The following material is adapted from chapter 4 of The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski
The Signs of an Amateur Mix Before we can talk about how to make a great mix, it’s good to be aware of the signs of one that isn’t that great. Does your mix have any of these characteristics?
The mix has no contrast. That means that the song has the same musical or sonic texture throughout the entire song, or the mix is at the same level and intensity through the song.
The mix has a wandering focal point. There are holes between lyrics where nothing is brought forward in the mix to hold the listener’s attention.
The mix is noisy. Clicks, hums, extraneous noises, count-offs, and sometimes lip-smacks and breaths can be clearly heard.
The mix lacks clarity and punch. The instruments aren’t distinct, or the low end is either too weak or too big.
The mix sounds distant and devoid of any feeling of intimacy. The mix sounds distant because of too much reverb or overuse of other effects.
The mix has inconsistent levels. Instrument levels vary from balanced to quiet or too loud, or certain lyrics or instrument lines can’t be distinguished.
The mix has dull and uninteresting sounds. Generic, dated, or often-heard sounds are being used.
Owsinski (2013-04-09). The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook, 3rd ed. (chapter 4). Cengage Learning PTR. Kindle Edition.