1. Make sure your track is clipping the master, busses, and at least three individual tracks. This will ensure that you always have a nice, warm, vintage sound. If you are still getting a bad result (too much clicking and popping), just turn the master fader down until that goes away. A little pop here and there sounds like a record and is considered cool. This is also the best way to ensure the highest resolution in your mixes. If anything’s still clipping too much, slap a limiter with a fast-attack on it. Using a limiter can also help alleviate issues related to improper tracking automation.
2. Normalize individual track wave files. This keeps you from having to raise volumes on faders. If your final output still has some headroom, make sure you normalize that, too. All tracks should be finished for mastering to at least -6db (please note no suffix such as FS or SPL is necessary as per point #14). This will enable you to compress it during the mastering process back up to beatport’s required format of +3db.
3. Always mix in mono. Most clubs only play out in mono, anyway. If you don’t, your panned tracks might cancel each other out. If your mix sounds flat, use a 3D FX plug-in. Even if you can’t hear the instant depth and nuance, your audience will still be able to.
4. Dr. Dre HP Beats Headphones are the best for mixing. These are very popular headphones so if you’re using them to mix, that’s how your music is going to sound to people who wear them.
5. Mastering can and should be used to correct any problems you can’t correct in your mix-down. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Mastering plug-ins should be used on the master channel when your mixing your track. Multiband compression should be used religiously and liberally.
6. You should only master your own tracks. Having someone else do it for you just means you don’t have good ears and you suck. You know how you want your shit to sound so BAM – make it happen.
7. Dada Life’s Sausage Fattener should be your go-to plug-in for master channel processing and mastering, in general.
8. Most good songs have at least 100 tracks running simultaneously. If you aren’t layering out your ass, you’re doing something wrong.
9. Quantize bass notes to 1/8ths. Everything else should be a static 1/16th.
10. If you’re having problems mixing in one DAW, those problems are sure to go away if you download a cracked copy of another sequencer.
11. There isn’t a single problem that can’t be solved by the religious use of ducking. Sidechain your kick drum to everything!
…including your kick.
12. For most tracks, the built-in sound-card on the motherboard will suffice for monitoring.
13. You should only have 5 dB’s between your loudest sound and your softest one. Compressors should be set accordingly with a fast attack and a slow release, with plenty of make-up gains to balance the difference. A low threshold is your friend.
14. There is no difference between dB SPL and dB FS. They mean EXACTLY the same thing. If a track is 96 dB Full Scale, it will be exactly 96 dB Sound Pressure Level, in the clubs.
15. With today’s music technology, you don’t need to be musically gifted or to have lots of practice just to whip out a tune. People who know about music through formal training are just keeping it in a box and lack creative insight.