Well, I have read tons of stuff about sound engineering, specifically mixing and mastering on the internet. Since I mix and master my songs in my DAW, while I'm mixing sometimes I face bunch of knobs that I don't know their exact functionality and I change them and listen to the change to get the desired fix. I was wondering if there are free resources out there in which teach you the principles of mixing and mastering the right way! Because reading random tutorials on the net which are only applicable to a specific situation won't help that much. I'm just looking for resources which will teach you the correct and standard ways of mixing songs rather than playing with bunch of plugins to get the desired result.
Hmm well, mixing is by nature a try and error procedure. Think of it like a function with an input and some output.
The reason i put it this way is because the engineer knows the a lot of functions with the desired output based on the given input.
For example there are a lots of bass recording techniques and after that some more mixing techniques and goes on. Only if you solidify the steps one by one you'll be able to achieve an outcome that you were aiming for in the first place.
So surely one way is learning a lot of stuff and keeping what you want cause everyone has a certain sound in his head and thats the beauty of it.
An experienced engineer would think "ok i have a rock group in front of me i should give a bit of distortion to the bass to pop out in the recording and give some nice compression and character. " but that means that he knows 10 different ways to produce a good sound on the bass and a good sound overall based on any given material..
How did he learn that? By trying out stuff and experimenting on many different styles/bands/musicians.
But now to the main advice.
All musicians or music related people have influences. Those apply to the broad spectrum of music production from composition to mastering.
So start researching your favorite bands sound, and who made it. Was it Steve Albini? Was it Rick Rubin? And goes on.. All these guys have talked about their techniques here and there. So you'll create a number of topics to cover that aim to the sound in your head which is influenced by those guys!
The only problem here is that these guys don't talk about the basics, no one will tell you how the compressor works, and I'm pretty sure a good amount of these guys might not even "know" , but digital mixing being a clinical tool doesn't provide that analog feel on things, turning a knob and just listening to the result, be it compression or EQ if it sounds good keep going.
So start following your heroes, and keep learning the basics, at each learning curve milestone you feel you've achieved, go back and decrypt what X producer said.
It needs time, passion and a healthy set of ears!
There's no very right or wrong way(except if you mix without monitors in your bathroom).
Just do it, keep doing it and then do it some more when you've finished start over :D
Bro, it's a looong journey. There are no short cuts, and you'll never learn it all. But you can learn to be a competent mixer and recording artist. Forget mastering for the time being. Mastering is a very advanced craft only carried out by accomplished time-served sound engineers. You'll just end up frustrated. The first step is to learn all the 'boring stuff', sound principals, digital sampling etc. Read some beginner to intermediate books. Above all though have fun.