Mixing Checklist

When your mix is nearly complete, use this mixing checklist to ensure it meets industry standards and sounds its best:

  1. Balance:
    • Check the balance of individual tracks in the mix.
    • Ensure no instruments are overpowering others.
  2. Panning:
    • Review the panning positions of instruments for a balanced stereo image.
    • Use panning to create separation and depth.
  3. Frequency Balance:
    • Verify that no frequencies are overly dominant or lacking in the mix.
    • Use EQ to address any imbalances.
  4. Dynamics Control:
    • Apply compression and limiting to control dynamics.
    • Ensure consistency without over-compression.
  5. Reverb and Delay:
    • Evaluate the use of reverb and delay for spatial enhancement.
    • Adjust wet/dry mix to create depth without overwhelming the mix.
  6. Automation:
    • Implement automation for volume, panning, and effect parameters.
    • Enhance the mix’s dynamics and transitions.
  7. Clarity and Separation:
    • Ensure each instrument has its sonic space in the mix.
    • Use EQ, panning, and level adjustments for separation.
  8. Mono Compatibility:
    • Check the mix in mono to ensure it translates well on all playback systems.
    • Address phase issues if detected.
  9. Reference Listening:
    • Compare the mix to reference tracks in a similar genre.
    • Match the tonal and dynamic qualities of professional mixes.
  10. Check Phase:
    • Review phase coherence between multi-miked instruments (e.g., drums).
    • Use phase inversion or alignment tools as needed.
  11. Final EQ and Compression:
    • Make subtle final EQ and compression adjustments to enhance the overall sound.
    • Avoid over-processing in the final stages.
  12. Level Matching:
    • Ensure consistent perceived loudness throughout the mix.
    • Use LUFS metering to match loudness levels if required.
  13. Bounce or Export:
    • Prepare the mix for final export or mastering.
    • Ensure proper file format, bit depth, and sample rate.
  14. Listen on Multiple Systems:
    • Listen to the mix on different playback devices (e.g., headphones, monitors, car stereo).
    • Make any necessary adjustments for different listening environments.
  15. Feedback and Revision:
    • Seek feedback from trusted ears or collaborators.
    • Make revisions based on feedback and personal evaluation.

Remember that mixing is both an art and a science, and personal preferences play a significant role. Use this checklist as a guide, but trust your ears and creative instincts when making final decisions in the mixing process.

Download a free mixing checklist to place it on your desk

I’ve created multiple checklists and cheat sheets over time and you can now get free access to all of them for a limited time. It includes:

  • 7-Step Mix Guide
  • General EQing Cheat Sheet
  • Recording Checklist
  • Mixing Checklist
  • File Preparation Cheat Sheet
  • Home Studio Necessities
  • Signature Sound Cheat Sheet

All you have to do is signing up with your email address for one of the cheat sheets / checklists. You’ll then get access to the complete library.

Leave a Reply