Mark Needham Mixing Imagine Dragons


01h 54min


How To Mix A Platinum Selling Record

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Genre: Alternative Rock / Pop

Mark Needham is a Grammy nominated and multi-platinum mix engineer who has a track record for not only mixing hit records but also working early in the careers of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Killers, and Imagine Dragons. See how he uses his custom presets and a creative workflow to quickly set up an effortless mix of a massive session with layer upon layer of production.

Absorb how Mark works on each element of the mix with full transparency. Like a game of chess, every move he makes has a purpose and sets him up for success later in the mixing process. Learn from Mark's intuition that comes from over 35 years of experience working with superstar artists such as Chris Isaak, Shakira, Moby, Pink, and more.

"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons is certified 3x RIAA platinum and was the band's first Billboard Top 40 single. The song blurs the lines between genres and epitomizes the band's mix of alternative rock and pop that focuses on deep bass, strong drums, and powerful vocals.

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create epic sounding mixes that:

  • Identify and maximize the emotional impact and "hook" of a well written, recorded and produced song
  • Take an already powerful vocal performance to the next level with lead vocals that jump out of the speakers
  • Make a mix that's not just loud, but also punchy, clear and HUGE sounding
  • Use a blend of recorded and emulated ambiences to define the space for the entire mix
  • Quickly blend multiple kick drums and snare drums, combining several microphones and samples
  • Handle dozens of drum layers with clever parallel processing and channel strip plugins
  • Manage the low end information on not just bass drums and bass guitar tracks but also stomps, synths and room tracks
  • Combine keyboards, synths, electric and acoustic guitars that interweave and fit together like a sonic glove
  • Add the finishing touches to a mix with master bus automation and mix bus processing using multi-band compression and more

This is a unique chance to absorb Mark's unique mixing techniques and methods. Learn all the tricks he used to mix a hit song and then apply them to your own mixes!

PLUS you get access to the raw stems from the original session to practice and perfect all of the tips and techniques you'll pick up from Mark Needham and Imagine Dragons. Explore the tracks on your own! Please note: stem files are truncated and contain the un-mixed and consolidated wav files for every track in the original session from the intro to the 2nd verse.

Exercise files
Equipment & Software
  • Waves
    • SSL E-Channel
    • VEQ4
    • API 2500 Compressor
    • RBass
    • Doubler 2
    • Enigma
    • CLA-76
    • Kramer Tape
  • Universal Audio
    • EL7 Fatso Sr
    • Pultec EQP-1A
    • Maag EQ4
    • Manley Stereo Vari-Mu Limiter Compressor
    • Ocean Way Studios
    • Studer A800
    • API 560
    • UA 1176SE Legacy
    • Teletronix LA-2A
    • Neve 1081
    • SPL Twin Tube Processor
    • Precision De-Esser
    • Pultec Pro Legacy
    • EMT 250
    • Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor
    • SSL G Bus Compressor
    • Precision K-Stereo
    • Precision Equalizer
    • Ampex ATR-102
    • Precision Multiband
  • Soundtoys Decapitator
  • FabFilter Pro-C
  • FabFilter Pro-DS
  • Avid Revibe II
  • Plugin Alliance Vitalizer MK2-T
  • Eventide Omnipressor
  • McDSP MC303 Multi-Band
  • Amplitube 3
  • Altiverb XL
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Mark Needham

Mark Needham is an L.A. based record producer and mixer whose credits include a diverse array of internationally recognized superstar artists including The Killers, Fleetwood Mac, Imagine Dragons, Walk the Moon, Shakira, Pink, Moby, Dolly Parton, Chris Isaak and many more.

Mark is currently working in his studio "The Ballroom" in Hollywood, California.

Needham is a self-taught engineer how manages to stay on top of all the latest technologies and music genres. His mixing style is very versatile and ranges from The Killers' rock sound to Shakira's modern pop music.

Mark recently migrated from a 100% analog setup to a 100% digital rig using 2 Ravens side by side.

If you watch Mark's pureMix videos, you will see that his decision making process is very fast and that he has no problem handling gigantic sessions with more than 200 hundred tracks!


