Some people have a quick listen and begin adjusting the knobs and some others build up the mix step by step.
I have to admit that I like the “step by step” technique.
The most common order to add your instruments is:
1) Kick and Bass
2) Drums: snare drum, hi-hat, overheads, toms etc
3) Rhythm instruments: rhythm guitar, keyboard rhythms
4) Lead vocals
5) Lead instruments
6) Background and harmony vocals
2)First, bring up the bass and keep it as a reference point. Make sure your bass is slammed against the compressor and put it so that the peaks are at -18dB (Never move the fader again). At this point, if the bass is too quiet at -18db, turn your monitors louder. If the bass gets buried under all the other instruments later on, Don’t bring the bass up, instead bring everything else down.
3)Next add the vocals, so that they cut through the bass but don’t overpower it. If you don’t have any vocals in the mix yet, skip this phase and move on to step 4.
4) Now bring up the kick and really focus on the low end of the mix to make sure your kick isn’t competing with the bass or killing each other out. If they are, do something about it. You can either sidechain the kick to the bass or you can use Sender’s tip here: http://mixingtips.org/mixing-tips/how-to-make-your-kick-drum-and-bass-guitar-sit-nicely-in-a-mix/
5)Next add the overheads so that you hear a nice balance between the kick and the cymbals.
6)Now to add the guitars. They have to cut through the mic, but not overpower anything else. If they cut through the mix only by overpowering something else, do something about the guitar tone.
7)Then add the snare. Again, make sure it cuts through the mix but doesn’t overpower the mix. If it doesn’t cut through the mix without hitting the limiter, do something about it. Usually the bottom Snare mic helps a lot.
8 )Now, add everything else to taste.
9)After you have done all this, I would suggest you Group everything so that it’s much easier to make small adjustments. This step isn’t necessary but it’s recommended.
10) Finally, take a break. at least a couple minutes. Eat something, watch TV, surf the net. Come back to your mix and take another listen. Tweak until it sounds good, but make sure to take breaks, If you don’t, you’ll get ear fatigue and everything will start to sound different causing you to make unnecessary changes…which will make your mix sound bad. Continue making changes, taking a break, making changes, taking another break until satisfied.