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How To Become a Mixing Engineer

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Is there a guide on How To Become A Mixing Engineer? Can becoming a professional mixing engineer be any fun? Where do the best mixing engineers come from? These are a few of the questions I’ve received this month on the subject.

First, is there a “how to become a mix engineer” guide ? No, I don’t think so. What I mean is that any book or audio education would be a beginning to the beginning and simply a very first step. Truth is, there are tons of materials to understand and it really never ends. Progress will keep you busy with that forever. Let me put it this way, your not gonna pop out of an audio school or a book with the competitive working knowledge you’ll need. It takes a long time.

Can becoming a mix engineer be fun ? If you like your fun with many tough lessons, a dog-eat-dog business model and a super long never-ending learning-curve, then yes :)

Where do the best mix engineers come from ? They come from a place of serious persistence and luck. But they mostly come from working studios, “and” from being “ready” to be in the right place at the right time. They may even be so lucky as to have had a great mentor who leads them straight to the good habits and away from the career sucking mistakes.

I have a simple guide on how to become a mixing engineer: Get a Pro Tools system of any size or Apple Logic Pro X seems pretty solid to me and mix a lot. Mix everything, friends, local artists, FOH for bands at live clubs will get you fast and mentally solid. That’s how i mainly broke in. Mix under any challenging circumstance and just do it. Read everything, understand basic electronics, befriend professionals so they can show you things. Sit in on as many mix sessions as you can and be the second engineer by truly helping. Set-up for A/B monitor listening and hear the difference between hundreds of different records…. All that and lots of tenacity will get you there.

As you may have already figured out, 99.9% of a good mix education is from the experience of doing it, and meeting the right people. If you have a chill, confident social style, it’s only a matter of time for you.

What about an audio education ala recording schools?

Recording schools can give a great all around education, but don’t show up to them without any experience. You’ll get twice the education when you show up to sound engineering schools with some initial experience. An audio education won’t make you good at mixing, but they’ll show you just about everything involved at least once. So get your recording/mix system first and hit it long before you show up to class. Simply start mixing now. You’ll only get good from doing it.

If The “Art of Mixing” is about one thing, It’s about making mistakes. You want all the opportunity to make “all” the mistakes, and many times over. Good luck – CJ


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