Managing a Big Mix

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If you’ve ever heard a pro talk about track counts, it can get pretty ridiculous.

200+ track ridiculous.

And when you are working on a mix like this, things can be difficult. You might lose scope and not have a good perspective with all of those elements flying around.

But with this mix tip, you’ll be able to manage these big mixes and get a better result. No matter if your “big mix” is 40 tracks or 200.

Let’s think back to the days when track counts were limited. Like on Sgt. Peppers by The Beatles.

They only had a very finite number of tracks to work with, but wanted to get big, never-before-heard sounds. How could they achieve this?

By premixing and bouncing things down as they went. They were able to record the drums, then bass, then mix the bass and drums to make room for guitars, etc.

This may seem like they were giving up a lot of control – that’s because they were!

Although not by choice, they were making critical mix decisions while they were tracking.

Let’s apply this to mixing with a lot of tracks. Even top pro mix engineers don’t really work with 200 tracks at a time. They submix and bounce things down in order to manage it better.

When submixing or bouncing elements together, keep in mind that you’ll want to pair things together well. Don’t put the lead vocal with the bass. Those are key elements that you need control of. Rather, but the stack of 5 basses together. 5 tracks down to 1 can really help keep you organized.

This can even create some happy accidents – like introducing some opportunities for compressing things together and making them sound more natural. Like a snare that has 4 layers. When it’s bounced down, you can add a bit of overall compression to glue it together and treat it as one sound.

Try this on your next mix and start hearing the difference!