What Do You Struggle Most In Mixing?

Hello guys!

Happy new 2020 to all of you! Wish you a great new year with a lot of happy music making, sucess and progress! :slight_smile:

As one or the other might know, I am about to build my VLOG & BLOG and wanted to ask you, what you struggle most when producing, mixing or composing? I already have some ideas in mind, but it’s always good to hear some real-life examples – that’s what it is all about.

Thank you in advance! Take care and stay tuned!

Best regards,
Alexey :slight_smile:


Mixing is a tricky thing. There are plenty of things I struggle with but getting a good low end and not getting a muddy mix. Always found practice helps. Mixing is always a race against time.
Also knowing what will make the most difference in a mix - they say only 20% of your decisions make a really difference to the overall mix. I think an overall approach to mixing orchestral music would be useful as there isn’t that many courses/guides out there.


Strings, leading melody that is. Especially when doubling in octaves, since it is high up in the C5 range, it gets very piercing. If I dial down the 3-4kHz I get rid of the piercing but they loose that focus.


Here it’s with the low end i struggle the most ! that’s why for now i’m not using a lot of instruments in that area ! ^^

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Cool, until now we have:

  • low end
  • harshness area

I would love to have more topics, so I will wait a couple of days for other people and ideas.

What I find myself most composers and producers struggle with:

  • Balance
  • Dynamics
  • Automation
  • Low End (as mentioned)
  • Stereo Width
  • Muddiness
  • Reverb

For sure we will find more in the near future, however, in many ways this is a good and solid start in my opinion.

Have a great week!
You will hear from me soon!

Best regards,
Alexey :slight_smile:


When and how to use compression especially with orchestral tracks. It’s easier if your doing hybrid tracks but always a bit careful with compression as you obviously need to keep the dynamics. Also what should you aim for with overall LUF and peak if your track is for media/libraries etc

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interresting post
for me is to get the very best balance between all tracks in my composition because i want that the listener can hear all instruments, synths, sounds clearly

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Hey @pj1240,

got you! Orchestral compression (noticed).

About LUFS in general: as you might know, LUFS was created to equal loudness of audio for different media types. The first one, which was the most important, was the TV & Radio stuff, as people hated it to turn down the volume during the break & adverts. There are different LUFS guides for different media types. For example in Europe TV is going for -23 LUFS on average. That means, that if something will be -21 LUFS, which is actually louder for our ears, will be heard quieter, as it will be turned down.
The same goes for Youtube, Spotify, etc. all of the streaming sites have their own LUFS. If you want to be super exact, you should be mastering/aiming your track for every platform differently. This takes more time of course, it sucks, there is no unity. When you combine the LUFS of all of them, you get something between -13 / -14 LUFS. You can aim your tracks for these numbers, however, there is one thing to look for: in most cases, your tracks will be louder than that. Sometimes -12, sometimes -10, or if you take trailer music, you could easily end up at -8 LUFS. The less negative LUFS the track has, the louder it appears to our ears, so we have fewer dynamics, almost no natural peaks. The one part is due to compression, the other part is the general sound vision of the track.
Let’s say your target is -14 LUFS, but your track has -10, due to your personal sound vision, compression, saturation, instrumentation, etc. print the track with your master fader gain at -4. That’s it. LUFS is the combination of RMS and Peak over TIME. Always look out for “Integrated”, which is the average of the whole track.

I am honest with you, sometimes I think we are treated as clowns. Why? Because the industry is going for a standard first, but then some super smart people decide how to set their company apart (being louder again), by choosing numbers they like most. The same on TV. Ever wondered why one channel is louder than the other? This is the reason.

I think like this: If someone tells me the rules…library, company, clients,…“We need this and that”…I play the rules and don’t ask why. Just do it and forget it. If I don’t have any rules, I master the best possible version, best means the loudest, and print it with -0.3dBfs with my limiter on. That’s it. If someone finds my track is too loud, he has “fader” so he will turn it down. It shouldn’t be hard right?

I really like your approach to dynamic mixes & tracks. You should always find the best possible compromise between the track’s dynamics and the dynamics of your speaker systems. This will be another topic for later, but this is a good starting point: aim for -6 till -10dB of dynamic range in your tracks. It depends on the genre, yes, but this “window” is a really good starting point. Play your most busiest part of your track. If you have -3dB dynamic range (RMS/PEAK) relation, you most like are over-compressing your mix. If you have -12dB you most like have too many dynamics, so you lose potentially gain over the whole track.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Hello @florent83,

got you and noticed!

