The feeling of starting a fresh mix is hard to match. You’ve edited the recording session, grinded through some and arrangement issues, and debated endlessly over instrument and gear choices. Finally you have all the pieces to the recording puzzle together in the box and you’re itching to put them together in mixing. You import bounces from your recording session into a fresh session, ready for some right brain mix work when suddenly the left brain kicks in and reminds you of all the routing, send set-up, gain staging and plugin hunting you’ll have to do before getting to the good stuff.
If you have ever identified with this feeling, you’re not alone. In the past, I dealt with this exact mental struggle. I'd get myself excited for a mix, take forever setting everything up, and lose motivation when it was finally needed, often result in a long break or a complete halt on the project. The flip between creativity and task work wore my inspiration down. It prevented me from being able to enter the creative zone early. When I finally was motivated, it was never with the same passion that I had originally felt when entering the mix. Truthfully, there were times after setting up a session that I’d go days without reopening it, simply because I was never as excited to jump into the mix as I was the first time. I knew there had to be a better way, and I discovered my answer through template mixing.
Template mixing allowed me to get down to the good stuff as soon as possible. I packed my template full of tools that I could use right away. Instantly I was translating objectives into assessments. If my mix moves didn’t help, I didn't feel at a loss for time, energy, or creativity. This allowed me to stretch beyond a “good enough mix,” to a place of experimentation and creativity. Even writing this now feels counterintuitive to say but the structure of the template allowed me to think less rigidly. I suppose in this sense, the template structure provided a space to contain the fluidity of creativity, much like a cup does to water.
If you can relate to this story in any way, I encourage you to try template mixing. The video below can give you a little more insight into what a template can include. I have also released a free course called, "The Mix Template Cheat Sheet," which aims to help you build a template through the dissection of mine. The cheat sheet is nearly 100 pages long and contains all of my routing and plugin choices, with go-to starting points for everything. Included in the free download is my actual Logic X template file with all the plugins removed, allowing you to use what plugins you have available. If you are not a Logic user, don't worry, this cheat sheet is still extremely useful for you. As long as you understand the basics of your DAW software, the cheat sheet can build a template framework of your own.