How I’m getting my BEST mixes in the WORST room

 

Do you think your room is holding you back?

Is it keeping you from hearing issues in your mix and making the right decisions?

At the very least, do you ever question your mixing setup and wonder how much better you’d be if you were in a pro studio with top-notch gear?

Hmmm.

A little while ago I sent out a video showing you my home mixing setup.

Before I started mixing at home, I ran a project studio with a decent sized control room, live room, lots of treatment and a few pairs of monitors.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty dang good.

Before THAT, I spent six months assisting at a multi-million dollar studio.

(The kind of place that is so well designed that the silence in the room is kind of unsettling!)

So I’ll admit, when I decided to move out of my project studio and bring my mixing rig home, I was a little nervous.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to mix at all – that things wouldn’t translate, the house would be too noisy, and everything would just generally suck.

After all, I have some pretty legitimate problems with my room right now:

  • The room is noisy. I can hear my Mac Pro whirring away, the air conditioner humming, and my 2-year-old son running around downstairs
  • I have minimal treatment. Since I don’t know how long i’ll be here, I don’t want to mess up this room in my house too bad. So I only have a few acoustic panels on the walls, and they’re not even in the corners.
  • I’m only using NS-10’s. No sub, no bigger speakers to A/B… I pretty much can’t hear anything below 100hz on these
  • I even switched from a $10k HD rig to a regular Pro Tools setup with a $1,000 Apogee interface.

yeah… kind of scary!

But guess what?

I’ve done a few projects here now, and to be honest… I think these are some of the best mixes I’ve ever done in my life. 

I even had one of my clients say the same thing!

What the heck is going on here?!

How is it possible after significantly ‘downgrading’ my mix room that my mixes are actually better than ever?

Well, I actually think that all the imperfections and shortcomings of my room and actually helping me mix better.

It may not be as ‘easy’ as it was before, because to be honest I really can’t hear as well because of the ambient noise and room issues.

But it’s making me work harder and focus on the most important parts of my mix. 

The extra noise from the AC and my toddler downstairs is a more realistic picture of how the end listener will hear my mix.

The lack of treatment and low-end monitoring means that I’m forced to focus hard on the midrange, which is resulting in mixes that translate way better than before.

I’m able to overcome these limitations by referencing other mixes I love and testing my mixes in the car… and I had to do that anyways even when I mixed in way better rooms!

I’ve always said that knowing your speakers and your room are more important than having the best of either, and I believe it even more now.

And of course, the most important thing is what’s in between your ears – your skill & knowledge as a mixer.

If you’re letting fears about your room or your gear hold you back, take a second to adjust your mindset.

Start to see how your so-called limitations might actually be an advantage.

Again, I’ve worked in a bunch of the pro studios…

…and I’m still mixing better than ever in my little bedroom-turned-mix-room at home.

Don’t let external things – room, gear, other people – hold you back from working hard and mastering your craft.

Instead, own your situation and make it happen.


 

If you’re looking for help with your mixes, check out our courses & the Mixing Heavy Music e-book.