1 (SIR) MIX A LOT
Mixing is almost a never-ending task. Just as you feel you’re pretty much finished and happy then you will inevitably spot else something to tweak and another rabbit hole to keep you occupied for days on end. In the end you know the sound you are after and it will take repeated attempts and a lot of trial and error to get the recording matching what’s in your head.
The key to mixing tracks is to remain objective. Think of how the listener will be enjoying your music and trial it in that environment. It may be on headphones at a low volume, blasting out your car radio or at home on your stereo. Ultimately you want a mix that works across all environments, so use your ears and don’t get blinded by your love for the track.
2 SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY
An invaluable lesson to learn is that you can never save too much! What sounds good to you at one time may not work as part of the overall mix. So, saving at different stages of the process means you can flit back to a previous cut for comparison and can even work on multiple mixes of the same song at the same time. Songs will evolve naturally as you work on them and this allows you to follow each track down the path and decide if that version is worth pursuing.
Also, by storing your work you are damn near guaranteeing that if something unthinkable happens you will be able to revert back to a slightly earlier version. It’s better to lose an hour’s work than weeks’ worth.
Keep this mantra throughout the mastering process too. It’s amazing how different songs can sound on different hardware.