Learning and becoming good at something takes a lot of time.
This is why experts in any field will tell you that it takes about 10,000 hours to become a pro at something.
Mixing and mastering music are two of the toughest crafts in music production and requires time to master.
This post will discuss why these two elements of music production are so difficult.
Knowing why these two skills are difficult will make it easy for you to get a better grasp of music production so you can navigate better.
I believe, if you know why something is difficult, you can easily forge your own path in conquering it.
With that said, let’s get into the various reasons why mixing and mastering is so difficult…
but first, here’s an overview…
Mixing and mastering are difficult skills to pick up because it takes a significant amount of time to acquire these skills. Even then, you can only strive for “near perfect” mixes and masters because there’s no such thing as perfection in both these skills. Furthermore, these are two highly technical skills that require a deep understanding of audio production equipment, the nature of sound, acoustics, processing and a myriad of other things related to audio.
With that said, let’s further discuss the main reasons why mixing and mastering are difficult.
Takes time to learn
One of the reasons why mixing and mastering are so difficult is because they take a lot of time to learn.
These are two skills to which you’ll probably have to spend 10,000 hours in order to grasp.
Most people give up along the way and this is quite common.
Other people are just not consistent.
Therefore this is one of the reasons why sound engineering is considered a difficult skill to learn and to carry out.
Another reason why mixing and mastering is difficult is because these two skills are some of the most technical skills you can ever learn.
There so many working principles to grasp both theoretical and practical.
This demands paying attention to even the most subtle of things.
Newbies trying to learn mixing and mastering will have it hard in the beginning because there’s a lot to learn, but it does get easier with time.
Requires a certain level of passion
People don’t just get into careers like mixing and mastering without being atleast passionate about music.
Which brings me to my next point.
Someone without the passion for music as a whole may find it hard to learn how to mix and master because it is hard work.
This is why these two skills are difficult to learn as compared to other skills that don’t really demand a lot on the part of passion.
You can only strive for near perfection
In mixing and mastering, there’s no such thing as perfection.
That’s why the professionals say things like “you can never have the perfect mix.
This is another reason why mixing and mastering is difficult.
You can never get to perfection which means that you’ll generally have to define your own idea of perfect when mixing or mastering.
With no sense of what the perfect mix is, most newbie sound engineers struggle with mixing and mastering until they do it long enough to know what is generally acceptable.
The right tools don’t come cheap
Mixing and mastering demands that you use the right tools to carry them out well.
This is necessary because using basic tools won’t get your mixes to sound professional or be of high quality unless you’re a seasoned pro that can make the best out of basic tools like plugins.
Some of these tools are quite pricey and without knowing what they are….they can be pretty difficult to find.
Not knowing the right tools to use, the pricey nature of tools like digital plugins and equipment are more reasons why mixing and mastering is hard.
Below are some things that you can do to have an edge and win at mixing and mastering.
Be open to learning
If you want to learn or become better at mixing and mastering. Don’t stop learning.
Always be open to learning new things and if you can, get input from those that are good at mixing and mastering.
Utilize as many educational resources as you can to improve your understanding and sharpen your skills.
Use forums to ask questions
If you’re a complete newbie or a novice in mixing and mastering, you should use forums to get your questions answered.
Forums are like the decentralised Google and you can pretty much solicit good ideas and information directly from people that mix and master.
Some good forums I recommend are Reddit and Quora.
Practice every day
Like any other skill. Practice makes perfect, spend your time working on your mixes and perfecting them.
If you continously strive to improve, you’ll start to notice some positive differences in your mixes.
Read as much as you can
There are so many great books surrounding mixing and mastering that can be beneficial to engineers at any stage.
Make sure you get your hands on these books and study them .
Intern for a seasoned engineer
Another great way to improve your abilities as sound engineer is to work closely with one.
You can offer to intern for a mix or master engineer and learn as much as you can.