54 New Year Resolutions to Improve Recording Quality of your Projects

Audio Mixing Tips

24.) Observe correct mixing levels for headroom. Do not let the master fader level to go beyond -3dB.
25.) Apply correct panning on instruments just like they do on stage; vocals on center, guitars on left and right.
26.) The lesser the effects applied the more lively and natural the resulting sound. Be conservative with effects.
27.) Mix at least in 24-bit/48KHz environment.
28.) Watch out for clipping in every channel or every plugin output level meters.
29.) Use the least reverb on the instruments panned on the center and gradually increasing wet levels as they get farther from the center of the mix. Read these tips on how to apply reverb to a mix properly.

30.) Use compression to get an even loudness of a track in the mix. This is particularly important for vocals, guitars and bass as well as drums.
31.) Cut more and boost less when applying EQ. Professional mixing engineers often do a lot of cutting in the EQ than boosting. This makes the sound more natural and pleasing to listen after EQ adjustments.
32.) Do not cut more than -15dB in the mix for EQ adjustments. Consider re-recording the track if it requires heavy EQ boosting or cutting. Fix the EQ before recording the track. This will make it sound more natural during mixing.
33.) Give it some time to finish your mix particularly for critical projects. It is because the ears can be fatigue really quickly and can affect mixing decisions. Give your mix another day for critical listening and adjustments.
34.) Motivate yourself to do a remixing. Make several remix and evaluate them slowly by listening each one of them in different days. This will let you know which of those mixes should stand out in a test of time. The better the mix, the more memorable it will become.
35.) If a certain instrument is too buried in the mix after EQ adjustments. Bring down the volume of those instruments so that they will sound even in the mix. This is a much better approach than increasing the volume of the buried track which can further make your mix loud. Making your mix loud is not an objective in mixing.

36.) Fix EQ problem as early as the mixing stage. This will make the mastering process very simple because you do not need to apply critical EQ adjustments.
37) Before deciding on the final version of the mix; play the mix in a variety of audio players such as your car stereo, headphones, iPod, CD players in your neighbours, etc. This will ensure that your mix should translate to different playback systems
38.) Always mixdown at high resolution at least 24-bits/48KHz WAV stereo.
39.) Never compress or apply limiter after mixdown; leave them to the mastering engineers.
40.) Always check your mix in mono to make sure it still sounds great.

Audio Mastering tips

41.) Do not master your mix and instead let someone do it for you.
42.) If you want to self-master your recordings, do it 3 days after completing the mix. This makes your ears fresh again to listen to it and make some wise adjustment during mastering.
43.) Apply “presence” to your mastered track +2.0dB boost at 2000Hz Q=0.7
44.) Avoid extreme EQ adjustment during mastering. Limit your EQ boost and cut to 3dB maximum. If it needs further adjustment, something is wrong with the EQ during mixing.
45.) Try not applying reverb to your mastered track.
46.) Make sure to listen to your mastered track in different playback systems to make sure it sounds good anywhere.
47.) Use a subwoofer when mastering. This will let you check the bass levels easily.
48.) If you really have a great sounding mix, you do not need to apply EQ and compression; instead try using a brickwall limiter on it and it will immediately sound big. This is a very important technique in self-mastering.

49.) Make sure all EQ levels are flat. This means the bass, middle and treble sound even.
50.) Do not destroy the dynamics during mastering. Common abuses with the use of limiter could destroy dynamics with so much increased in loudness. Preserve the dynamics; it would make your recording sound great.

51.) Always perform your mastering at least 24-bits/48KHz resolution WAV stereo.
52.) Always do a sample rate conversion first before dithering. Dithering should always be the last step.
53.) Set your brick wall limiter to -0.2dB maximum to avoid possibility of clipping in the later stages.
54.) If mastering is still undecided after 3 straight hours of listening and adjustment; rest your ears. Fatigue ears do not contribute further towards the betterment of sound quality.

Content last updated on July 29, 2012