Are there too many ideas in your production?
The genius of production is in making sure that the range of frequencies that exist in the song are working together to create a focused sonic picture.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. Antoine de Saint-Exubery
A common mistake is the misconception that adding more and more ideas to a song will make it better. But imagine a meal with too many ingredients or a drawing or painting with no space in it. With cluttered recordings no amount of mixing or mastering will help, especially if the midrange of a track is choka.
In the old days of analogue it was harder to over cook a track due to the limitation of the amount of available tracks. With digital recording and unlimited tracks and software instruments it’s just too easy to keep chucking stuff in.
Sometimes the best productions just have a few elements in them and the space around them can create ghost notes and unintended effects. Because there are just a few elements it becomes more important that each one sounds great as there’s nowhere to hide.
A lot of elements can exist together in a production if both the notes in the instruments are voiced well, and the frequencies of the instruments compliment each other. If it’s done right the track can still seem dynamic and spacious, but it requires real skill to juggle a lot of elements, like in orchestral arrangements.
Some experimentation is usually necessary to get to those special nuggets that belong in the track and there is a process of trying things out to hear if they work, but it’s dangerous to get too attached to all your ideas so try and bear this in mind when putting your production together. Keep only the essential parts and let your track breathe!