The Best Way To Start Your Mixes (Ft. Stephen Kelly of Understanding Audio)

HEY GANG! I hope you’re all doing well and having a fantastic week before Christmas!

I’m super excited today because my great friend, Stephen Kelly of has been kind enough to create a wonderful video and article for us entitled “The Best Way To Start Your Mixes”. Stephen is an amazing audio engineer living in London and he is a bit of an expert when it comes to using reference tracks in our mixes. Stephen and I are constantly chatting and exchanging ideas about everything audio related (and plenty of stuff NOT, haha).

The point is, we’re very lucky to have Stephen come on an grace us with an amazing video that has some special insight when it comes to starting our mixes using reference tracks. I highly implore you to go and head over to when you’re done watching and reading and take advantage of grabbing his free e-book on using reference tracks. I have it, love it, and have learned a ton already from Stephen. So, again, a big thanks to Stephen. The rest is from Stephen in his own words. I hope you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I want you to think about how you start your mixes. No, I’m not talking about setting up your session, editing, phase alignment or other mix prep activities. While I know they’re the most exciting part of mixing for you (I joke), I want you to think about what you do after that point.

If you start playing with plugins, then I’d highly suggest you get your faders and pan pots balanced first. Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle against time and efficiency from the start. If you’re already experienced at setting up a good fader mix, then I’ve something to share with you that comes before you even touch the faders in your session.

What am I talking about?

Referencing. The most underused way to advance your mixing and get your mixes finished quicker.

In this video I’m going to show you the why and how of reference tracks. More importantly, I’m going to show you how most people misuse them or don’t use them to their full potential. You’ll be surprised when you realize you might be doing the same.

Check it out and leave me lots of comments and questions. I’ll happily answer them and help you out.
Not only that, but Pete and I have decided to give you my guide – ‘The One Hack That Guarantees A Unique, Pro Sounding Mix’ completely FREE as a thank you for supporting Mix Better Now. This guide expands on the ideas in this video and gives you video links to further tutorials on how to implement the one, unique hack.

Now, I’d like to know…

Do YOU use reference mixes at the start of your mixing sessions or do you use them later in the process?

Leave a comment below!

– Stephen Kelly from