Treble Trouble and Marilu Henner’s Mixing Tip

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One of the problems with long mixing sessions is that the ear very quickly becomes acclimatised to the amount of treble (high frequencies) and it is easy to succumb to the temptation to add more and more as the mixing continues. Then you listen to it later or the next day and go, “What was I thinking?”. The data about about treble is also true of adding exciters which can get quite harsh and nasty if overused.

This phenomena is even worse when mixing after midnight (which I used to get asked to do many times in my engineering days). I quickly learned that, for whatever reason, one’s perceptions can be radically different after midnight and what sounded great the night before can sound hideous the next morning.

There was a scene in one of my favorite movies, “L.A. Story”, where Marilu Henner’s character (who has kept Steve Martin waiting for about an hour while she tries out different outfits before they go out to a restaurant), explains that the secret to getting dressed is to put on the outfit and various accessories and then spin around and look in the mirror and the first thing you see is the thing that doesn’t work and that has to go.

While she was being facetious, this is actually a very good rule of thumb for mixing – mix until you think it sounds good and then go away and leave it and come back, preferably the next day, and play it and immediately anything that’s wrong with the mix will leap out at you. Do you have any favorite mixing techniques or tips you’d like to share?

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