This is a real struggle, my friend. All too often, as composers, we spend our time writing down our ideas, performing in our melodies using our favourite sample libraries, and painstakingly orchestrating every line until it sounds realistic.
But somehow, it still sounds cluttered and messy.
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. So why does this happen?
It could be one or more of the following: frequency masking, unrealistic volume balance, inconsistent panning, and microphone positioning, to name a few. In short, the ear can very easily pick up what sounds cohesive and authentic, and what doesn't.
At this point, it's so easy to begin tweaking knobs, moving faders, and applying plugins to every track, hoping that each decision will fix the overall mix in a big way.
Guess what: it's actually the small details that make the biggest difference. And the best part is, it's SIMPLE.
You might be asking, "Well if it's so simple, why do so many tracks sound amateurish, lifeless, and unbalanced?"
The thing is, you might know exactly what tools to use in your mix, and how they all work. But without a structured plan, you're asking for trouble.