Emotion and mixing

Hi Alan,

What is your approach when it comes to enhancing the emotion of a song?

What do you listen out for?

Any techniques you could share?

Does it change from genre to genre?


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Hi Erik,
Sorry this took so long.
Great question. In film music and game world I try to understand what the emotion the composer and director is trying to get across. Then I lean into that. If it’s a dialog moment I make sure to mix in a way that keeps the dialog clear and helps tell a story.
There’s no one technique for this. I just let my experience and, quite often, my mood take me there.
I would say my personal mood in the moment has a big impact. Sometimes I mix dark and sometimes light or happy! I think it often comes across in the mixes.
Same in the record world. I listen to see what the song is trying to say and help that come across.
In modern pop the lead Vocal is so loud. I like it but at times I find it a bit much. I don’t mix much pop. Maybe that’s why!!!


Hey Alan!

How do you know when you are finished mixing? I feel it can be a never ending revolving door of adding plugins and tweaking. Is there ever a moment you feel it’s “done” and you can sit back and allow a mix to be what it is?

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That is a great question! My first rule for myself is to, whenever possible, I mix until I think I’m there and then move on to something else. I come back to it the next day to fine tune and make sure it’s not shit. I #1 advantage of modern its mixing.
Having said that, I’m not sure if I’ve ever “finished” a mix. A question for my therapist!!


Hi Alan,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.
It seems that the common denominator - when I asked other Masters - is Listening and developing a relationship with the piece before making whatever technical decision suits the work best.

It is very interesting that you mention the mood as a factor that influences your decisions. Might sound obvious once you say it but it is not something you hear mentioned very often.

Do you feel it affects your choices of Eq, Dynamics and etc?

Thank you for doing this Q&A.
I have learned a lot watching your videos on this platform and it is a pleasure to be able to talk to you here.