Let’s talk mix criticism! If you have ever mixed anything for anybody, even a friend, you know all about mix critiques! Mixing is very subjective and everyone hears things differently! It’s artwork and there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to do it.
Feedback on your mixes can actually be a really good thing. If you are humble, you can really start to learn what people want. For the longest time I would really try to get the vocal to sit inside the mix but time after time the client would want the vocal louder and more on top of the mix. So this taught me to be extra careful and to really make sure that the vocal is cutting through the mix. Sometimes it can help if you pretend you are the artist listening to it, sounds silly but it has worked for me! Critiques should always be expected. All the times I have really thought that I nailed it and there was no way they would come back with changes, sure enough….a whole list of them! Other times I thought I didn’t do the greatest in a mix…zero changes. It’s impossible to tell what you will get, just always be open to feedback.
Lastly, I want to talk about how feedback from the client can sometimes ruin your mix. In some cases, the client wants something way different than you gave them. This can take you out of your comfort zone which can sometimes be good, but other times it can make you really not understand how to make it sound good while completing the client’s requests. Here’s an example… maybe you were forced to cut some high mids because the way the vocal was recorded was really harsh and the mic was very brittle sounding. You cut the frequencies, compressed the frequencies with a multiband compressor, and have done automation on the volume to get the vocal to sound right. The client says the vocal sounds muffled and wants a boost in the high end. This ultimately will work against all the hard work you have done. The client may love the mix but you now hate it. Sometimes we go through this as mixing engineers. Comment your thoughts! Happy mixing!