When I started on the main mix, now only 10 tracks, instead of 90, I was able to reach my goal/vision a lot faster as well. No more of, “maybe I should push the snare up by another db” or “that hi hat needs some more upper mids”. Instead, I had to listen to the drums in its entirety.
This is a really good point. Deliberately limiting your choices is not about working with one hand tied behind your back. It’s about listening differently and thinking differently about how you get from A to B. It’s a different experience.
Limiting your choices without considering the effect this has on the way you listen and work is counterproductive. It’d be like replacing your comfy studio chair with a bicycle seat. Sure, it’s a limitation, but it’s just going to end up being a pain with no reward.
Erik Magrini also recently wrote about a similar experience:
As you can see, this song has only about 12 tracks in total, which I find is about the limits of where my iPad4 starts to geel slow when navigating Auria. I can certainly playback more tracks than this with no problems, but things like zooming and moving around the arrange page starts to lag. Rather than deal with the frustrations of that, I just aim to keep to a simpler song structure.
The limitations on track count forced Erik to make the most out of what he had, rather than simply keep adding more and more layers. The result is a difference aesthetic, but not necessarily a worse one.