There’s more potential for your raw recorded tracks than you think.
In fact, it’s highly likely that you have a killer final mix hiding inside what you think is an average recording. And the best part about?
It won’t cost you a penny to unlock it.
Via Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier Flickr
A Stellar Mix Hidden For 28 Years
Let me share a little story with you from one of my students, John A.
John reached out to me after going through my popular REthink Mixing course to share his results. And he was ecstatic.
You see, 28 years ago John had recorded a song on an old Fostex 4-Track machine. Anybody remember those things?? That’s how I got my start!
Over the years he had tried to mix those raw tracks on multiple platforms, all to no avail. He never got the sound he really wanted.
The Key To Unlock His Mix
Frustrated he began to turn to buying more plugins for his DAW, thinking that money spent on “better” gear would help him get the sonic results he wanted. We’ve all been there, and guess what – it never works.
So his last ditch effort to was to invest in some training from me.
He seemed a bit skeptical at first – until that is he put into practice probably the most powerful mix technique I could share: he began to mix in mono.
I’ll let him explain his results in his own words:
I’ve completed the first three videos of the series – there are no vocals on it yet, and I want you to know that this song, first recorded 28 years ago on a Fostex 4-track, sounds better IN MONO than anything I’ve ever done with it on my own.
This may sound over the top, but the first time I flipped it over to stereo I got goose bumps. The fact that this mix was hiding in this recording absolutely amazes me! – John A. (REthink Mixing Student)
Now THAT’S what I call a revolution.
Why Mono Is So Powerful
It’s mind boggling how something so simple can be so powerful when put into practice.
Mixing in mono (for the majority of your mix) will revolutionize the way your mixes turn out for two very simple, but profound reasons.
First of all you no longer are fooled by “fake” separation, which we call stereo.
If you pull up the raw tracks and it’s hard to hear all the guitar and synth parts, the simple solution is to pan them out. You can instantly hear some separation. The only problem is, you’ve not dealt with the real problems in your mix: balance, dynamics, and EQ.
Mixing in mono forces you to get the volume balance, the compression, and the frequency masking issues all set. It’s a lovely little hack.
The second reason why mixing in mono is so brilliantly powerful is that it virtually guarantees your mix will translate better on multiple systems.
Why is this true? For the same reasons we’ve already mentioned.
Mono forces you to make the right balance, EQ, and compression moves giving you a more cohesive and clear mix that works whether or not the listener is in a “sweet spot”.
And the reality is, most people will not hear your mix in a sweet spot.
Realistically they will be in their car, or in their house a few meters away from the stereo, thereby giving you a collapsed stereo image (i.e. mono).
A mix done in mono will hold up no matter where the listener is in regards to the speaker precisely because the proper tonal balances are in place and masking is removed.
Have You Unlocked The Killer Mix Inside Your Tracks?
Maybe this is your first time hearing about mixing in mono.
Or maybe you’ve heard me harp on it for years. Either way, you’ve now been informed. You are no longer in the dark.
So the question remains: what are you going to do with this information? Are you going to dismiss it as silly and archaic? Or will you harness it to unlock the killer mixes hiding inside of your raw recordings?
You have nothing to lose by trying. And it doesn’t cost you a single penny.
If John could find greatness locked away in a 28 year old recording, simply by mixing in mono, what can YOU discover in your most recent project?