I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this before. Does anybody else “mix as you go?” when creating a song? Or do you do it in discrete stages? (Recording, then mixing.)
I just can’t help myself. I like the idea of doing it in stages, but I always end up mixing as I go. And then I get this idea that when I’m done I’ll bounce all the tracks and do a “proper mix,” but by that point I have the song basically where I want it and I’m like, “what’s the point of mixing it all over again.”
I guess to me, fx and tone are really important to the vibe of the song. I do a lot of music with a guitar as the main instrument, because that’s what I play, and I want the sound of it to be just right. Often before I even add other instruments. When I’m putting a song together, I feel like I need to hear basically how it’s going to sound in order to make arrangement decisions. So I’m always putting basic HP or LP EQs on things, putting my “this usually sounds good” EQ curve on my vocals. Putting delay and reverb on things, which often ends up being essential to the sound.
When I’m about done is when I’ll do more detailed EQing, to try and get some more distinction among instruments. I’ll do a little more automation, some bus compression, etc… Often revisit some decisions I made early on to see if they still make sense. But I don’t go back and start the mix over again. This often leaves my session rather a mess. What I will do sometimes is save a new version of the project and try to clean it up a little. Delete unused tracks and that kind of thing.
What do you guys think–is it worth starting a mix from scratch when the production is done? Or is it okay to mix as you go?