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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 3 of 27

Mixing Fundamentals

Joey Sturgis

Mixing Master Class

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

3. Mixing Fundamentals

Lesson Info

Mixing Fundamentals

So what are the elements of the mix? And these are really the tools that we use. So you have your tone, which is made up of EQ, saturation, and character. And I think EQ and saturation combined sort of decide the character of your tone. Then you've got balance. So this is your volume ranking, this is your blend. This is how loud are your drums in comparison to your bass? How loud are the guitars in comparison to the lead guitars? How loud is the vocal in comparison to the music? Then you have your dynamics. You've got volume, movements, compression, expansion, and limiting. And I'll explain the differences between those later. Spatial. Position, the width. Where is everything in the sonic field? And then effects. Delay, reverb, modulation, chorus flanger, those kind of things. So these are the basic elements of a mix. Anything that you do in mixing a song is gonna be one of these things. So let's talk about the linear versus non-linear tools. So EQ is a linear tool. And what do I mean ...

by this? EQ is like a static filter, like a mask. It doesn't fluctuate. So if you add treble, then that track has more treble for the whole thing, every adjustment that you make. Compression is non-linear, so this is moving around. If you increase the input to the compressor, it reacts differently. If you decrease the input to the compressor, it changes the outcome. So that's non-linear. That's always dynamically changing and moving around. Then you got position, your panning in the field. So if you're on the left speaker, that doesn't change until you move it. So that's a linear thing. Modulation, that's non-linear. So if you have a chorus effect, the pitch is moving around and it will change based on what's coming into it. So basically a mix is a very dynamic thing and it's very non-linear, but it's made up of linear and non-linear elements. So it's a combination of linear and non-linear tools working together to create a dynamic sound. So at this point, this is a good point to take any questions if there are any, because I'm about to dive in to each element and work through. Cool, yeah, we definitely have some questions. This one had a few votes in regards to writing and points. User such and such, they didn't put a unique name, when you produce an album and you add or change arrangements, such as adding keyboards or extra guitars, is that considered writing? Should you ask for points? So, I think if you're-- This is something that you do have to decide between you and the artist because there is kind of an interesting idea of well, what actually is writing, what actually is producing? It depends. That's the answer. It depends on who you're working with. So I would say I tend to think that if you're working on an arrangement and the band is trusting your opinion, then that is worth points because they've come to you because of your expertise and you have a very informed and educated opinion on how the song should be arranged, and they're trusting you with that opinion, so that's worth the points. Now, if you're actually playing instruments and adding it to the song and it's becoming a part of the song, then absolutely yes that is 100% point-worthy, for sure. Great. We got one more question here from online. How do you suggest going through the whole process? What do you look to begin with first? The process of mixing? Yeah. Okay, so we will cover that but basically the very beginning of the process starts with understanding the job, understanding the song, and understanding the person. Those are the three main points that you have to know. Who are you working with, what are their expectations, what do they think mixing is? What kind of song is it? Is it something that is made up of a bunch of stuff recorded with microphones or it is a bunch of raw signals like DIs and MIDI notes and things like that? And then also, what is the goal? So are you trying to create a song that sounds larger than possible? So you're gonna be adding snare samples and extra guitar parts? Or do they just want you to take the recording and make it sound good? Those are completely different jobs and I think the starting point of all this is the communication between the mixer and the client. And the other thing too is, to keep in mind, there should be a reference mix. And to keep that in sight of your vision. So you don't wanna lose the vision of what the producer and the band had created together. They might've spent, who knows how long, a whole month, putting this song together and if you don't listen to the reference mix, then how will you know what planet you're even on? They have put this together very specifically so you definitely wanna pay attention to the reference mix. At least that's my school of thought because how can you-- The only way to get up to speed and be on the same level as the band and the producer is to hear that reference mix and know what they were sort of going for and to feed off of it.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His sound is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in this class, he’ll show you the unique mixing techniques that are key to getting it.

