Here’s a list of the 3 most common mix mistakes we saw during 2018, and some tips on how to avoid them!
- Phase problems. About half the albums we mastered in 2018 had phase issues, sometimes so severe that instruments completely disappeared while listening in mono, and other times the mix sounded completely different in mono due to volume differences… Tip: Occasionally switch between stereo and mono while mixing. Mix in mono for about 30 minutes, mix in stereo for maybe 30 minutes and change again … Always start your mix in mono!
- Truncation errors. Truncation distortion will appear when reducing bit depth without the use of dither. For some reason, I have had several projects where individual instruments in mixes have suffered from quantization distortion. Mostly it has been acoustically sampled instruments so it could be a sample player that lacks dither or maybe a popular sample collection that hasn’t been dithered correctly… Tip: Listen carefully to your sampled instruments, especially when they fade out (truncation distortion will be most obvious in the tail). If it sounds weird, try putting a dither plugin last in the chain on the affected channel and see if it sounds better. Airwindows has a free plugin called Ditherbox. https://www.airwindows.com/ditherbox-vst/
- Cut off fades. This is not a new phenomena, it’s been on the list for many years. When you render your mix, add about half a second of silence before the music starts and listen properly at the end and add as much time as needed to let all the cymbals and reverbs fade out to silence, add about another second or two just to be sure.
Happy mixing everyone!