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I never meant to get good at mixing. Heck, I didn’t even know what mixing was. Back in high school I wrote eight cute little songs and recorded them. I knew nothing about mixing, EQ, compression, and effects. All I knew was my little system had an echo effect, and I put that sucker on everything.
The final mixes were somehow both muddy AND harsh. They weren’t nearly as loud as anything else I listened to, but I sold a bunch of copies to those sweet folks in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
Fast forward a few decades, and things have changed. I’m still writing and releasing music (over 50 songs on Spotify/Apple Music, just search for Joe Gilder), but now my music sounds like the stuff I hear on the radio. In fact, in 2016 I managed to get one of my songs on the local independent radio station here in Nashville.
Anyway, I don’t write all this to brag. I write it because if a kid from a small town in Mississippi can release great-sounding music from a home recording studio, SO CAN YOU.
Maybe you’ve got great songs. Maybe you’ve got a knack for recording and producing, but your mixing skills aren’t quite there yet. You need some help.
Hey, my name’s Joe Gilder, the guy who’s been running Home Studio Corner since 2009. I want to help you get better mixes. (And I can, I guarantee it.)
You Don’t Need a Bunch of Extra “Stuff”
It’s natural to assume that you need to shell out some serious cash to buy all the hardware and software you need to produce pro-level mixes.
The truth, of course, is this:
You can get great mixes RIGHT NOW using the equipment you already own.
How do I know? Because I’ve mixed hundreds of songs using the simple stock plugins that come with my software. Songs like this:
Like what you hear? Keep reading, because I want to share my simple system with you.
But first, a few questions...
Can anyone learn how to mix?
Absolutely. Just like learning to ride a bike, kick a soccer ball, or play guitar, it may come more naturally to some people over others. The variable in whether you become great isn’t your DNA or even your upbringing. It all boils down to your ability to LEARN and PRACTICE.
But you need both. All learning and no practice makes you like that guy who could tell you everything there is to know about the guitar but can’t play a single note. On the flip-side, all practice and no learning means that same guy might spend all day practicing a chord that doesn’t exist. (It’s a stupid example, but you get my point.) You need to make sure you’re practicing the RIGHT stuff. Learn from someone who has gone before you, THEN practice what they teach you.
Without both sides of the coin, you’re doomed to either a head full of useless knowledge or countless hours spent chasing your tail trying to get a good mix.
While I would LOVE to be the one to teach you, even more than that I want you to find SOMEONE who can mentor you, even virtually. YouTube is great, but if you keep reading you’ll see why I have a solution that’s a better alternative.
"Are you going to teach me exactly what settings to use when I mix vocals?"
Nope. I’ll do something even better.
Let me ask you a question. If you suddenly got very sick and had to choose between two doctors, who would you want? The one who memorized all the treatment plans for all the diseases? Or would you want the one who truly understands the inner workings of the body, disease, and how to fight it? Of course, you’d want the second one.
If I were to give you exact settings to use on a vocal track, for example, that would be completely useless. No, instead of handing you a list of settings to memorize, I’m going to give you the keys to the kingdom. What do I mean? I’m going to show you how to THINK about mixing, how to APPROACH your mixes in a way that yields better results with less tweaking, and how to develop a PROCESS that virtually guarantees great results every time?
Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.
It’s how I’m able to mix a song in just a few hours and get results I’m proud of. And you can do it too.
How long should it take me to mix a song?
Some people mix songs in 1-3 hours. Some people take days. There’s no “proven” time period. What I can tell you is that developing a more efficient process will allow you to finish mixes much faster than you normally do.
Why is that good? Because the more mixes you finish, the better you will get. Finish mixes in 4 hours instead of 8, and you’ll be able to mix TWICE as many songs over the same time period. That means you’ve just fast-tracked your timeline, shortened the distance between where you are now and where you want to be.
The key is SIMPLICITY.
Sometimes you need crazy complex solutions in a mix.
More often than not, Dr. Occam wins.
Occam’s Razor states that the simplest solution to a problem is usually the best solution.
There are a lot of people who want you to think mixing is super complicated, that you can’t possibly do it on your own, that you need to hire a pro or buy a huge plugin bundle or upgrade to $10,000 gold-encrusted studio monitors powered by a tiny nuclear reactor.
But the truth is you’re probably OVER-mixing your songs. Doing too much. If you can find a way to restrain yourself, you’ll find that your mixes instantly improve.
Go try it.
Seriously, bookmark this page, go to your studio and pull up a mix you’ve been working on. Count how many plugins you’ve used. Now cut that number in half and try to mix the song using ONLY that number of plugins or less. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you get back.
It changes a lot, doesn’t it? It changes how you approach the mix, how you think about it, AND the mix sounds better. Why? Because you’ve managed to avoid over-mixing the song.
Was that your experience? If so, keep reading.
Even the Professionals Struggle!
We home studio folks aren’t the only ones susceptible to the dreaded tendency to over-mix.
