. In simple words, if you, as a mix engineer, work with all types of genres, taking the help of a reference track is a must.
Often, an artist will send you one or two reference tracks.
However, don’t hesitate to ask for reference tracks if you are not sent one.
3) Prepare for professional Mixing
It is good if the producer or the artist has taken care of basic mixing, gain staging, clipping, arrangement, and color coding the audio tracks for mixing purposes.
Else, start with the necessary preparations for a mixing session.
In summary, preparing audio tracks for professional mixing includes but is not limited to:
- renaming tracks,
- colour coding the audio tracks,
- basic mixing and arrangement,
- Gain staging to avoid audio clipping,
- Buss processing and creating audio folders.
Preparing a track using the techniques mentioned in my previous articles will naturally put you in a great mental space before starting the music mixing.
Let alone this process will let audio professionals mix music faster with lesser revisions.
4) Focus on key aspects of the Mix
It is easy to get swung away by the mystery of mixing songs of various genres. I have done it many times and have been found doing so repeatedly.
Be self-aware and retrospective about where you are going with the process. Don’t dwell too much into audio tracks that will not do much to a song. Instead focus on the key aspects.
Ask yourself the following questions might help:
- What is the critical part of this mix?
- Am I focussing on the right approach related to this song?
- What is the thing that the artist wants to shine in the song?
- Does the artist wish to include this style?
Moreover, ask the artist beforehand to explain the core pillars of the song.
5) Check the music mix across systems
Make sure to plug and play the mix across multiple systems to mix music faster and double your mixing speed.
I recommend switching between the mixing session to different audio systems. Try to translate the mix on multiple audio speakers.
Take your mix to the car stereo system once you are satisfied with the music mix on studio headphones and monitors. Another great small testing audio speaker can be that of a mobile phone.
Remember that one of the tricks to mix music faster is to check it on different systems.
Invest in a good pair of studio monitors and headphones. Here are some articles to help you out.
Related: Best studio monitors for mixing!
Related: Best studio headphones for mixing!
6) Take Breaks away from Studio
Okay! So you have spent hours on getting the mix right.
Great work, soldier! Time to treat yourself.
I recommend taking a break at this stage when you are somewhat comfortable with how the mix sits.
Taking breaks is a great way to refresh and retune your ears. Spending more and more time in a mixing session will downgrade the quality, if not better.
Once you are back after taking a break, check the elements that poke out of the mix. Don’t forget to listen the mix at least a couple of times.
7) Know when to Stop Mixing
For a long time in my life as a mixing engineer, I have not known when to stop mixing music. Even now, I am sometimes confused if my mix is finished or needs a little tweaking.
Therefore, knowing when to stop mixing is an extremely important to mixing music faster.
Furthermore, over-mixing can harm the song and your mixing speed. Therefore, make a habit of putting deadlines and getting advice from multiple people, including the artist, on your mix numerous times.
There is a fine line between perfectly mixed and over-mixed.
Know when the mix is finished and when it is harming the song.
8) Don’t over-use Solo button
Another thing that will slow down the mixing speed is analysing all the audio tracks in Solo Mode.
Mixing each track while soloing them will take a lot of time to mix any song. Furthermore, this mixing style is not recommended because it simply sucks the life out of a mix.
Just as you don’t high pass or low pass every track in your mix, you do not need to mix every track in solo mode.
All in all, stop hitting the solo button and EQ-ing out every little frequency that tries to make some noise. These frequencies may improve the mix quality as a whole.
9) Listen to mix as whole
This section goes in sync with the previous section. Once you have reduced overhitting the solo button, listen to the mix as a whole.
This way, you’ll learn the real deal about mixing tracks faster. Mixing is about fitting pieces together rather than making individual sections sound better. The focus is to make things great when they are played together as a song.
You’ll get to know where the reverb is too much, and the delay is not kicking in, the drums are weak, how the vocals sit together, and so much more about the song mix.
10) Stop wasting time on Plugin Selection
Another thing that can hinder your mixing speed is finding the perfect plugin. Each of us has plugin fantasies and to try new plugins in our music mixes. It is something we mixing engineers are excited about.
But controlling the urge to try new plugins on an ongoing mixing project is a sure shot to increase your mixing speed.
Stick with two or three plugins at most when it comes to mixing songs. Also, ensure you are aware of the plugins at a deep level. This will help to avoid experimenting with the plugin in the mixing stage.
Leave plugin selection and experimenting for times when you are not working on any project.
Spend your creative energy carefully, as it is limited.
A possible solution is to use new plugins in your free time when you are not involved in any project. Pull up a random project and try these new plugins.
As you find better replacements for existing plugins, update your plugin stash with time.
11) Gain stage the Mix
Gain staging is an essential part of the mixing process and one of the many ways to speed up mixing music.
This method ensures enough headroom to avoid clipping on individual tracks and master fader. In turn, it is a great way to leave enough headroom space for the master engineer.
12) DAW shortcuts
Want faster mixing speeds?
Try remembering and actively using the shortcuts that your DAW offers. I love how you can reduce wasting time using this simple technique.
Pick a piece of paper and write all the shortcuts for commands that you regularly use over it.
Don’t forget that remembering DAW shortcuts is a time-consuming process. It is learnt over time as you implement more shortcuts in your mixing sessions.
However, multiple keyboard mats and covers have all the DAW shortcuts written over them. I highly recommend checking them out.
13) Mix multiple projects at once
Last but not least, this technique is famous among advanced mixing engineers to squeeze maximum productivity from their time in the studio.
This technique will help those mixing engineers struggling with time management and having different commitments to complete.
For a newbie mixing engineer, I recommend keeping this technique in mind, for once you become a better mixing artist, this is one of the best ways to work with multiple projects and complete your music mixes faster.
These were some techniques I have used professional mixing engineers use to mix music faster. I am sure these tips are enough to speed up the mixing process and make faster mixes.
However, if this article misses any, add your favourite tips in the comments section below.