Want your mixes to sound like the pros? Here’s the formula:
We’ve been doing this producer thing for a minute, so it takes a lot to impress us. But when we had Kyle Black (New Found Glory, Hit The Lights, Pierce The Veil) on Nail The Mix, he didn’t just impress us with the drum sounds he got on “Secrets” by State Champs, he blew us away. These are some seriously amazing drums!
There’s no black magic happening here, just a lot of meticulous attention to detail– we especially liked how he painstakingly dialed in the sustain on the snare top by tweaking the noise gate (skip to around 7:15 for this part). It’s little stuff like that that makes the difference between good and great. If you want to get your mixes sounding as good as your reference material, this is the kind of thing you need to be doing. And equally importantly, you need to be listening for things at this level of detail. How can you possibly know what mixing moves to make if you can’t even hear what you’re going for?
The larger lesson here is this: if you like the way the drums sound in a given mix, take the time to break down exactly WHY they sound amazing. Be as specific as possible. For example in this mix you might note that the snare has very aggressive attack with quick decay (no ringing) and that the kick fits in perfectly with the bass guitars, adding punch and attack without ever getting in the way. These are just two things, you could add many more but you get the idea.
List as many things as you can about what you’re hearing, then work tirelessly to achieve them in your own mix– never, ever give up and settle for “good enough” just because you can’t figure it out right off the bat!
If you’ve ever wondered what the “secrets” of the pros are, it has nothing to do with gear. It really just comes down to two things: attention to detail and high standards.
Nail The Mix is our online mixing school that gives you REAL multi-tracks from REAL bands, plus a mixing class from the producer who recorded it. Past guests include Periphery, Chelsea Grin, Gojira, Neck Deep, Machine Head and Chunk No Captain Chunk. Join now for instant access!