The best of 2010

Phew. That was a busy year! Just while I’ve got a few moments to pause and take a breath, I thought I might take a look at the top posts, comparing my favourites with yours.

Your favourites:

Five secrets to making your mix louder

This was an interesting one. I remember starting to write this as a joke – Everyone seems to be publicly denouncing the Loudness Wars, but secretly wanting to make their mixes louder than everyone else’s. So I thought some really good link bait would be some actual real tips to making louder mixes. I called them ‘secrets’ because most of the tips are actually the opposite to a lot of free advice being given out.

Sweetening your mix bus, and why you shouldn’t wait for mastering to do it

This was another interesting one. I haven’t seen much written about this – people seem to be either applying massive processing to their masters or on their mix bus (or both!). I wrote this in response to a change in my own personal workflow. I found a way to use compression and EQ on the mix bus without destroying a subtly-balanced mix, and without corrupting the purity of the actual mastering process. That ‘purity’ in the sense that I treat mastering primarily as a technical process, not a creative one.

Five ways to make space in your mix

No surprise here – just a nice neat collection of a few good concepts to keep in mind when mixing.

The secret to full-sounding mixes

Here’s another one-of-a-kind. Most of the advice I’ve seen about ‘full’ mixes are all about using multiband sidechained mid/side compression to get massive drums and subsonic bass (or so it seems). My advice is the opposite – the secret to full-sounding mixes is all about paying attention to the smallest sounds. You can’t fill a jar using large stone alone – you need to add smaller stones, sand and water too!

Four ways to use mid/side EQ

Some more good, simple advice. Often people talk about using mid/side EQ, but rarely do I see actual practical advice on what mid/side EQ can do for a mix.

My favourites:

The preproduction series

Ok, so it’s not a single post, but I couldn’t fit them all in otherwise! Seriously, preproduction is really important – no matter what kind of music you’re making. Unfortunately it’s all too easy to forget about putting the time and effort into preproduction when fun and exciting gear calls! Preproduction isn’t sexy, and I think it doesn’t attract much attention and discussion. It could also be because it doesn’t rely on gear, so gear manufacturers aren’t drawing attention to it in the same way they do to more gear-heavy activities such as mixing or playing live.

Don’t make better mixes. Make better music.

Cranky Kim came out here, and while the tone was a bit acerbic the message was true. There’s so many different aspects to making music, and so much discussion seems to be about just a small slice of it. It’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to it, and to think about some of the aspects that you might not have been paying much attention to lately.

Development and momentum

A lot of composers and producers need to improve here. Structure is much more than regular forms (intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-doublechorus-outro, or intro-beat-melody-breakdown-build-melody). It’s about the subtle balances of all the elements that make up the music and the structure. Two songs could have the same rough structure, but have very different feels and listener experiences. It’s not an easy topic to get your head around, and I’m trying to make it easier to understand – and more importantly, put into practice. In fact, email subscribers will be getting some more PDF guides this year focussing on structure…

How to get out of a rut and rediscover inspiration

Not much to say here – just a great collection of tips and advice to get back to work when everything seems to fall apart. My favourite is the first tip (“Don’t take a break”). Seriously, if you want to produce great work, you have to work. Taking a break is a great way to stop producing great work (or any work at all).

Your tools are not your competitive advantage

This one seems to have flown under the radar (no comments – really?). Maybe it’s because it was a bit too long, or because it wasn’t about which compressor makes the biggest kick drums. Maybe both. Seriously though, check it out if you haven’t already read it. Read it again. And then quit squabbling over who’s got the biggest subbass, or pretending that the reason you’re not successful is because you haven’t discovered the right limiter yet.

Thoughts:

Seems all your favourites are about practical advice for mixing. Seems all my favourites are about why there’s more to life than mixing. Notice anything? I’m trying to show you something. Hang around this year and we’ll both achieve amazing things.

-Kim.

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    • 3ee
    • January 6th, 2011

    Some very good posts, got to reread ’em all!
    Wishing you a great 2011!
    Thank You!
    :)

  1. @3ee
    Thanks, same to you!

    -Kim.

    • Dangerrat
    • January 9th, 2011

    Hehe, so true that secretly everyone wants to be the loudest. :-)
    Thanks for all those great articles from last year and I’m looking very much forward to what’s coming, especially interested in the guides you mention about structure. =p~
    All the best for 2011 from me, too.

  2. @Dangerrat
    Thanks Dangerrat! I’ve got some exciting stuff coming this year!

    -Kim.

  1. January 23rd, 2012
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