Mike has done such an awesome job with our first Mixoff contest, so I thought I'd start this forum with a discussion of his great book:Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
The book has some great info, including control room setup, monitor selection, and lots of great tips for processing, etc.
The part of the book that I personally found most valuable was the portion about referencing to commercial works. My typical way to 'reference' commercial works was to listen to a few things from my collection, then start mixing. If I felt lost, I would go back and listen to some commercial tracks again, and see what sounded weird. But I rarely would go so far as to get specific reference tracks from the band, or buy them myself, and I'd never gone so far as to create project for the purpose of comparing my mix to the commercial references. This step, while a little laborious, can truly open your eyes to the shortcomings of your mix. It requires a little bit of mastering touch, to get things in the ballpark, but just hearing how your vocals are too quiet or loud, or the overall tonality is too mid-heavy, or what have you is priceless.
I remember years ago spending hours and hours in studios listening to Nirvana's Nevermind, trying to figure out how they got some of those tones. We were focused on the tracking side, but the idea was the same.
Anyone who has read the book, please chime in, and try to give specific examples, or questions, rather than 'I liked it!'