What to do about these mixing messes I get myself into

Ok I need some counseling from y’all. First, I’m an artist. I love creating. I get inspired and I want to record! I want to rap, sing, play, and vibe with the music I’m making. And as I’m doing this, I don’t want to mess around with technical headaches and pedantic crap. So as I create I slice, dice, duplicate, clone, etc etc my audio tracks without thinking much about groups, order, organization, etc. By the time the song’s done it’s just a big mess in the arrangement window. I’ve captured all my ideas but the mix is cluttered and noisy and requires a ton of cleanup. The cleanup is very very time consuming…. and sometimes in the process of cleaning it up the vibe and groove is lost. Does anyone else create and mix like this or am I an outlier? Anyway, there’s got to be a better way to create and at the same time not create a mess for myself. Any and all insights and suggestions appreciated.


I don’t know if my reflection will be useful to you, but I will share it with you anyway.

The creation process and the mixing process are actually two totally different processes. It is true that when one is in that of creation, there is always a certain mixing which is done, but it remains raw and cannot be regarded as definitive.

When I compose, I dedicate myself totally to this task. When I consider this process complete, I detach from it to dedicate myself to preparing the mix. I will convert everything to stereo or mono audio track. Clean all audio tracks of unnecessary noise and eliminate any volume that seems excessive if necessary (gain staging on parts of the audio tracks). I will take the time for each track to establish a sound level that will leave me enough room level. All this preparation will become a new Cubase file with only audio tracks and that takes time.

I have a mix template containing all groups, subgroups, auxiliaries, effects tracks, busses, etc. with all the predefined audio VSTs for each task that I will need for mixing. I import this template into my Mix Preparation file and assign the audio tracks of my compositions to the various busses, I will create new busses if necessary. This is also part of the preparation process and takes a lot of time.

When all the preparation is done, the mixing process can start after taking a break. I never do the mixing on the same day as the preparation. I need to take a distance before undertaking the final mix.

All of this takes time. However, if you make your living creating music and are in charge of mixing your creations, you need to find a way to maximize and profit from all these processes. It’s up to you. Otherwise, the time is yours and you take all the time you need to arrive at a satisfying end product.

Passion, Patience and Perseverance. I think that’s the key to success…
Good Luck!

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When you get to the point where everything is a mess and you need to clean it up, pay attention to the variety of different tasks you need to perform as part of that cleanup. You’ll likely find that a few of those tasks happen over and over again. Are there things you can do to avoid creating those tasks in the first place?

A thoughtfully designed Template built around your specific work habits can do wonders in reducing busy-work. For example, if adding new Tracks ad hoc during the Project is the cause of some mess then maybe increasing the number and variety of Tracks in your Template helps. Or say editing and arranging lots of Audio Events becomes a tangled mess. You could create 10 Audio Tracks colored yellow that are all routed to a yellow Group Channel, and another set in blue, green, purple, etc. Then when you are editing you can visually see what’s going where.

Not suggesting these are solutions for you. Rather step back and look for the root causes that create messes in your world and then see if there are structural things you can do in your Template that will discourage rather than encourage the messiness.

It sounds like you’re purposely sabotaging yourself! If you want to share your creations they need to be mixed and mastered. Think through to a release and you’re more likely to set yourself up as you start in the writing and recording stage.

Or just use a recording studio :wink:


No, I’m definitely not purposely sabotaging myself. It’s just that I don’t want to take a lot of time in the beginning, - when inspiration strikes I just want to start recording and I dont want to think about all of the technicalities and organizational parts of mixing and mastering