The Killers

Fleetwood Mac

Dolly Parton



Imagine Dragons

Featured Artists and Musics

Imagine Dragons are a Grammy Award-winning alt-rock outfit with a knack for crafting stylish, stadium-ready anthems as emotionally charged as they are radio-friendly. In 2012, Imagine Dragons hit it big with the Continued Silence EP and their debut long-player, Night Visions, the latter of which debuted at the number two spot on the Billboard 200 and landed the group multiple awards -- it later went double platinum in the U.S., largely on the smash success of "Radioactive," which became the biggest-ever digital rock track in America.

  • It's Time

What do you have to say?
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2021 Sep 02
A really „real world“ Video. Thank you
2020 Apr 06
Not liking this one. Lesson should start with aux routing to see the direction things are headed in. Instead we're needing to pause, rewind and study the channel strips repeatedly to figure out what's happened. You don't have to start with a specific template for every song, but he obviously has ideas about how he's building up the sound. Let's hear about that! Also—this goes for all Puremix—how they are approaching gain staging would be helpful. Lots of times I was setting the fader where he did, same plugs, but the sound wasn't the same. Not equal start levels or mix bus was.
2019 Feb 05
Really like Mark's style, workflow, and results. Great lesson, thanks!
2018 Oct 31
I think if you watch this and you’re not at an advanced level in your skills, it’s going to give you whiplash. Mark is fast. I’ve watched this 3 times and have absorbed so much great information. The complainers need to spend more time really watching with intent and stop complaining that it’s boring. I really love this course and will continue to reference it, especially since this music genre is exactly where I’m working right now. Thanks Mark! You’re amazing.
2018 Aug 10
Well, I don't know why, but I expected more than a guy reading me the values of his plugin chain. In my opinion, there are too few explanations of why he does what he does and how the routing in his session is really setup. So, Mark is definitel a very experienced mixer, but unfortunately this video just didn't teach me anything - at all... and let's be honest: the static mix he started with already sounded pretty finished to me!
2018 May 29
Ben I have a question.. after Mark is done, does he send it over to a mastering studio? And if yes, how is the procedure for the Mastering? Any Videos you can recommend on that? Love it! I would never have mixed that way! Learned so much!
Elton Collins
2018 Jan 26
Had my OCD all over the place for a minute, and I was wonderfully surprised how the mix turned out. What do I take away from this? ... There are many ways to skin a cat.
2017 Sep 17
I've seen many courses, seminars, including all the Mix With The Masters videos & this course by far ranks among the best 2 or 3 ever. Mark has phenomenal taste & effortless logic in his decision making throughout a mix. The plugins he used were top notch choices & when he pulled out the Precision K on the Mix Bus I knew he had serious game & knowledge about this sport. His levels were especially well done & loved the space he had left by the end of the mix. This was just very well done, guided by superior logic, knowledge of tools, of superior tastes. I Salute You.
2017 Jul 15
A couple of things I learned from this video: - Listen to rough for a bit, then EQ every channel in solo using presets - Boost, don't cut, at least three bands per track - Keep your faders low, where there is no resolution - Use compression on everything - Put reverb on the 2 bus Haha. Guess I also learned that vision and talent go a long way ;-) This video is not really a lesson like the rest (very little is explained), more a chance to look at someone working. Pretty valuable nonetheless. Thanks!
2017 Feb 24
@benlindell Any idea what those Neve 88RS plugins are doing on his +6 and +0 master faders (before the P Maximizers)? Looks like the +0 print track picks up some gain when comparing to the aux track master bus with all his processing. I'm wondering if that is coming from EQ boost in the Neve 88RS, or the P Maximizer, or both. Also, is the send output "1-2" on the master bus aux for him to monitor the master bus, +6, and +0 separately, or is that where you grabbed the audio for the tutorial? Wondering what we're hearing during the video. Thanks!
2017 Feb 24
Great video. So much to learn from someone with so much experience!
