Let’s be clear from the very beginning – it’s OK to make mistakes when you are just starting out in music production. Music production has quite a steep learning curve, and you shouldn’t be hard on yourself. Mistakes are a normal part of any learning process. Lately, we at EKmixmaster, has been getting very promising tracks to mix and master. However, we noticed some common mistakes that make these tracks dull therefore killing their potential. So, in this article, we will cover some mistakes rookie music producers make and ways to avoid them.
It’s easy to spot newbie producers by the number of plug-ins they use. It is tempting to apply every plug-in in your arsenal, but it ends up sounding redundant. Always use your ears to know when to stop. If you use plug-ins and you still don’t like what you are hearing, then the problem is in the original sample.
Many rookie producers grab the first sample they see and include it in their track, expecting it to sound good. Context is important in music production. Your instruments do not exist in a vacuum, they have to interact. So spend some time choosing the right samples.
Incorrect use of the side-chain compressor
Nowadays, almost every track has a side-chain compressor, but it is important to understand how this technique works. It is not enough to drop it on a rack and forget about it. A side-chain compressor is important as it influences the groove of your song. So spend some time researching this topic and tinkering with the settings to get it right.
Stacking too many layers
Layering is an important technique in music production, but you shouldn’t use it if you don’t understand how it works. If you keep layering samples and the sound doesn’t get better, then probably you are doing something wrong. Don’t try to remedy bad samples. Find good samples, that will complement your song, you can process it if needed but remember don’t get carried away. Listen to the instrument, decide what exactly you want to add (maybe your instrument needs more low end or more attack ) and go from there. Of course, you can experiment and layer different instruments to see what works best, but don’t leave the layer if it doesn’t do anything and just makes your mix muddy.
Not enough layering
On the other side of the spectrum, sometimes there is not enough layering going on in the track. That makes the track dull and flat. If you want your song to sound full and big, some layering is necessary, but remember the previous point and try to find a balance between too much and not enough.
Panning is very important for the sonic quality of the track. Many rookie producers, trying to make their track sound bigger and fuller, pan every instrument of the mix. It does make the track sound somewhat bigger, but mostly muddy. Right panning is not always about stereo spreading, it’s about balancing frequencies to avoid conflicting frequencies. You can try applying EQ along with panning to ensure you are not abusing this technique.