Famous engineer Bruce Swedien wrote this about mixing Michael Jackson’s album Thriller:
“I did 91 mixes of 'Billie Jean', and finally Quincy [Jones] said 'Let's go back and listen to mix number two.' And we did, and it blew us all away! I had overmixed that song right into the pooper, so the mix that went onto the record was mix number two.” (Source: Sound on Sound, Nov 2009)
Perhaps they needed to go through all 91 mixes to realize that #2 was the best one. But I bet Bruce was much less likely to go overmix the next song after all the time they spent (i.e. “wasted”) on those unused mixes.
Don’t think you’re immune to it. Bruce pointed out that mixing is about making gut decisions, and oftentimes those initial gut decisions are the right ones for the mix, but it’s hard not to keep doing more and more.
Just like sometimes a good song only needs a piano and a vocal track, you’ve got to learn when to leave the mix alone.
So it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to mix a song. What matters is that you know when you’re mixing and when you’re OVER-mixing.
How do I know when the mix is finished?
You’ve probably heard cute little saying like:
“Mixes aren’t finished; they’re only abandoned.”
“The mix is finished when the deadline arrives.”
While there’s certainly some truth to the idea that there’s always SOMETHING we could tweak in a mix, we’ve already seen the dangers of over-mixing. That means we need to develop the ability to call a mix “done,” even when there may still be some imperfections present. (Sometimes the imperfections are the best part, by the way.)
So how do you know when the mix is finished? You need a system. While “winging it” can be fun, and it feels more creative, I’ve had far more success using a very specific system to help me determine exactly when the mix is finished. It means backing myself into a corner, giving myself a specific set of rules to follow, but it works.
If you have trouble finishing mixes or identifying when the mix is CLOSE to finished or when it actually IS finished, you could skip straight to Video #5 inside Understanding Mixing and cure that problem almost immediately.
You Need a SYSTEM
I know, I know. You’re a creative person. You don’t like to be boxed in. You don’t need a system, you’ll just “feel” your way through the mix.
But the truth is you DO like boundaries and systems. You need them. We all do.
Every time you perform a song as a musician, you are agreeing to confine yourself to a system, a fairly strict, rigid system as a matter of fact. You must follow the tempo. You must follow the chord changes. You must exclude most of the notes on your instrument and play only the ones that fit the key of the song. You must balance yourself with the other musicians. You must adhere to the song structure and arrangement. You get the picture.
We NEED boundaries in order to do our best work. That’s why over-mixing is so insidious. It gives the illusion that you are “making progress,” when in actuality you’re running in circles, chasing your tail. You need a system that pushes you through the process of mixing a song and demands that you finish.
It’s the only way you can say you make music — by finishing it.
It’s the only way you improve your skills and get better — by making and finishing music.
We inherently know this is true when it comes to learning to play guitar. It takes practice. But we assume we’ll be able to get pro results on our very first mix. It’s not reasonable.
And mixing is far more complicated than playing guitar. There are thousands of decisions to make. You need a system that helps you identify the right decisions to make, make those decisions, and move on through the mix until the mix is finished.
That’s what Understanding Mixing is. It’s my system that I’ve developed over many years and hundreds of mixes. It provides the framework you need to keep you on track, while also giving you the flexibility to be creative and artistic.
When you buy Understanding Mixing today, you’ll unlock instant access to an archive of resources designed to improve your mixes by this weekend.
Here’s some of the stuff you’ll find inside:
...and a whole lot more.
The Whole Thing is GUARANTEED
It’s really simple. If you don’t get better mixes as a direct result of taking this course, you have up to ONE YEAR to ask for a full refund.
Why would I do this? Because I’m more interested in helping people than making a sale. Yes, I would love for you to plop down your hard-earned cash to buy my course. But if my course doesn’t help you, it wasn’t worth the money, and I don’t want to keep it. But really, I’m just that convinced that Understanding Mixing will help you, and I want to make it as big of a no-brainer, risk-free decision as I can.
Understanding Mixing is an in-depth, step-by-step, hands-on guide through the entire mixing process.
What You Get With Understanding Mixing:
5-Step Mixing Process Explained
These are the newest additions to the course. In these videos, I will take you through my mixing process, helping you lay a solid foundation on how to THINK ABOUT and APPROACH mixing, a foundation that will lead to dozens, even hundreds of great mixes in your future. THIS is the system I wrote about earlier. This is the CORE of the course.
50 Walk-Thru Tutorial Videos
Included with Understanding Mixing is a collection of 50 videos that could very well transform your mixes forever. They give you a step-by-step approach to mixing. I walk you through every decision, every mistake, every wrong turn, every exciting discovery. I reveal my process for approaching the mix, and how I determine when I'm finished.
In addition to these, I’ve included some bonus multi-tracks and videos to give you even MORE training and practice.
The Mixing Playbook
The first thing you’ll want to do, before you dive into the videos, is read The Mixing Playbook. It’s an eBook I wrote specifically for Understanding Mixing customers, where you’ll learn stuff like:
This is NOT a "Scripted" Program!
As much as I would like to create a mixing tutorial video series where every mixing move I make is the perfect move, that’s not reality. (And it’s not helpful for you, either.)
Instead, I shot these videos in a raw, over-the-shoulder format. You will learn as much from my mistakes (and how I recover from them) as you will from all the good stuff I do in the mix.
