Common issues with mixes you receive for mastering

Hi Randy! Wondering what are some of the biggest issues you encounter with mixes that don’t come from the top-level mixing engineers that you often work with? ie. independent artists/producers/mixers, home studios etc. Feedback from Mastering Engineers has greatly improved my mixing over the years, I would greatly appreciate any wisdom you could impart on some things we can look out for/avoid/improve upon before sending our mixes out for mastering. Thank you!

Hi Kevin,

One thing I’ve noticed is the heavy reliance on the bus limiter to pull the mix together rather than controlling the dynamics of the various elements of the mix. I’m guessing it’s a time saving method for the mixer, but it doesn’t help when it comes to mastering as the ME has to chase the approved mix, trying to recreate it before being able to do anything corrective or creative. My advice is to either not rely heavily on the bus limiter, or if you need to, send the ME a version with the limiting in place but with the gain backed off enough to give room, but not so much that the mix changes. Some mixers send me their settings so I can replicate it more closely and use it as a starting point from which I’ll tweak. Otherwise I’m guessing. Also, committing to all other processing on the stereo bus is important as it’s what has been approved and is now part of the mix. There’s plenty of contrary opinions about this, but my advice is to commit to it, whether it be EQ, compression, saturation, imaging, etc. Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Randy

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