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Author Topic: The Great Mixing Dilemma  (Read 20885 times)

compasspnt

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2005, 03:58:37 pm »

jfrigo wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 09:29

An outside mixer is not necessarily a bad thing if there is a producer or artist involved to explain the vision and the plan from tracking. I think the people involved in a long tracking process can get too close to a project and get ideas stuck in their heads that may not be best for the music. We should be open to altering our pre-conceptions. At the same time, one most likely can't come in at the end with no direction at all and just "get it."

I think more people should welcome the fresh perspective, but it should be accompanied by some direction, either in person, or at least through good notes and feedback early on. A mixer who is uncommunicative is the wrong person to hire. And I think committing to certain things in tracking is definitely a good idea. So many people don't have a clear vision and the project is a mess when it comes time to mix. The session should be well enough produced as to make certain mix intentions clear. It also helps the overdubs fit better when the existing tracks are already cohesively supporting the ultimate vision. This doesn't mean that experimentation and happy accidents aren't welcome, but it does mean that you should not be saying after every take, "I don't know. Let's just do this for now and figure it out later."



Yes, you are exactly right...for everyone else.  As for me, I am perfect, so I won't need that...




Edit:  Just kidding, of course!
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compasspnt

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2005, 04:00:11 pm »

J.J. wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 13:48

...

artist: Can you do something about the guitar sound?

me: Sure, I'm dealing with the kick at this moment. I'll get to that in a bit.

artist: And we need more reverb on the vocal.

me: Right.  There's no reverb yet.  Let me finish dialing in this one thing nd I'll get to that eventually.

artist: Do you think the snare is too boxy?...


Do you have a bug in my control room?
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j.hall

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2005, 04:20:09 pm »

Fibes wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 07:41


i have also witnessed train wrecks that were merely different train wrecks than i would have brought to the table being burnt out and rushed on the project.



hey, i resemble that remark.............................

anyway.....

i've been a mixer for hire for a few years now.  didn't plan it this way it just happened.  i still cut records from time to time but for the most part, low budget indie rock records keep landing at my door for mixing.  i stopped fighting it 3 years ago and just went with it.

i work on records that have a TOTAL budget of 1k - 10k.  so that should keep my fees, and "status" in perspective.

i got sick of renting full studios to mix and having to get bands pay a room rate and my rate, so i built a mix only room about a year ago.

so, coming from my perspecitve i can only add this.

i believe myself to be a fresh perspective into a project.  i have yet to be told that i make the same sounding record over and over, and i have yet to mix any record the same.  my room is very humble (i run out of patch cables nearly every time) and i'm gaining clients rapidly.

i think finding a mixer that can approach music as art (not saying i do, or can) is the key element.  you get so close to a project that you just can't see the forrestt through the trees anymore.  

i've remixed records for bands for literally pennies just because the originals were so awful and they were out of budget, i liked the music and agreed to TRY and help.  

personally, i feel as though the day you convince yourself that you're work is good, is the day you can no longer make a record.

i haven't mixed a single record in my short 8 year career that i've been happy with, or even liked the end mix for that matter.

i think my point here is this.  creating a "be all end all" way of making records is a giant mistake.  if you say, "i'll never hire a mixer", you just cut off a whole set of "tools" that might be the perfect choice some day.

i personally think the biggest problem in record production today is the mindset that things HAVE to be done a certain way.

we have to edit the drums to flawless tempo perfection, the vocals MUST be autotuned......

i say, stop thinking about these "rules" and start listening to the art, let the art be the guiding light.

i've destroyed more brilliant tracks trying to create a vibe that got edited out then i can stomach.

and i've cursed not having sound replacer for the AWFUL basement recordings then i want to remember.

SERVE THE ART....if that means paying a lowly guy like me to mix your record, i'm sure my son will be happy he gets to eat that day cause his mixer dad finally got hired.

that being said, i'm disgusted at what some of these big name guys charge for mixing.  they mop the floor with me, but come on.....it's just INSANE to continue paying those rates.
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Greg Dixon

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2005, 06:17:38 pm »

I too, don't let clients stay in the room when I mix. Doing that, probably improved my mixes more than anything else (not to mention my sanity Shocked) !

Some clients get concerned about not being in there with me, but there's never been a problem, as I've done the tracking and know what needs doing. One of the great things about doing it this way, is that quite often, the come in and say that it sounds even better than they were expecting. If I didn't track it, it's a different story.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2005, 07:07:43 pm »

Jason, I have to take issue with you saying, when "you feel as though the day you convince yourself that you're work is good, is the day you can no longer make a record."  

There are many projects I've done where I didn't know what it was going to sound like going in, and I came out the other end with a result that tickled me shitless.  Pleased as punch, even.  Of course, not every project makes me feel that way and sometimes I feel one way and the artist feels differently.  However, if I didn't derive satisfaction from the end result, I couldn't do this for a living, because knowing that I'm good at it is part of why I love doing it.