This class picks up where Joey’s Studio Pass class left off: you’ve got your session tracked and edited, now how do you turn it into a polished, world-class mix? 

He’ll show you how to get his signature sound, including: 

  • EQ and compression strategies for drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and synths/effects 
  • How to use automation to fix problem areas and bring out the song’s dynamics 
  • Tons of little tips and tricks to take your mix from good to great 

If you want to elevate the quality of your mix, don’t miss Mixing Master Class with Joey Sturgis.



I don't work exclusively in the same genre as Joey but I always make sure to clear my schedule when he's on CreativeLive. This class definitely didn't disappoint and it was awesome getting to see Joey work on a track from start to finish and what his approaches and thought processes are. And not only that, but I appreciate that he briefly touches on client communication in regards to production, mixing, etc, and the business side to the mixing process as this is an area I'm just now dipping my toes in. Even though I often find myself on the rock, indie or post-rock side of things, a lot of these ideas can apply to anything you're working on and I definitely picked up some ideas to try and work on myself. Joey gives you enough to inspire you and make that light bulb click and does it with an admirable humility that I respect. He gives you more than enough on how and why he does what he does, but I never feel like he reveals all his secrets or magic; I honestly prefer it that way as it leaves a fun challenge of taking the ideas you've learned and figuring out how, when and where you're going to use them in your own mixes. Especially if you're not doing predominantly metal, like I am. The ideas are inspiring. This class isn't about those perfect settings to that phenomenal mix or tone; it's about why you do this and how you do that. It's cool to be able to watch his process and pick his brain, start to finish and all in the box. Joey definitely doesn't need to do these classes for us, but the more I see him getting active on social media the more I get this vibe that he genuinely wants to help make the creative and mixing processes easier and help us expand our knowledge and skills. I get that it's smart business, but I respect and appreciate the hell out of him for taking time to do these classes and answer our questions... Even if there are shameless plugs here and there. I love when these great engineers take time to show us you don't need school, you don't need thousands of dollars of outboard gear, etc. It's your ear, not your gear. We live in an amazing day and age with the Internet and awesome resources like CreativeLive. I love it and these are great classes to watch and get in their heads. It set gets the hamster wheel in my head spinning and I always keep CreativeLive classes on my calendar. They're motivating and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one!


I’ll start off by saying this a amazing class not just for those looking for or interested in “The Sturg” production, but for anyone interested in mixing or mastering. You get everything from the must have fundamentals and basics of mixing and production, to the more advance technical aspects, and of course Joey’s personal approach and method to mixing. Everything from EQ, to compressors, multiband compressors, automation and chain signals. If you ever wondered whether you should place delay in front of your reverb, or reverb in front of delay, or other common chain effects, chances are they get answered in this class. The class is organized in several lessons following a logical order, each covering different topics. All the techniques are shown with examples and Joey does a great job of making it easy to understand and follow as well as explain the reasoning behind the techniques. And it’s not just mixing or production that is covered, but the importance of good songwriting, good communication with artists and good workflow. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to take their mixing or production to the next level. Regardless of skillset, if you’re a noob, intermediate or advanced mixer or producer, you’ll find very helpful and informative lessons, regardless of what style or genre you do.

a Creativelive Student

I own both of Joey`s courses. While both are full of useful information to get you started in the audio production world with lots of good technical explanation and awesome concepts for a fast and individual workflow, Joey actually comes up with average or "mediocre" mixes and tones. If you want some really detailed information about how Joey works, this class is for you. If you want to know what plugins Joey likes to use and wanna see him promote his own plugins, this class is for you! If you expect to learn how to create or come up with outstanding guitar and bass tones (which Joey is famous for) you won`t learn much and won`t hear anything in this particular regard, unfortunately. However, I`d still recomment them, especially the first course he did but again, if you expect to hear a typical Joey Sturgis mix quality, you won`t find what you`re looking for.