The components that make a great song are very subjective. What a person likes is what they like, regardless of how it is recorded and mixed. Regardless, there are some general trends that people tend to look for and enjoy in their audio mixes, even if they don’t realize it. Here are some of the components that you can take advantage of to make your audio mix more interesting...
The first thing that an audio engineer can do to make a song sound more involved for the listener is add a degree of dynamic range. What this means, in music, is that the quietest parts of the track and the loudest parts of the track have a wide variance between them. Typically, it’s a more enjoyable listening experience when a song has a wide dynamic range.
Dynamic range presents a series of problems, though! First of all, if a person is going to listen to this song when they are doing things in their home, or when driving in their car, then the quietest parts of a track are at risk of falling beneath the white noise of a person’s day-to-day life. In addition, the compression that is required to get songs out on Spotify and similar music distribution companies can be constrictive. Generally, more compression means that the quiet parts of a track are brought up to create less data between them and the louder parts of the mix.
When audio engineers are new and inexperienced, they are bound to make a lot of mistakes in their mixes (or else not know what mistakes to fix for the sound they want). Another common issue among less experienced audio engineers, though, is that they develop the knowledge to clean up their tracks, but don’t know when to lay off.
Experienced and skilled audio engineers know that there are times when the imperfections in a vocal recording add a warmth and saturation to the music that can’t be injected through audio software. Sometimes, the flaws in a recording are the parts that a person is going to connect with, most. The trick is in recognizing which flaws to fix, and which to leave.