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EM Editor's Note: Learning to Let Go

June 1, 2011

How many of you are guilty of over-mixing? You know the drill: You''re done. You walk away for a day. You come back, you make a few tweaks. You take another break, then you come back and tweak some more . . . and so the cycle goes.

Creative people have a deep emotional connection to their work. And these days, everyone from weekend warriors in bedroom studios to the pros at the top have an unprecedented arsenal of quality tools at their disposal, making it easier than ever to drill deep into the details and process to perfection. But our obsession with technology should not distract us from our relationship with our music. The technology itself is not to blame, of course: It''s the process. I''m certainly not saying that “good enough” should be good enough, or that revisiting mixes with fresh ears, in fresh listening environments, isn''t essential. But with everything, there''s a point of diminishing returns. Just because you can, say, manipulate crossfade curves all day long, it doesn''t necessarily mean that you should. Your tools serve your process, which serves your song—not the other way around.

So, how do you break out of the cycle? I believe that the answer lies in finding confidence. If you trust that you''re good at what you do, and you stay true to the music, everything else will fall into place. Sometimes imperfection is what makes something beautiful. Recognizing that is one of the best skills that you can have.

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