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Before we can talk about how to make a great mix, it's good to be aware of signs of one that isn't that great. In this video I'm going to show you some mixing characteristics to avoid to keep your mix from becoming amateur-sounding. First of all, avoid a mix that has no contrast. That means the same ambient texture-- as in the same reverb--is used on every instrument at the same level throughout the entire song. Avoid a mix that has no focal point. That's a mix where there are holes where nothing is brought forward to hold the listener's attention. Avoid a mix that's noisy. Clicks, hums, extraneous noises, count-offs, and sometimes lip-smacks and breaths are all signs of an amateur mix.
Avoid a mix that lacks clarity and punch. That's a mix where the instruments aren't distinct and the low end is either too weak or too big. Avoid a mix that sounds distant. The mix sounds distant because too much reverb or other effects have been used. Avoid a mix where the element levels are inconsistent. That's a mix where the instrument levels vary from balanced, to soft, to loud, and certain lyrics can't be distinguished. Avoid a mix where the sounds are dull and uninteresting; that means generic, dated, or often-heard sounds are used. There is a difference between using something because it's hip and new and using it because everyone else is using it.
So those are some of the things that make an amateur-sounding mix.
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