Mixing is a tough gig. It requires patience, time, and a well-trained ear. Sometimes mixing can be difficult when there are too many sounds, and the mix becomes too busy. If your mix has clashing frequencies or harsh sounds, you have to clean it up before release. These are the three ways to tell if your mix is getting too busy, and how to fix it.
1. Less is More
The most common mistake in mixing is allowing too many unnecessary sounds. Creating a focused mix will lead to an original and clean sound. It’s totally fine to have multiple layers in a song, but you don’t want to go overboard. As they say, “kill your darlings.” You may really love that synth or underlying bass wobble you have going on, but maybe it’s better in a different song.
2. Check Multiple Stereo Interfaces
Your mix might sound great in your headphones, but you are delivering across all places where music is played. From the car, to the phone, to backyard speakers, give your music the test it needs to be heard in a variety of settings. The best way to do this is check laptop speakers, headphones, and car speakers. If the sound doesn’t sound good at high volume across the board, it might be time to eliminate some of the clutter.
3. Get Rid of the Mud
You hear this word a lot to describe mixes: muddy. Muddy is used to describe mixes that have too much going – the frequencies are fighting, things sound distorted, or it’s unclear what is supposed to stand out. You want your track to have the individual parts in focus and up front. Pack your sound in, but make sure each part has a purpose. If you have massive bass over light vocals during a chorus, your track will sound muddy. Cut out the frequencies that are imbalanced and work with clean samples. Tone back your mix so that nothing gets washed out or muffled.