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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => j. hall => Topic started by: YZ on August 14, 2008, 07:54:10 PM

Title: Who's the best?
Post by: YZ on August 14, 2008, 07:54:10 PM
I'd like to know your opinion about who, in general terms, would be the best choice for mixing an album: the engineer who did the tracking or an outside ear.

I have my own opinion, but I'd like to know the opinion of others or if there's a general consensus.

Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Adam Miller on August 14, 2008, 08:16:25 PM
Come on! In general terms?. How on earth can you answer that- it entirely depends on the engineers and the project, as I'm sure you know. If you want any useful answers, it'll have to be on a project-by-project basis.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: grantis on August 14, 2008, 08:36:57 PM
Well, I can think of several mix engineers who are at THEIR best when they do the tracking themselves, but would do a fine job on other guys' tracks as well.

I think (speaking in "general terms") the person who tracked it would have a good idea of the direction that was intended upon track conception.

Not to say any decent mix engineer couldn't pick up on the direction...

I guess my conclusion is...no conclusion.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on August 14, 2008, 08:46:50 PM
I'm an all in guy, other guys aren't and shouldn't be.


Vision from top to tail.




Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Tomas Danko on August 15, 2008, 08:04:49 AM
Gosh.

If Terry Manning had engineered the session I'd kindly ask him to mix the project.

If Chris Lord Alge hadn't engineered the session I think I still wouldn't mind him mixing it. I'd say the same for Andy Wallace. Smile
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: stevieeastend on August 15, 2008, 09:24:21 AM
Tomas Danko wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 13:04

Gosh.

If Chris Lord Alge hadn't engineered the session I think I still wouldn't mind him mixing it.Smile


IF..... you would only know what he costs Wink

Although, with the strong Euro it´s not that insane anymore...

cheers
St
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: j.hall on August 15, 2008, 05:32:12 PM
it all depends on who is driving the bus.

Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on August 15, 2008, 08:13:49 PM
j.hall wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 17:32

it all depends on who is driving the bus.




Agreed, but more importantly I don't like the pervasive concept of skimping on the tracking and overpaying for mixing. Most of the time the tracking savings isn't invested in getting great performances, it's invested in 002s.

This is where many artists are missing out on decent home gizmos, they spend more time on the craft of recording to get something useable instead of using the technology to get refined and ready to make INSPIRATIONAL WELL ARRANGED PERFORMANCES in an amazing space.

Work the mojo and material not the gear or the gear is working you.


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: j.hall on August 15, 2008, 09:22:41 PM
AGREED.

i can only add that my livelihood is serving my clients who put food in front of my kids.  if they want to record themselves on a 002 in their basement, i can't really argue much.

if i'm driving the bus, i think the project greatly benefits me staying on the whole way through.

if i'm just mixing, i'd love to see someone qualified tracking it.

it's not a perfect world, and budgets are shrinking by the minute.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: YZ on August 16, 2008, 01:43:20 AM
Fibes wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 21:13


Agreed, but more importantly I don't like the pervasive concept of skimping on the tracking and overpaying for mixing.



Aha! now we're getting somewhere.


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: YZ on August 16, 2008, 01:51:27 AM
j.hall wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 22:22


if i'm driving the bus, i think the project greatly benefits me staying on the whole way through.

if i'm just mixing, i'd love to see someone qualified tracking it.

it's not a perfect world, and budgets are shrinking by the minute.


Yes.  

If you track with a competent engineer, when you get to the mix everything goes smoother and better; if the mix is done by the same competent guy who tracked it, it goes faster.

What it means is that with shrinking budgets, it makes more sense to have the whole project engineered by one professional, except for the mastering.

Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: meverylame on August 16, 2008, 03:38:30 AM
These days I really think that as in ANY classic sense of record making, it depends on the project and it depends on the engineer. I was working on REALLY great R&B record the other day, ala "Song in the key of life", in which each session had no less than 160 track and the producer/engineer had been working on the record for a series of years. In this case do I think the producer should do it? No absolutely not. He had tracked a number of tracks to leave himself an out. He and a set of outside ears needs to make decisions based the tracks from the perspective of someone who had seen the project from start to conclusion or otherwise as a total project-overseer and as an astute listener(hired mixer). Again, as it has been forever, what are you good at? What does the project dictate?
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: j.hall on August 16, 2008, 06:16:59 PM
YZ wrote on Sat, 16 August 2008 00:51

j.hall wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 22:22


if i'm driving the bus, i think the project greatly benefits me staying on the whole way through.

if i'm just mixing, i'd love to see someone qualified tracking it.

it's not a perfect world, and budgets are shrinking by the minute.


Yes.  

If you track with a competent engineer, when you get to the mix everything goes smoother and better; if the mix is done by the same competent guy who tracked it, it goes faster.