I love to listen to some things I've done, and sometimes I love it except for one little thing.  Case in point: The reason I always keep reiterating to check your mixes in mono before you print them.  The first album that I ever did that was released on a major. We tracked the whole thing and mixed in twelve working days, with one day off.  We mixed at a rate of two songs a day and sometimes when something felt like it was missing from the mix, I played it there on the spot during mixing (as I often do).  This was before ProTools, also.  Point being, with only coffee to keep me going, I was toast.  Anyway, there was this acoustic guitar solo that I decided to run through a Leslie 125 which I brought back into the mix in stereo.  It sounded very American Beauty.  I didn't realize that the two sides were out of phase 180 degrees, and I was too burnt or too green to hear this at the time.  So of course I'm eating dinner in Nashville with an artist I'm recording, and this song comes on the restaurant stereo, which is piped out in mono.  The guitar solo is missing and my heart sank.  I wanted to crawl under the table.

I generally hate listening parties, too.  I am cringing the whole time thinking about what I should have done differently.  LOL.

But otherwise, there's absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that you did  good job on a mix.
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Greg Dixon

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2005, 07:25:30 pm »

I think JJ's right about feeling good about what you do, but I think it's the knowing that what you've done isn't perfect, that keeps us getting better.

Without that drive to improve, I doubt many of us would be spending our time here.
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j.hall

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2005, 07:41:03 pm »

J.J. wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 18:07


But otherwise, there's absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that you did  good job on a mix.


that's past tense, and i'm fine with that.  i'm never happy with my mixes, but i can listen to them and think that another person might find them good.

what i meant by that statement was:

the day you think that whatever you touch turns to gold and you are this incredible engineer that does no wrong......you're spent....you can't make a good record cause your own agends just got in the way.

i have plenty of friends who are happy with their work and are very humble engineers.

i'm not talking aobut any of that.  i'm talking about straight up ego.

i've met my fair share of guys that think they are god's gift to producing or mixing or whatever.

does that make any sense?  
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2005, 07:43:55 pm »

Oh!  You mean like Mr. Mullet!   Very Happy
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

compasspnt

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2005, 11:08:41 pm »

clears throat
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Norwood

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2005, 11:34:13 pm »

I read somewhere something that Stave Albini said.  He said,"Deep down every engineer has this feeling that they don't measure up." Or something to that extent.  That sure rings true with me.  I think I'm pretty good at what I do, but everytime I show a mix to a client, I always have a sinking feeling that they're gonna say, "Gimme the masters, I'm gonna get this remixed by ____________."  I guess it keeps me sharp, and learning.
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Michael Norwood
Wood Bros. Productions

djui5

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2005, 11:53:42 pm »

Norwood wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 21:34

I read somewhere something that Stave Albini said.  He said,"Deep down every engineer has this feeling that they don't measure up......



...and sooner or later the client is going to notice"
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ajcamlet

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2005, 09:40:47 am »

J.J. wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 13:48

Here's my favorite part of the mixing process, usually about 5 minutes into the mix:

artist: Can you do something about the guitar sound?

me: Sure, I'm dealing with the kick at this moment. I'll get to that in a bit.

artist: And we need more reverb on the vocal.

me: Right.  There's no reverb yet.  Let me finish dialing in this one thing nd I'll get to that eventually.

artist: Do you think the snare is too boxy?

me: (to my assistant)Marc, please grab the shotgun from behind the compressor rack.

I find it is usally necessary to have the artist there for a mix, but generally I won't let them come in until I have all the sounds, unless they know how to sit there and shut up until I'm ready for their input.



This is completely on the money!!!!

Fibes

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2005, 10:15:52 am »

J.

I was waiting for that but in the context of this thread the exceptions are not the rule.

My problem is the fact that the industry is almost set on getting straight to the remix before the mix has ever been done. Hell, I resemble the notion that it takes a fresh perspective to "get a hit." That's what i'm talking about. There's a big difference between an indy band picking a mixer who they respect and a major label assuming they need to send it to the mullet mill for it to recoup.

I personally wanted every single one of my bands songs to be mixed by someone else on these boards since I tracked, played on, recorded, rerecorded, produced, babysat and mixed everything. Talk about burnt and too close (wait, you understand). I almost asked a bunch of mixers on here but since there ain't cash, i ain't asking.

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Fibes
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jfrigo

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2005, 10:16:33 am »

compasspnt wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 12:58

jfrigo wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 09:29

(snipped)



Yes, you are exactly right...for everyone else.  As for me, I am perfect, so I won't need that...




Edit:  Just kidding, of course!



Perfect! Thank goodness I'm not the only one! We should start a club or something...   Wink
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Great Mixing Dilemma
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2005, 10:52:11 am »

I remember a session, that thank god I was not engineering, where the A&R guy I knew very well was sitting there, and  while the band was tracking he started complaining to the engineer about the lack of low end.  Not only was the A&R guy a completely talentless poseur who had no business having that job, it never occurred to him that it could have been: A) the location of the room where he was sitting B) the particular mix that the engineer wanted to hear  C) none of his fucking business, so he should just shut up and not tell the professionals how to do their job.

Imagine if he had been there for mixing!
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham
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