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finishing what you started...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by jpreceng, Sep 9, 2001.

  1. jpreceng

    jpreceng Guest

    Hey --

    MM asked me to start a new topic about this as another thread:

    Basically, how do guys feel and deal with having someone else mix a record that you've recorded?

    I'm talking about something that you did completely or almost completely -- not just an overdub here or there

    For the record, I'm one of those folks who thinks that the record is put together on the tracking date -- not a 'fix it in the mix' kind of a philosophy. When you come back to the song a week later, you push up the faders and it basically is there.

    thoughts? comments?

    -John
     
  2. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    I have never liked when anyone remixed my stuff. Even earlier in my career, when I was never slated to do the mixing, I always thought my roughs had something to offer. I find it absolutely ridiculous that the major labels are so psychologically dependant on using only the 2 or 3 guys who seem to mix most of the stuff that might get a "push". I understand the concept of getting a pro mixer to make sure the mixes are up to at least a professional level, but the fact of the matter is, most A&R people don't have enough ears or personal integrety to trust what they are hearing. They just need the name recognition of one of "those" guys. The funny thing is, I believe there is almost ZERO name recognition of mixer credits as far as the buying public is concerned.
     
  3. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    On the one hand, I think that there are times that having a mixer be different from the tracking engineer is a good thing. Many times tracking engineers aren't great mixing engineers. I think in those cases it's good to get a mixer.

    Sometimes a project took so long and went so many directions that everyone is a bit lost. I think a mix engineer is a good decision in these instances.

    On the other hand, the people that are generally used to mix records these days aren't necessarily the best mixers, or at the very least, aren't the best mixers for the project.

    Producers very rarely get a say so in who is mixing a record these days. Labels aren't interested in your work, but rather your name. They feel that if they send in a mix with one of about 10 names they've gat a better shot of having it played. Whether that's true or not, I really don't know. Notice I said played. Generally, records live or die by radio and MTV.

    There was a time when an Artist had some input into these things. That's no longer. Most artists fear for being shelved so they let the label push them around. I can't say that I blame them, because if they don't play the game, their worst fear could be a reality.

    I think that records have suffered from the thinking of labels. On this weeks Top 100 Universal distributes 7 of the top ten hits. The music business in this country is becoming monopolistic.

    It may sem as though I digress, but having another mixer come in to replace a capable mixer is all tied into this.

    Mixerman
     
  4. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    A record I recently tracked was mixed by someone else at his studio. I think it sounds good. The other mixer wasn’t as "creative" as he could have been, IMHO. The whole thing sounds the same. I had things planned in my head that never got to be heard.

    I have a friend who has done a lot of known things, he likes to track and have someone else mix, but he likes to be there and "direct" the mix. I may do that on the project I'm working on now.
     
  5. waitgoiter

    waitgoiter Guest

    A new mixer is good for any track that requires radical surgery. You wouldn't want to take out your own appendix, even if it was squirting poisonous goop everywhere.
     
  6. mistals

    mistals Guest

    Hello, thought I'd throw in some input on this. I like to mix projects I track, you can catch the vibe, mix as you go. Like someone else mentioned, you like to throw in your ideas. I have nothing against giving out something to be mixed elsewhere, in fact I like when others who have tracked somewhere else bring in their adats to have me mix them. I'm in the midwest and we don't have the saturation as LA/NY or bigger cities, but it's nice to put your talent to it's fullest into a project and have your clients smile and trust you from there on. Word travels and if you're lucky, your name is one that gets things heard by reputation.
    On the other hand, sending your tracks out is good networking, meet others in the biz.
    Just my thoughts.
     
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I've had several 'mixers' do stuff I have been producer and (or) engineer on.

    Alan Moulder
    Brad Gilderman
    Dave Bascombe (a UK mix star)
    Terry Manning

    In each case I didn't mind (I'm with John, I too belive the record is put together at the recording stage) and felt that it was an 'effort spared'. The results were ok, very compressed, deluxe HF sheen & solid (albeit compressed to ^#$%) bottom end.

    while mindfull to hand over tidy tapes, in no way did I feel I had to "just record it flat kid, we will take it from here" - Far from it, as producer I recorded it to sound the way I wanted it to. I expected the 'mixer' to ballance the components of my production, not re invent the fukin wheel! Not such a big deal IMHO.

    Right now I hope to get Chris Kimsey (onetime Rolling Stones producer) to mix a track.. Save me doing it!

    I get a big buzz from tracking and recording in general. I see mixing as a stressfull drag, a PITA formality needed to be completed at the end of 'the production'.

    I mix all the time, reluctantly. My mixes give me what I wish to achive... Namely, something that sounds great on the radio.

    Jules
     
  8. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    We may have begun the whole "separate person doing the mixing" thing at Motown. The difference was that we had at least a couple different people take a crack at each single and we had people who REALLY knew what they were doing making the decisions about which mix to release.

