Mixing While Producing…Should You Do It?

Before jumping into whether mixing while producing is a good thing or a bad thing, please take a second and let me know which workflow you prefer.

Which Track Preference?

 

Many producers, myself included, love to mix as they produce.  The argument is that in EDM more than any other genre, mixing and producing are one in the same.

The way you EQ, compress, distort and process a sound can turn it into a completely different sound.  So mixing becomes part of the sound design and the lines between the two begin to blur.

In the end it’s a matter of personal choice.  Some producers like to separate the mixing phase from the sound design, arrangement and production phase, other producers mix as they go.  Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages and there is no right or wrong.

 

Mixing While Producing

“Mixing as you go” is a very popular workflow for producing electronic dance music and many other electronic music genres.  It’s where you add plugins like EQ, compression and distortion while you design your sounds and go through your arrangement.

Advantages:

  • Can save you time since you’ll have most of the mixing done by the time you finish the arrangement
  • Helps you sculpt and fit your sounds together quickly
  • Teaches you the effect of tools and plugins on your sounds

Disadvantages:

  • You can get stuck messing with plugins and settings instead of finishing your tracks
  • It may limit your creativity since you’re focusing on the technical rather than the creative
  • You may decide you want to change things later, so you’ll have to go back and change settings

 

Separating the Mixing Phase

Separating the mixing phase from the creative phase also has advantages and disadvantages.  For example, it’s a good idea to separate the mixing phase if you plan to send your track for someone else to mix and master.  It’s also a good idea of you want to improve your sound design skills and not be distracted by fiddling with plugins and settings.

Advantages:

  • Can help you focus on what you’re doing and keep your workflow organized
  • Does not limit your creativity to plugin settings
  • Forces you to improve your sound design and choose better sounds and samples

Disadvantages

  • Can end up taking more time to finish tracks
  • You won’t have a general idea of how the finished track will sound like
  • Adding plugins and processing later may undo/change your sound design

In the end, it really doesn’t matter which workflow you choose because they both get the job done.  Pick the one that helps you work faster and more importantly, finish more tracks.

Which workflow do you prefer?  Do you prefer mixing while producing or leaving the mixing phase until after you finish your sound design and arrangement? 

February 23, 2018

6 responses on "Mixing While Producing...Should You Do It?"

  1. The fact is that for example Ableton it’s a great DAW but not good in myopinion for mixing. So I use protools that works much better for mixing.
    That’s it!
    Mattia

    • Many producers use ableton live to mix and master their tracks. In the end they all pretty much do the same thing. I think what makes Live different is the workflow, which i really love. I could never deal with Protools haha

  2. What I normally do to be as effective as possible is mix while producing, BUT design & mix my 4/8 bar beat pattern first so my creativity & mixing are not clashing too much (only creative part at this stage is making the beat) & then I’ll jump into getting the right bassline (if needed), synth patches or creating ones that sound right using sampler in alchemy. Again I’m just adding to the 4/8 bar beat pattern. Creating a lead that may loop. Also I’ll create more background sounds with synths that adds more to the atmosphere & doesn’t necessarily sound right on its own. After all this that’s when I’ll will produce the whole song. I may still add the odd thing or mix a little but it’s kept to a minimum normally so it doesn’t disrupt my creativity. This is how I can be as effective as possible as I personally don’t think your getting the most out of mixing after. As you may realise you need to remove things or change the melody/beat pattern anyway once you’ve started mixing

    • Yeah I kind of follow a similar approach. I usually do mix while I’m sound designing and producing but it’s usually just very rough mixing and then I can come back later and make final changes. For me it saves a lot of time.

  3. As an amateur producer (in EDM) I prefer to mix as a separate process. Then master the whole thing.
    Normally I have to start by cleaning the samples, making loops really loop, adjusting (normalizing) levels, etc.
    Then I compose, placing the samples in the DAW grids and listen how it is going, just then I apply effects.
    Last I master and tune the final balance of tracks…Trying to make it all sound good.

    In fact, I believe proper training could help me a lot.

    Regards!!

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