5 Mixing Mistakes That Are Easy To Fix (from Steven Slate)

5 Mixing Mistakes That Are Easy To Fix (from Steven Slate)


Here’s a video that Steven Slate just posted. Curious to see if you find it helpful or have anything to add.


Barely into this, but what the heck is he mixing on?? Like a 60 inch touch screen? Sorry, I was distracted. :slight_smile:

… and look at that circular mixing console! Wow! It looks like he should be in a Star Trek movie.

Shouldn’t he be wearing a white suit and gloves in that clean room?

Man, he’s intense too! I’m sorry, what was the question again? :grin:


Lol @miked

Yes this is helpful. Those 5 tips are part of the basic rules I know but I must admit I still forget to actually apply them regularly, especially referencing while mixing.

As for #5 I think it has to be tempered though. The vast majority of amateurs and even some beginner professionals don’t have the budget for a proper acoustic treatment. Also, I do believe it is possible to make great sounding mixes in a poor sounding room but it takes a LOT of trial and error and experience.


That’s a Z3 with two Mti 2’s on the wings. $25k-$30k


Here’s another one with 5 more essential mixing tips:


Mistake #6 - not having $100k plus to spend on all the things that you need to make a good mix (!)


Maybe he was a bit too emphatic about making the room “perfectly” tuned, but I totally agree with him on making one of the very first investments be sound treatment. A problem room will never sound good so it’s pretty hopeless to be able to know what one is hearing under such conditions. If you’re a handy type, you can make great progress for only a couple hundred US, and even if you’re totally incapable in that regard (like me!) you can still purchase great treatment for about a grand, give or take. @Paul999 made this point in our interview segment, that lots of people will think nothing of springing $1200 for another guitar, but won’t consider that same outlay for room treatment.

Yeah, you can get by with trial and error, but damn that’s going to be frustrating… not to mention time consuming! I sure don’t have enough time as it is to burn up a bunch of it needlessly.

The tip in this vid I have the most trouble accomplishing is #1: hearing what you’re after in your head before you start. I lack that kind of vision, I’m always sort of figuring it out as I go. Maybe it just takes a lot of experience to get to that point, but there’s got to be a piece of it that is native ability (that I clearly don’t have). And for those of us who are doing all the parts (tracking thru mixing & mastering), it’s kind of like the “mix as you go” conundrum that @Cristina is talking about in her recent thread. It’s very rare that I haven’t made a decision to really change the approach of a project partway through. Has happened almost every time!


Interesting video, but I would probably benefit more from a tutorial called “5 Tracking Mistakes That Are Easy To Fix” :grinning:


I just read a few articles on his bio, he really ran with his passion. I got in super late and he just seemed like a pushy salesman barking dog but dang, respect…Nirvanas Nevermind got him going…

the video I was waiting for R2D2 to walk in with some cola…or maybe coke…but in all that whiteness shouldnt he be wearing a storm trooper outfit?


I have the same problem.


So many reasons to totally rip that apart, but I will just deal with the most obvious (the drums) for now…

  1. Kick drum (inside). Yes its ugly, but thats because you didnt eq your overheads and rooms and tom/snare spillage to MAKE IT SOUND GOOD on its own without a sample. Go back and improve it in ALL your mic channels until it doesnt suck. You might be able to adjust its volume IN THE TRACK (song) a little, after that.

  2. Snare drum. Yes the snare top is tiny and thin… that would be ok if you didnt stick a REALLY loud FULL RANGE snare sample over it, because you couldnt fix the tone (in your vision) with all the other mics you already had on the kit.


Actually, the room can and will make it nearly impossible to make a mix that translates. You can’t just mix in any room. I had a very expensive lesson in that regard.



You can if you’re wearing the right cans. :wink:


I go through that a lot too, Dave, although to put it in a more succinct way, I hear this grandiose, thick, sweet magma of a production, and then the reality of what is really coming out of the speakers is a solid kick in the berries.
I have come to realize that for me to even come close to making it sound good, I need to be very painstaking in getting it right at the input. I’m not very good at fixing anything after the fact, so I have to balance the fun of spontaneity with the mediocre results I get unless I get the sound right on the way in. Being a one man band is difficult in that respect, in that you are always hearing the individual ingredients and never tasting the soup.


I could not agree more with this… I’m the same way, try my damndest to get a good primary capture. Love the analogy about ingredients and soup too! :+1:


It’s the only way to record IMO. There is not enough emphasis on this aspect of recording these days. It’s all too easy to let mediocrity slide on the basis that the technology will fix it at some later point.


To quote the great song by Andrew @ColdRoomStudio, “Everybody wants to be the celebrity chef, but nobody wants to do the dishes…” One of my all time favorite lyrics!


Love to know the brand of coffee he had?? ha ha The man can talk very fast. I did not hear the difference in the drums. I wanted to???


Yeah, he was channeling his inner Loudon Wainright III.
“I’m not afraid of flying, I’m just afraid of crashing, I’m not afraid of crashing I’m just afraid of dying”. Or something like that. Everyone wants to go to Heaven, nobody wants to die.


I’ve been meaning to ask you what kind of cans you use for mixing, and what are the main compensations you make? Your stuff always sounds great, and headphones are so much more convenient when you have a lousy room.