2017 Jan 18
What would he do without that SSL e channel ? Haha
2016 Dec 20
vaya cuanto talento! gracias maestro
2016 Nov 19
is it just me or are the ebo and other guitars missing from the stems? Great tutorial! So such progress in such a short amount of time.
2016 Oct 16
Lots of great stuff here. All tastefully done. Love howe he uses multi band compression to tame the cymbals on the room miss and the master bus. I need to watch this a couple more times I think. Its great that you get such masters to show us howe they work.
2016 Oct 09
Super! I loved this video Both the song and the way Mark lead us through the mix and his working process. Mark, please do more videos here.
2016 Sep 23
This tutorial is a perfect glimpse into the professional word of mixing! I love that Mark still works like he's on a console, but uses the power of technology to take flat sound and sculpt it into a musical masterpiece. Mark proves that a good mix is the sum of many subtle changes, watch closely and learn.
2016 Sep 21
Not bad. Quite dragging throughout... and he is not very clear in his descriptions of what he is doing. But not bad. I WILL say, however, that when someone sends me an acoustic that sounds this bad, I re-record it myself. There is absolutely no need to extremely compress anything to tape, especially an acoustic. Nothing can uncompress something other than re-recording it. Downloading these tracks and mixing them was fun -- worth the price of admission to puremix if you ask me. Hopefully the quality of these tutorials will increase.
2016 Sep 15
Amazing, all work well, i'm happy))) Because i'm doing mixing right now and really needed some tricks. Thank you!
2016 Sep 15
Guys, this video can change all the way that you work on mix. Is a great tutor, but when it's so need, is not working, so sad) Hope you will fix it guys. God bless you)
2016 Sep 06
Hey Ben great video. Thanks to the Puremix team for putting this out. An issue..I was wondering if anything got lost during the transfer of the audio...I can't hear the musical contents high mids and highs clearly on my speakers (Focal Twins). I checked it with the retail version of the song and the difference is pretty huge. I don't think its the mastering; I might be wrong.
2016 Sep 05
Hey everyone, Ben from pureMix here. Our video player and Safari aren't getting along at the moment so it's only loading the mobile resolution unless you have Flash enabled. We're working on the fix as we speak and in the meantime please try using Firefox or Chrome and you'll have access to the 1080p playback. Apologies for the inconvenience.
2016 Aug 27
@Gary - Very good question, I have a pretty good idea of how he's doing it but Mark would be best to explain it. In fact, he's doing a Q&A over on Gearslutz next week, you should ask him about it there -
Gary Ambrosino
2016 Aug 27
Very specific question - I hope someone can comment - Fab ? Ben ? Mark ? In the mix bus section. I see two Master faders I assume being fed by the Mix Bus which all the channels are feeding. First time I've seen two master faders - is this a gain staging thing ? Mark mixes all the tracks at very low levels. Second, I don't see how the masters are being fed - there is no input bus to these faders. Seems to be an important part of Mark's workflow - would like some more detail on this.
2016 Aug 25
Amazing tutorial!i loved that he used minimal plug ins and despite a few extreme eqs, most of his moves were subtle! A great mix is the sum of hundreds of subtleties and he demonstrated this to a T. This really solidified the thought process for me when i'm mixing and he taught me to trust my instinct more.
2016 Aug 24
Way too complicated and too much time spent on the claps (as just one example). His mix obviously works, but the video puts me to sleep.
2016 Aug 23
This tutorial has changed my entire knowledge of mixing from 30% to 70%... Thanks Mark Needham
2016 Aug 22
Wow. I'm finding this very confusing without knowing how he's got all his tracks and busses routed. so many plugins on so many auxes, etc. just on the snare and kick! :-)
2016 Aug 22
Very nice tutorial indeed. All these micro changes really bring out the best of the recording!
Gary Ambrosino
2016 Aug 21
Hey Mark, where is your Needham Rockets t-shirt ?
Dominik Aster
2016 Aug 20
One of the best Tutorials I have seen! He is so cool!
2016 Aug 19
I loved how Mark sculpts this incredibly dense mix into a transparent beefy track. The power of the SSL Channel strip is greatly demonstrated in this video:)