My opinion: It’s good to have this as a “goal”, however, it will never work as you would like due to “masking”. Masking can be frequency masking but can be time masking as well. Let me explain: In fact, EQ can help us separate the instruments much better, we hear them more “clearly” as you said. The same goes for the timeline masking by side-chaining a signal to another. But even that doesn’t help to achieve a super duper clean mix, as our brain is too slow for this kind of operation. We think we can think & process fast, but the brain needs time to check what’s going on, and at that point, many other things already happened…which are irrelevant as the brain receive the next information already now…

Do a test yourself and write me back when you have finished analyzing:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmk5frp6-3Q
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0

What I want you to do is writing down all the instruments you hear there. Not groups of instruments, I really mean the exact instrument/sample which you think have played in there and you could really hear them! We all know which instruments an orchestra has, that’s not the point, the point is what you can really hear out from that piece of music. The same with Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk.

Waiting for your answer, @florent83! :slight_smile:


I use this meter ( the pro version) when rendering the final mix or mastering

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thanks for your answer and you’re
for the video 1 : there is a lot of instrument but as you said it is difficult but i hear string in col legno but which one i don’t know it could be violin1, 2, alto or cello, there is a timpani, french horn, tronbome, violin1, plati. and i forget thetrumpet and the woodwind there is a piccolo but for the other difficult to determine exactly .wow i love this track from gustav holtz
forthe video 2 : there is some claps, vocal bass,electric guitar,bass drum, snare drum, charley closed, brass ( i suppose a group of trumpet), synth sound, there is a scratch sound at 1’32, and a electric bass with to type of playing soft and slap,

it is very hard because when the sound is a layer it is nearly impossible to determine exactly what are the instrument that build the layer

Thanks Alexey this is really useful. I’ve found for general music tracks

Is useful especially with streaming services and YouTube etc.

What’s your thoughts on dynamic range meter plugins like dynameter?

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You always need to implement this kind of plugins into your workflow to make sure you are going in the right direction with your mix/master. Not really sure, if there is “the best” tool for everything out there, but as long as you like it and it does the job it’s great, isn’t it?

Loudness penalty is a fast and easy way to check your master for streaming purposes. I personally don’t use it.


Great! You see, you could hear a lot of instruments, sounds and samples during the listening. As you said, it’s really hard at some point, and this is exactly the point where our brain can’t process the amount of information be given.

Now go back, to both of them and count how many groups of instruments are playing at the same time, you’ll get a number of between … so and so…

It really doesn’t matter which genre, all of the great music tracks in all genres are pretty much the same. All of them have something in common.

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i think it will be easier on the second video, but for the planet from Holtz it will be harder
because if i take by example the french horn, if you play the french horn closed (sordino) in pianissimo or piano the sound produce is close to woodwind, and the same if you play the french horn in fortissimo in the medium range compare to a trombone in the high range there is a little difference but very subtil
the same for the piccolo in its low range compare to the flute in the medium range the color is similar but not the same
i will listen the two video and try to do my best to make the list of instrument group playing the same part

i listen again the gustav holtz the planet Mars, i love this piece it is amazing
from 0 to 0’55
ostinati : string and percus and col legno
theme : brass and woodwind

from 0’55 to 1’30
theme 2 : brass and string
ostinati and rythm : string + percu
riff : percus platti + brass

from 1’30 to 2’13
theme 3 : brass and woodwind
ost and rythm percus / string

from 2’13 to 3’05
ostinati : string
theme : brass
counter theme : brass sound like trumpet i suppose
then string
from 3’14 to 3’35
string melodic ostinato
brass theme
percussion in the back

well it is a very good exercize, thanks a lot

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Great! This is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your own compositions.

To come back to your topic about „I want to hear everything clear and clean…“. The reason I wanted you to let you do this exercise is to figure out how many sounds or instruments you hear at once at max. in the most crowded part of a piece. The answer is your brain can perceive from 4-6 at once, which you hear without thinking much. After 6 it’s getting much harder.

This being said, you can aim for 4-6 at once, and you bother less when using more as this sounds and instruments stay in the background. It means as well they are quieter most likely and you can use less EQ or filtering, sometimes even nothing at all as the volume does it automatically most of the times. :slight_smile:


Alexey, why not make a music production course, or a mixing course? I think you have a very good understanding of these things, and even if you make blogs and vlogs you could also do a course that shows all aspects? :slight_smile:


if Alexey makes a course on udemy or elsewhere on mastering or other subject i think i will buy


Thank you really much for all your support guys! It really means a lot!

Well, as I said, everything is in the making, but it takes time. I have a pretty rough plan for how I want to make these things. I have a clear vision of how I want everything to look like and there are a lot of things I still need to learn about film making, which again takes time. In the meantime, I work on my first free giveaways which I will share in the near future! I really have fun making it and feel like I need to give something back to people as I wished somebody would give me that information 8-9 years ago. Even during my studies as a film composer a lot of things were so unimportant when I look back. If you are confrontated with unimportant things, you waste time, the time you could invest moving forward with the right mindset and tools. That’s what I want people to do who are starting out or even are in the process of making, re-think the process, re-think their mindset.

When I am done, I will let you know!