5 Biggest Mixing Myths Debunked

When I first started learning how to mix, I spent thousands of hours scouring YouTube, Gearslutz, and audio blogs for advice.

But often times, I’d walk away feeling even more overwhelmed.

There was so much information out there! It was nearly impossible to figure out who to listen to.

It took me years to sift through all the bad advice. Today, I want to help you do the same.

Here are 5 mixing myths to steer clear of. Avoid these diversions and get back on the fast track to mixing success!

1. You should always high-pass everything but the kick and bass

At first glance, this sounds like good advice.

But in practice, it falls flat. Sometimes this technique is helpful. Other times, it does more harm than good.

The low end on guitars, pads, and other tracks is important. Blindly removing it can rob your mix of its fullness—leaving you with a thin, anaemic low end that lacks weight and girth.

High-passing is useful, but only when necessary. If a track’s low end isn’t causing any problems, there’s no need to nix it!

2. You can’t craft a great mix with stock plugins

Plugin manufacturers would love for you to believe this one.

The truth? You can absolutely craft a great mix with stock plugins alone. (And if you can’t, the problem isn’t your plugins!)

It’s easy to get caught in the “if I only had X plugin, my mixes would sound better” trap. It’s much harder to commit to honing your skills with the tools you’ve already got. But if you put in the time and effort, you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve with your current setup.

Also, if you’re still wrapping your head around compression and EQ, it’s even more important to learn the ropes on stock plugins before investing in third-party tools. You’ll save money, and avoid the paralysis that comes from having too many choices!

3. Certain DAWs sound better

I see this myth pop up often on Gearslutz. Someone will mention that Pro Tools sounds better than Logic (or Reason…or Ableton), and an all-out shitstorm will break loose. Null tests will be invoked, flame wars will ensue. And all for a myth that can be debunked with a simple Google search…

While different plugins may produce different results, the core summing and playback functions common to every DAW sound exactly the same.

The verdict: all DAWs sound exactly the same.

Moving on…

4. You can’t get a great mix in the box

Old, crusty mixers of yesteryear love to romanticize analog gear.

“You can’t possibly craft a great mix in the box,” they whine.

Don’t listen to them. (They’re wrong!)

There was a time when this was true. But today’s DAWs and plugins sound better than ever. While mixing on a console may produce different results, it’s no longer a superior way to work. You can absolutely craft world-class mixes 100% in the box. (In fact, this is how many of today’s biggest mixers choose to work!)

5. Linear-phase EQs are better than normal EQs

Somewhere along the way, linear-phase EQs became associated with the mastering process. This gave many of us the impression that these “mastering-grade” EQs were superior to conventional, minimum-phase EQs.

This isn’t true. While there are clear differences between them, one isn’t better than the other. They both have their pros and cons, and each excels in different situations. To learn when to use one over the other, I highly recommend watching this excellent video from FabFilter:

What are some of the biggest mixing myths you’ve encountered? Share them by leaving a comment below!