Since I have two screens in my studio, the mixing setup is shown in the figure below. Here are some of my experiences, tips and tricks:
- I reserve mixing jobs for a separate day, on which I do nothing but mixing. Context-swapping between creating and mixing is very hard
- Don't mix more than 1 hour in one lapse - take oxygen breaks, take a walk, etc.
- Prepare your mix by exporting all VST instrument tracks as wav files and import them back in your mixing project. The mixing project should no longer contain VST tracks. I had the nasty experience earlier this week where the most recent version of a project would no longer open and I had not bounced its VST tracks. Bouncing your VST tracks will also protect your music against non-compatible VST instrument future versions.
- I use Group Tracks for drums, bass, guitar, lead synth, pads/strings, fills, lead vocals and backing vocals, and move the mixing view to the left screen (see below).
- create a mixing template with a rythm delay, space delay, 3sec plate reverb and large reverb - you'll use these FX on most of your tracks anyway
- The mixing itself. I try to work in 4 dimensions: volume, frequency, pan and FX. Frequency is, at least in my experience, the hardest one: detecting conflicting frequencies can be tought and requires full concentration. In the FX dimension, you can of course go as wild as you want, but for me, track-defining FX should be in BEFORE the mixing stage. During mixing, I add the 'pepper and salt'. Sometimes with some NI TheFinger or StutterEdit, both amazing products.
- Maybe the thing that works best for me is to approach mixing in iterations of 1 week: when I have a version of a mix of which I'm satisfied, I revisit it not earlier than 1 week (2 weeks is better ;-). You will be amazed by what a pair of fresh ears can hear on a track that you thought was OK... (I think this is called 'mixing bias')