Mixing isn’t a clean, linear process. It involves experimentation. It involves trying things that don’t work. It involves going back and tweaking something you worked on earlier to make it fit in the mix better.
THIS is what you get with Understanding Mixing. You’re not getting a polished presentation that doesn't really help you at all.
You’re getting REAL, behind-the-scenes training that shows exactly how I go about mixing a song in my home studio.
What are people saying?
“I will say I believe Understanding Mixing Is your best tutorial product to date. So many tutorials out there are rehearsed and in solo. You dare to make a tutorial on the fly, forever in mono, and in context of the mix?? Brilliant. So ridiculously helpful.”
Nadeem Merchant, Tampa
"I'm currently going through Understanding Mixing again, using it on a different song but still applying the principles. I think that course, so far, is your crowning achievement, so good, and I've really come to like your unrehearsed style and it IS very much like sitting with you at your studio.
Johnny Fuller, Illinois
"I've been following along with your Understanding Mixing tutorial by applying each video's techniques, one by one, to my first 4-track EP I've just started mixing…I just felt compelled to say thank you because I can't wipe the smirk off of my face after hearing how much better my multitrack drums are sounding right now...Keep up the awesome work!"
Faris Monshi, California
Ready to dive in?
You are just a few short moments away from diving into the Understanding Mixing course. All you have to do is follow these steps:
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this page. I hope you’ll place your order today. You could be cranking out incredible mixes by the weekend. But even if you decide it’s not right for you, I appreciate your time.
Home Studio Corner
3 WAYS TO GET
If you're ready to jump into Understanding Mixing, I've put together three different ways to get it.
Option #1: Understanding Mixing ($47)
This option gives you lifetime access to the course AND any additional updates I may add in the future. You will never pay for anything Understanding Mixing-related ever again. Free updates for life.
Option #2: VIP Gold Membership ($45/month)
This one seems surprising at first, until you understand what's included. I've create 21 courses over the years. If you were to purchase every one of them individually, you'd spend over $1,500. With the VIP Gold membership, you get immediate access to all 21 courses as soon as you join. Cancel any time. It's an INSANE deal. Included courses: Understanding EQ, Understanding Compression, Production Club, Understanding Production, Recording Acoustic Guitar, Recording Electric Guitar, Recording Killer Vocals, Guitar/Vocal Production, and much, much more. This is by far the best value you can find, and it's infinitely cheaper than recording school. Come join the VIP Gold Membership and get instant access to the following
Option #3 - Deluxe Mixing Bundle ($147)
If you want a sampling of some of my best courses, the Deluxe Mixing Bundle will serve you well. You'll get:
TAKE YOUR PICK!
Lifetime access to Understanding Mixing, including all future updates.
VIP Gold Membership
Includes ALL 21 Home Studio Corner Training Courses
Monthly Challenges & Prizes
Deluxe Mixing Bundle
Mixing & Mastering Fighter EP
DUDE!!! The Gold membership is out of this world! Are you serious brother?!?!?! The content is 1st class and well worth the investment! I will be using the information to increase my business! Big ole thanks to ya!
Steve S. from Waverly, WV
"You've improved my life dramatically."
Joey R. from Bend, OR
"Thanks to your inspiration and tutelage, I have completed more projects this year than in the last 5."
Bill S. from Souderton, PA
"Thanks to your content ... I’ve been able to record, mix and produce my first single that I am releasing on Friday worldwide. If I hadn’t found your content a year ago then I don’t think I would have ever made it this far on my own, so thank you."
Matt C. from Chesterfield, UK
"I'm blown away and inspired by your generosity. The membership is excellent, and you go above and beyond to make sure we get quality training and feedback."
Chris D. from Austin, TX
"I get it ... something has shifted ... it's not as scary anymore, because I've made it familiar though exercises like these. Each time I sit down to work, it's less uncomfortable, and I know more of what I'm doing so I can concentrate on the fun of it. I can't wait for next one!"
Joe V. from San Antonio, TX
The Most Ridiculous Guarantee Ever
This is stupid simple. If your mixes don't dramatically improve as a result of applying what you learn in this course, I'll give you your money back.
You have up to one year to request a refund. Just shoot me an email.
Easy 'peasy, right? (And we can still be friends.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to own Pro Tools?
Nope! I actually don't use Pro Tools anymore. These videos were done using Presonus Studio One, but the great part about all my training programs is that they aren't software-dependent. I focus 100% of my attention on teaching concepts. These concepts can be directly applied to whatever software you use.
Will I have instant access to the material?
Yes! As soon as you place your order, our system will send you an email with your login information. You can immediately log into the HSC Customer Center and start watching Video #1! (And if you're an existing customer, all you have to do is log in, and the new material will magically appear under "My Products.")
What if you come out with a new version of Understanding Mixing in the future? Will I have to buy it again to get access to the new material?
No! The way I run Home Studio Corner is like this: once you buy something, you're in. For life. If I release a new version of Understanding Mixing in the future that sells for double what you paid, you'll get access to all that new stuff FOR FREE. Forever.
Do I get a prize for reading all the way to the bottom?
Ummm...no. So sorry.