Mixing with an Avantone Mixcube is Like Using a Microscope

I bought an Avantone Mixcube to use for mono mixing last month and I used it to mix a song for the first time over the weekend.

I had the song mixed to the point where I thought it sounded pretty good on my KRK5s when I decided to flip to mono playback on the Mixcube.

Right off I noticed all kinds of things that I hadn’t noticed when mixing in stereo on the KRK5s. It was like putting my mix under a microscope. At first I was a bit deflated by how terrible my mix sounded in mono on the Mixcube but then I realized this is a good thing, it’s giving me a chance to hear what’s wrong so I can fix it.

There were timing issues between two guitar parts that weren’t really obvious when they were spread left & right but when they were laid on top of each other it was a bit of a mess. I didn’t have time to re-record for this particular project so I used Melodyne‘s quantization to tighten up the timing until it sounded good (but I didn’t push the quantization so far that it sounds robotic.)

I also used EQ more aggressively because I was trying to get the different parts to sit comfortably on top of each other in mono (which is of course much more difficult than when you have the advantage of stereo.)

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I muted a couple of tracks that I realized weren’t adding enough interest to make up for the mess they were adding to the mix.

Once I had it sounding how I wanted on the Mixcube I switched back over the KRK5s and I was instantly blown away by how great my mix sounded. It was a clear improvement over where it was at before. All the parts were clear and it really packed a punch as well.

At this point I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be doing a lot of my mixing in mono. It really does feel like using a microscope to me, it just seems to make it so easy to see (hear) where the problems are and if you know where the problems are, you can correct them.

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