The Top Ten Tips for Sonic Excellence features an interview with mastering engineer Art Sayecki. Art offers advice, from a professional’s perspective, for indie artists looking to improve their own mixing and engineering skills:
Keep your mixes balanced and not too bright or too bassy. Shoot for soft highs and tight basses. Don’t try to get the CD-Quality sound at the mixing studio. Let professional mastering do the rest.
Tip #10, in particular, is a favorite of mine: Hire a mastering engineer to critique your mixes before you send them to be mastered:
Most artists understand that if you involve a great producer in your songwriting you may benefit from his/her input in terms of song structure, melody or lyrics. But they don’t understand that involving a mastering engineer in the mix may have a similar positive effect on the mix… When you get the initial mixes ready, run them by an experienced mastering engineer and ask for his/her input. In most cases it only takes one to two hours to go into details over every song on a CD. So you are looking at $75-150 for this service, but it can save you a ton of grief and money later on.