How I know when a mix is finished

“A mix is never finished, only abandoned”

I’ve seen this saying come up many times on my journey through the internet the last few years.

This saying is one that, personally, I do NOT agree with.

I come to a point in nearly every mix I work on, where I KNOW it is finished. Thats not to say the mix couldn’t possibly be changed or improved, but in my opinion, it has gotten to a point where the mix meets my expectations, i’m proud of and EXCITED about the work i’ve done on it, and feel it is ready for the artist or producer to hear and weigh in on.

How do I know when I’ve finished a mix?

My test is pretty simple.

When I start enjoying the song (and the mix), but run out of things to critique, it’s done.  Sometimes that means I do a listen on my headphones and can’t help but jump or dance around to the music because I like the song so much. Other times it’s when I get so into the song and lyrics, I forget to listen to the part of the mix that i meant to listen to on that playback pass.

If i find myself constantly being distracted by the song, and not “the mix”, then its finished.

So thats my secret.

Once I get the mix to a point where I can enjoy the song, without constantly soloing things or trying to fix problems that I hear, its likely done. After I get to this point, i’ll take a listen to it in multiple places outside the studio, likely will hear a few issues that need correcting (often things like low end or lower mid range issues, vocal sibilance, or the overall energy of a section not feeling right). Once that round of listening is done, the mix is ready to be sent out to the artist or producer.

Generally i’ll get a few comments back, address those, and then we will have a final mix! Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 rounds of this back and forth before everyone is happy, but it’s all part of the process.

It can be really hard to maintain objectivity when mixing, especially as the producer, and even more so when you are also the artist. I have met some VERY talented individuals who have a very specific vision for their music, and are able to achieve it without much outside assistance. For the rest of us however, i’m hoping this post serves as a reminder of the importance of having a team and working with other creative professionals.

 

Does anyone else have another way when they know a mix is finished? Lets chat about it!

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Email: Josh@bowmansound.com

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