What it means is that with shrinking budgets, it makes more sense to have the whole project engineered by one professional, except for the mastering.




um, sometimes would be my reply to all your statements.

faster doesn't mean better.  and it's only good on the budget to keep the tracking guy on board if his rate is lower, and/or he can work faster (and with equal results) then a 3rd party mixer.


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on August 17, 2008, 10:21:16 AM
FWIW when I track/produce a project the mix is 90% done by the time the tracking is done.

Vision from top to tail.


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: grantis on August 17, 2008, 11:00:54 AM
Fibes wrote on Sun, 17 August 2008 09:21

FWIW when I track/produce a project the mix is 90% done by the time the tracking is done.

Vision from top to tail.





Wow, that's quite a feat.  If a song takes 3-4 hours total to track/edit, I usually have 3+ hours of mix work left.

But then again, my "vision" usually changes mid-mix.  haha
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: j.hall on August 17, 2008, 02:49:15 PM
Fibes wrote on Sun, 17 August 2008 09:21

FWIW when I track/produce a project the mix is 90% done by the time the tracking is done.

Vision from top to tail.





you do in fact swing a big D..........


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on August 17, 2008, 02:58:45 PM
heh, seriously the new DAW method enables one to put the pieces together all along the process, copy mixes for alts and recalls are a piece of cake. Having all of the sounds together for the addition of the next overdub is inspirational to the vision.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: j.hall on August 18, 2008, 09:29:06 AM
INDEED!!!!


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Jonah A. Kort on September 26, 2008, 03:25:08 AM
I'd rather produce, track, and mix a project myself but wouldn't

freak out if the band wanted someone else to mix it, a little

bummed though.  



Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: resolectric on September 26, 2008, 07:11:08 AM
When i finish tracking the mix is nearly done.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: rankus on September 26, 2008, 02:42:23 PM

For me the mixing begins with mic choice and placement, and like Fibes once the tracking is done the mix is usually coming along at least 50%

I do like mixing stuff I didn't track, but would prefer that I am the guy who mixes when I'm the tracking engineer (yes I am insecure  Smile )

Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Chris Ilett on September 26, 2008, 04:30:34 PM
YZ wrote on Thu, 14 August 2008 18:54

 would be the best choice for mixing an album: the engineer who did the tracking or an outside ear.




I'll give it a shot.

What are the hours?
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: wwittman on October 05, 2008, 02:54:47 PM
I can count on one hand, probably, the records I think are GREAT that were mixed by an 'outside' mixer.

almost all of the best records ever made were made start to finish by a producer/engineer team.


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: adoucette on October 31, 2008, 08:01:28 PM
steveeastend wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 09:24

Tomas Danko wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 13:04

Gosh.

If Chris Lord Alge hadn't engineered the session I think I still wouldn't mind him mixing it.Smile


IF..... you would only know what he costs Wink




I know.. Ive seen receipts.. pretty crazy.. but only gives me something to aim for  Smile
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Tomas Danko on November 01, 2008, 10:22:28 AM
adoucette wrote on Sat, 01 November 2008 00:01

steveeastend wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 09:24

Tomas Danko wrote on Fri, 15 August 2008 13:04

Gosh.

If Chris Lord Alge hadn't engineered the session I think I still wouldn't mind him mixing it.Smile


IF..... you would only know what he costs Wink




I know.. Ive seen receipts.. pretty crazy.. but only gives me something to aim for  Smile


I also know... CLA mixed a track for the last project I worked on. Very expensive. But IMHO totally worth it for this particular track.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: RSettee on November 15, 2008, 12:21:31 PM
Fibes wrote on Sun, 17 August 2008 13:58

heh, seriously the new DAW method enables one to put the pieces together all along the process, copy mixes for alts and recalls are a piece of cake. Having all of the sounds together for the addition of the next overdub is inspirational to the vision.


Yeah, for sure. Also, the ability to have multiple alternate tracks/ versions of something in virtual tracks is a real bonus, to choose from, later.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: RSettee on November 15, 2008, 12:23:33 PM
wwittman wrote on Sun, 05 October 2008 13:54

I can count on one hand, probably, the records I think are GREAT that were mixed by an 'outside' mixer.

almost all of the best records ever made were made start to finish by a producer/engineer team.





Andy Wallace made some of the best mixes of the 90's, and he was an outside mixer.....on the other hand, one of the albums that he produced, White Zombie's "La Sexorcisto" was one of his worst mixes to my ears, IMHO.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Nizzle on November 15, 2008, 02:17:24 PM
There are no "right" answers. But I will say that engineering a record and mixing a record are two different skill sets. The notion that if one can engineer a recording well, he/ she can also mix an album well has not proven to be the case, in my experience. It goes without saying that the 2 skill sets certainly inform one another, but they are different beasts. With that said, there are many folks that can wear both hats well.

