We’ve shared some of our favorite audio exercises and ways to improve your skills before. But few are as valuable as this single exercise.
It’s not even that difficult on paper. But actually doing it will require critical thought and will result in making you a better engineer. Guaranteed.
So what is this magical drill?
Make a great production without mixing it.
That might be a bit of an overstatement. Let me explain.
You can make two types of mixing moves – but that’s it. Panning and level. No EQ. No Reverb. No Compression.
So how are you going to make a good production like this? Great mic placement and mic technique.
This drill is also going to force you to think about the mix while you are getting sounds and getting ready to track. This is something that all of the great engineers can do – you should learn to as well.
Here is an example of how this will help you: vocal mic technique. Since you’re not going to be able to compress your vocal later on, you’re going to need to “adjust” your levels by using great mic technique. On louder notes, back off of the mic slightly. On softer notes, lean in a little.
You’ll also need to get great mic placement. Since you can’t EQ after the fact, you’ll need to make sure your acoustic guitar isn’t too boomy or bright by putting the mic in the perfect place.
It’s going to be hard, but push yourself to make something great. You’ll learn so much along the way and will ultimately create even better recordings because of your new knowledge.
After you complete this drill, you can work through one of our mixing videos as a member and start to make even better sounding tracks from the start.