Excerpts from the Recording Revolution blog . Makes a lot of sense to me .

Embracing The Magic Of The Deadline

It’s funny how as creatives, musicians tend to hate the idea of putting a time limit on their work.

The concept of setting a deadline to write, record, or mix a song (or album) seems off putting and somewhat foolish. Won’t that simply make me rush through my creative process and deliver subpar work?

Not in the slightest.

In the fact the opposite is true if you DON’T set a deadline.

If you keep all your studio sessions or project goals open ended on the time frame, the chances are much higher that you will NEVER get around to actually finishing things. Especially if you don’t make music as your full time gig.

The deadline makes you accountable. Even if you don’t actually meet your deadline, you’ll likely finish not to far off, which is still an effective way to work.

Excerpts from the Recording Revolution blog . Makes a lot of sense to me .

The Problem With Awesome 3rd Party Plugins

I’m a fan of plugins as much as anyone.

From all the pressure I felt in college to jump on the cracked plugins bandwagon to actually doing the honest thing and shelling out tons of money for the latest and greatest plug – I’ve been bit by the plugin bug.

And for good reason – there are so many awesome sounding plugins out there.

From the Waves SSL bundle to all the voodoo drenched analog sounding plugins from my buddy Steven Slate I love and use many of the great tools available to us today.

But there’s a very real problem and danger that comes with using 3rd party plugins: they shift your attention away from the real reason why your mix sucks.

Your Mix Sounds Bad And No Plugin Can Fix That

You see – the only reason why you and I reach for 3rd party plugins is because our mixes don’t sound as good as we’d like and so we’re hoping another plugin will help.

The truth is, if your mix sounds bad – it’s because you just haven’t mixed it well. No plugin can help you there.

And deep down inside we both know that’s true.

That’s why I spend so much time teaching and training people to improve themselves and work on their craft, rather than simply buy more stuff.

So back to the problem with 3rd party plugins – they divert your energy attention away from the real issue (doing a better job mixing) and instead keep you searching for the quick fix.

The Secret Hack Of Using Stock Plugins

What if one day you said to yourself “Today I’m only going to use stock plugins on this mix,”and you said “no” to any of your favorite 3rd party plugins?

A very subtle but powerful shift would happen.

Without the lure of reaching for another plugin to “fix” your subpar mix, you’d be forced to really focus on what the real issues are with the tracks in front of you and identify what is needed to take them to the next level.

Since 80% or more of your mix comes from your EQ and compression decisions, you’d be forced to simply grab your available stock EQ and stock compressor (or channel strip) and get to work.

Instead of thinking about which plugin will sound better on a lead vocal, you’ll be thinking about frequencies and attack and release times – things that make a much bigger difference.

It’s a hack you see. When you remove the possibility of grabbing a different plugin, you free up brain power and attention to apply to the actual plugin settings you will use to enhance your tracks.

And that’s really where the mix comes together. The subtle, intentional chipping away of the marble to reveal a beautiful piece of art.

Try It On At Least One Mix

If this sounds like lunacy to you, I want to challenge you: try to use stock plugins exclusively for at least one mix.

Pick one song, maybe even a song you’ve already mixed before, wipe the session clean and mix it from the ground up with only what’s included in your DAW. No exceptions.

Not even other free plugins. Just what comes standard with your software.

I just did this last week actually – and the results are fascinating. I’m getting a more musical and balanced mix this time around.

Is it because my stock plugins sound better than all my fancy 3rd party ones? No. It’s because I’m more focused on the tracks themselves than I am the tools.

So try it yourself and see what happens. If you don’t like the results, you can always go back to your beloved plugins. I won’t judge you.

 

Check out " The Recording Revolution " for some practical tips on improving your mix

Remember, EQ Is Only Good For Two Things

Mixing can be overwhelming. And it’s easy to overdo it with things like EQ.

But if you stop for a moment before you insert your next EQ and remember this, you can’t go wrong. EQ is really only good for two things: cleaning up the bad and enhancing the good.

It’s a cut or a boost. That’s it.

Both subtractive and additive EQ moves have their place, just be sure you are intentional about them and your mixes will be better for it.

Let me ask you – do you feel confident when you EQ? Do you feel like you know what you are trying to do? If not, does following these two simple steps seem like a helpful plan for you?