I only do basic things as I go like shelf EQ to cut out the low end on those sounds that don't need it. I also often start projects with a Slate VTM or U-he Satin on the master. I will also do some basic gain staging as I go, but this is primarily to keep plenty of head room and to avoid hear fatigue.
I try to keep the principles of EQ in mind when choosing/designing/composing so that my sounds fit together before I even start loading EQ vsts.
The thing to remember is that as soon as you're playing two sounds at once, you're mixing. So technically, you are always mixing. During recording, it's not really productive to get surgical. But general rules of thumb should be observed, many of which have been mentioned. The other thing during recording is that if I'm working with talent, I'll be working on a comp mix for their cans which is usually quite different from the control room mix. Vocalists might want less drums and bass, and a bassist might want more drums and less vocals.
Once you get to arranging it's much the same. Even if you're just making level adjustments to give you a ball park of where you want things to sit in the mix. Eg: lower the amplitude on the kick for section x, increase it for section y etc. That gives you a general idea of your dynamics and serves as a guide when you start getting serious about gain staging.
So yeah, mix all the time... That's making music...
Headphone mixes for bands are the fucking worst ...Been a long time since I have done that or worked on a large format console but that was far and away one of the things I dreaded, not because they are hard or anything but because of how picky and upset some of those people get lol
^ Nah they're easy. Whenever I've had to do it, I just get them to plug the cans into the console so they're sitting next to me giving me feedback. And I completely understand people getting emotional in the studio about that stuff. Particularly with vocalists because standing in a booth on your own talking to a voice in your head between takes can make one feel kind of vulnerable.
And that's the other thing too because they're going to have to listen to the same thing over and over again so no matter how precious they're being about it you want to appease them so you can get their best performance.
Once you get to arranging it's much the same. Even if you're just making level adjustments to give you a ball park of where you want things to sit in the mix. Eg: lower the amplitude on the kick for section x, increase it for section y etc.
Agreed. The arrangement greatly plays into the mix. If a song is arranged correctly, mixing will be easy.