"To use preset or not to use preset, that is the question"

Presets are great starting point, and then tweak the knobs to create something different. Sometimes I leave most of the knobs by the preset settings, and only deactivate the effects. Layering that sound with other sounds, is where the magic happen.

"Use the synth plugin, that comes with your DAW"

Well, that is not what I did! To make music, I need to get inspired by the sound - and it's rarely I find them by the default DAW synths! By the years I have collected some nice softsynths, fitting my taste in music. But I would lie, if I told you everyone of them is in use. Here is what I use often:

Serum by Xfer Records
Sylenth1 by LennarDigital
M1 by Korg
Hive 2 by u-he
Lethal by Lethal Audio
Bass Master by Loopmaster


"Low-cut everything, except the bassdrum and bass"

I rarely touched the EQ knobs back then ... I have learned my lesson since. Low-cutting everything, except the deep sounds - like the bassdrum and bass, is matter of taste. But it sure clear up some mud in the low-end - even the mud you can't hear.

"Eliminate bad resonance frequency"

The "bad resonance frequency" is like mosquitos, mostly found in the mid and upper frequencies. Just cut them off. It makes a huge different in the final mix. When it comes to equalizing, I use the FabFilter Pro-Q on most tracks and groups. It's a matter of taste and workflow, but EQ included with the DAW, will properly do the same job. Here is some of the plugins I use often:

Pro-Q by FabFilter
Kickstart by Nicky Romero
EchoBoy Jr. by Soundtoys
H-Reverb by Waves
Philta XL by Vengeance Sound
Fresh Air (Free) by Slate Digital


"That 200 tracks song vs your 20 tracks"

One of those "don't get blinded by what others do". Some producers may ending up by using 200 tracks for a song, but keep in mind - most of these tracks are layering synths, vocal dubs and fx's! I don't think I have used more than 60-70 tracks in a production, and many of my songs and remixes are done by under 40 tracks. The bottom line is, if the song sounds like what you want to archieve - then you won't need more tracks! (In a band you properly only see a drummer, basist, guitarist, keyboardplayer, and some singers. And yes, there are huge orchestras .. go figure!)

"If you can bring something new, then remix it ..."

Otherwise, leave it. I have made some bad remixes - by thinking, I just needed to change some sounds and speed up the BPM. For me, a nice remix is by taking a great song, and bring it to a whole new level - but with respect of the original song, and the vocals. By that, I don't point out a remix should sound like the original, because sometimes you only need a little part of the melody, and some repeating vocals.


"Less is more ... or is it?"

Most producers and mixing-engineers take it easy on those effect-sends. But don't get too focused by the "less is more". Every piece of music is different - and should be treated like it. If it sounds great (to you), then go nuts on your compression, reverb, delay or whatever effect you're want to achieve. But keep in mind, that "less is more" when it comes to mastering.

"Mix as you work on the song"

Like everything else in life, or the making of music, it's a matter of personal workflow. I always mix-on-the-go, when producing a new song or remix. By doing that, I get that feeling where the song will bring me - soundwise. For me, it's way easier to adjust those effects later on, to achieve a final mix - ready for mastering.

Final words ... If it sounds good - then it will work!