Welcome to No Bullshit Mixing!
Here you will find concise articles and videos to you help you learn and improve your mixing, all for free!
My name is Brian Nicholls, and I’d like to thank you for coming to my blog. I know that the amount of mixing advice, tips, and tricks out there on the internet is enormous! You can spend hours searching, watching, reading, and learning different methods and techniques, but are you actually improving your ability to create a great sounding mix?
You can sift through hundreds of articles and videos, hoping that one of them applies to you, but there’s no guarantee. When I was learning, I scoured the internet, watching every video on parallel compression, EQ “tricks”, etc. But none of them made me a better mixer, nor did they give me better mixes. They were simply tactics, not strategies.
My first recording, and my first failure
When I first got into recording, I had no idea what I was doing. I was playing cello in a string quartet at the time, and I wanted to make a demo, to help us get gigs. So, I got a matched pair of condenser microphones, and set up a recording session. The results were… okay, at best. We were all playing on expensive instruments, in a great sounding room, using what I thought were decent microphones, but the mix still sounded thin. My colleagues were unimpressed, and I felt like I had let them down. It was then that I realized that I needed to be able to understand the technical side of things, if I was to get our music out there. I had no idea what I was getting into.
I taught myself for a couple years, learning how to use Ableton Live, watching all kinds of tutorial videos with different mixing techniques. However, I still felt that there were gaps in my understanding. I needed to start from the ground up, so I finally decided to go to school to study audio specifically. And boy, did I study. I was obsessive. I fell in love with it. As a musician and technically oriented person in general, I loved audio engineering. It was a combination of science and art, using sound as the medium. If I wasn’t in the studio or in class, I was studying.
Learning about audio was extremely rewarding for me. I felt like I was solving a puzzle I had been working on for years. I love what I do, and being the obsessive person I am, I spend a lot of my time thinking about and developing my process. Now, I would like to pass on everything I’ve learned to you. If you are an artist, engineer, podcaster, or student, and you want to learn and improve your mixing, you’ve come to the right place.
Getting to the point – Cutting the Bull****!
The plethora of information out there on mixing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it very hard to find useful information. Everyone has an opinion on how to do “x”, but nobody needs “71 EQ Hacks”! If we thoroughly understand the tools we use, and have a solid workflow with them, we will be able to use it effectively, no matter what.
Rather than just sharing tips, I will teach you how to approach your mix. You will learn how professional engineers think when they are solving problems, and how to discern what those problems are. I will teach you strategies, not just tactics.
I strive to make all of my content as concise as possible. You’ll find articles and videos that get straight to the point. Like the website’s name says, I hope to cut the bullshit for you, so you can spend more time doing what matters – improving your sound!
“I don’t know what’s wrong with my mix!”-All of us, at some point
Have you ever said this? Maybe you’ve wondered why your mix sounds “too thin”, or why your music doesn’t sound like what you hear on the radio? It can be frustrating to spend days, weeks, or even months mixing a track, and still not be sure where to go from there. Maybe you’ve lost yourself for hours EQ’ing a kick drum, and you’re not sure if it sounds better or worse than the original. I’ve been there. I call this mixing hell, and nobody wants to be there. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
I was astonished when I started working in a professional studio and finally got to sit in on a session. The technical director was the one actually sitting at the console, and the head engineer was sipping his coffee behind him, giving him directions as if he were the captain of a ship! Professionals don’t spend 10 minutes working on a single effect. My goal is to give you the same tools that I have learned from my experience working in the audio industry, so that you never have to get stuck in your mix.
I will focus on the concepts behind mixing – the meta of how to approach your mix, and methods to improve your proficiency/efficiency no matter which software you use.
Whether you are a skilled engineer or artist, professional or hobbyist, my goal is to provide you tools and concepts that will help you improve your mixing and enjoy the process.
You can watch all the tutorials on the internet, but the most important skill you can learn, is understanding why and when to use these techniques. I focus on exactly that – how to understand the problem, so you can then come up with a solution.
Amplify your mixing!
You’ll get my Pro Tools template to use in your own projects, and all my content for free.