Also - I get annoyed whenever I hear someone imply that when "they" track a song, by the time they've finished tracking - the song "mixes itself". Perhaps this might be the case in a acoustic jazz, chamber, or other "live" idioms, but a dose of humility and reality are in order. Thoughtful tracking certainly speeds up the mixing process significantly, but let's not underestimate the contribution of talented/ tasteful mix engineer and what he/ she can bring to the table.

-t
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on December 02, 2008, 12:35:32 PM
Nizzle wrote on Sat, 15 November 2008 14:17



Also - I get annoyed whenever I hear someone imply that when "they" track a song, by the time they've finished tracking - the song "mixes itself". Perhaps this might be the case in a acoustic jazz, chamber, or other "live" idioms, but a dose of humility and reality are in order. Thoughtful tracking certainly speeds up the mixing process significantly, but let's not underestimate the contribution of talented/ tasteful mix engineer and what he/ she can bring to the table.

-t


Sorry, I disagree, you can continue to be annoyed by statements and i will continue to be annoyed when people insist a song can be made in the mix and not in the performance.

Then again, a big bloated drum sound, high passed bass guitar, uber wide guitars, anvil compressed vocals and all of those other tricks are fine for the music I don't enjoy to listen to.

The vision starts before the downbeat and the further down the line it gets, it becomes less vision and more hindsight.

Hindsight doesn't excite me.




Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: NelsonL on December 02, 2008, 01:08:57 PM
Quote:


Then again, a big bloated drum sound, high passed bass guitar, uber wide guitars, anvil compressed vocals and all of those other tricks are fine for the music I don't enjoy to listen to.



I completely agree from a taste standpoint, and yet I do enjoy the technical challenge of tracking and mixing stuff like metal that, for me, requires a lot of manipulation at mix.

But listening wise, I have almost no interest in contemporary heavy rock, unless it's something like say, Earthless, which is better live anyway.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Jay Summers on December 02, 2008, 03:12:48 PM
I'm way better at mixing than tracking so I'm not upset when someone tracks a project somewhere else and I mix it. They are 2 different arts. Not that you can't be good at both, but they don't co-exist.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Nizzle on December 08, 2008, 06:13:26 PM
Fibes wrote on Tue, 02 December 2008 09:35

Nizzle wrote on Sat, 15 November 2008 14:17



Also - I get annoyed whenever I hear someone imply that when "they" track a song, by the time they've finished tracking - the song "mixes itself". Perhaps this might be the case in a acoustic jazz, chamber, or other "live" idioms, but a dose of humility and reality are in order. Thoughtful tracking certainly speeds up the mixing process significantly, but let's not underestimate the contribution of talented/ tasteful mix engineer and what he/ she can bring to the table.

-t


Sorry, I disagree, you can continue to be annoyed by statements and i will continue to be annoyed when people insist a song can be made in the mix and not in the performance.

Then again, a big bloated drum sound, high passed bass guitar, uber wide guitars, anvil compressed vocals and all of those other tricks are fine for the music I don't enjoy to listen to.

The vision starts before the downbeat and the further down the line it gets, it becomes less vision and more hindsight.

Hindsight doesn't excite me.







Nothing to be sorry about. I didn't realize there were folks insisting a song was made "in the mix". If your making records that move you by merely putting the faders up, then that's great, really.

It has been my experience that rarely does this happen(with exception to other musical idioms that I mentioned in my earlier post). It's not that I don't believe a great mix starts, and is fundamentally reliant on great performances, because I do believe that. It's just that the "mix" process is an art and can contribute , greatly, to the effectiveness of the recorded music. The mix process might be a matter of putting the faders up and getting a great balance, but often it can require a little more and even a whole lot more than that.

-t


Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Fibes on December 09, 2008, 04:06:46 PM
T,

We agree, more often than not lately mixing makes the tune. I never dug that methodology, when i hear playback i want to know that's the path were on, not just a prequel to the main event.

tracking with vision really is lost on a lot of people.

Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Gold on December 09, 2008, 07:34:48 PM
[quote title=NelsonL wrote on Tue, 02 December 2008 13:08]
Quote:


unless it's something like say, Earthless, which is better live anyway.


A little OT but the last Earthless album was tracked and mixed by the same person. Lacquers were cut directly from 1/2" with very very little processing. I ran the DAW at the same time and that was the CD.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: NelsonL on December 10, 2008, 12:13:18 AM
I'm not the least bit surprised to hear that-- my point isn't meant as a slight to their records, they're just that good live.
Title: Re: Who's the best?
Post by: Gold on December 10, 2008, 12:31:17 AM
NelsonL wrote on Wed, 10 December 2008 00:13

 my point isn't meant as a slight to their records, they're just that good live.


I didn't take it that way. It was just an FYI. They are fantastic live. There is a live album coming out next. And it really is live. It's over an hour and a half unedited.