    The conclusion I came to back then was that the very best results came from a couple producers who did their own mixes however at one notch below that level of producer you were far better off having somebody else doing the mixing with the producer not present. The guys who wound up doing their own ONLY did so after having others do their mixing AND after supervising other mixers doing others' material.
     
  9. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    "Right now I hope to get Chris Kimsey (onetime Rolling Stones producer) to mix a track.. "

    Confirmed.

    Just heard he's gonna do it, have to get it to him by mid next week..

    I am one very pleased producer / engineer.

    See how it turns out eh?
     
  10. mixfactory

    mixfactory Guest

    Hey-

    I get hired a lot in NYC as a mixer for label projects that need special surgery with a little "magic". I am very happy that I don't start the projects(it helps keep my perspective and I wouldn't want to be the guy with the reputation for submitting some of the hatchet jobs I receive-sheesh!!!) I think in relating to the topic, what about having someone remix an album song you mixed, for the radio?Music Video?for the single? I know in the past when I've been hired to remix someone else's mixes, a little guilt is always there. By the way, I've always considered myself kind of the opposite-a terrible tracking engineer(thank God for mixing!!!).
     
  11. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    Originally posted by Mixerman:

    It may sem as though I digress, but having another mixer come in to replace a capable mixer is all tied into this.

    Mixerman


    Like when Bud gets a call to redo a mixers mix? A more capable mixer than a passable one?

    :eek:
     
  12. I am with you John. Track it the way it is supposed to be mixed. If it doesn't sound like the record from day 1, how are you supposed to know how to proceed? I leave very few options at mix so even if there is another mix engineer, it will still sound pretty much like I wanted it too.

    The main producer I work for is so against having someone other than me mix his records that he gets it in writing that if the label brings in another mixer, I still get paid for mixing. I don't feel that strongly about it, but it is nice to work with someone who believes in me that much.
     
  13. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    "if the label brings in another mixer, I still get paid for mixing."

    Has that 'get paid to go to the beach' clause ever been activated?
    :)
     
  14. I have not been paid for going to the beach yet, but I have been paid to be there when somone else mixes. That is fine with me because I steal all of their tricks!
     
  15. Finally, someone who sees this my way! Thanks Bob. That is why I say you need to learn to mix before you can track effectively. How else are you supposed to know if the sounds you print to tape are going to work? Don't be afraid to commit to a sound or an effect. If it doesn't work, you can always erase it.
     
  16. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    The other side to that coin is to present the mixer with audio that is a 'whole' and un messed with so that they have ALL the scope possuble to shape the sounds should they wish...

    both methods are valid..

    Onetime I was an assistant on a session for IRS the police's label. Stings 'home studio engineer' was recording a new band they had signed The Alarm.. when the hip young A&R 'kids' came down they thought it was all sounding awfull (sad but true...) the engineer, unfamiliar with the studio - recorded everything 'Flat' so as not to risk eq-ing badly... Anyway against my wishes the A&R kids begged me to throw a power switch and say the studio had a major breakdown (the studio owner was 'in on the gag' as well).. I did, the engineer went home and we doubled back and carried on with the recording, this time with EQ so it sounded nice.. turned out to be a hit too!

    Man..I have had to mix some' flat' no eq live truck tapes KARAMBA! Boy did they sound $*^t to begin with with!

    All the silverhaired Neumann mic endorsee types you see in Mix mag claim in interviews to use very little compression or eq, but I geuss they get to work with the CREAM of hot studio players and singers with deacades of mic technique behind em, so no wonder!

    It's good to try and take a little from their methods though and make use of it on your own stuff.

    Every-day-in-every-way, I am getting better-and-better

    Childs mantra - also good for audio engineers.
     
  17. alphajerk

    alphajerk Active Member

    Originally posted by Kevin F. Rose:


    Like when Bud gets a call to redo a mixers mix? A more capable mixer than a passable one?

    :eek:


    my werd...

    i was actually thinking about this driving down the road the other day... best analogy i can come up with for how it SHOULD work is:

    the tracking engineer [whatever] is like the starting pitcher in a baseball game, if the tracking is great he should just be able to finish out the game. easily at that. great tracking makes for absurdly easy mixing.

    but if a track is pretty good and looks like a winner but the opposition of chaos and blunder looks to be gaining ground at mix time, its time for a relief pitcher to save the game. the relief pitcher shouldnt CHANGE the game around, just save it. otherwise, hes just the putz who lost the lead and then had to save his ass.

    havin said that, i like to carry a project all the way through but i fully disagree with the majors practices of keeping the artist at bay, especially lately as producers and so forth now think THEY are the rock stars. let the artist shine. then again, i disagree with most of the practices of the music industry. the over commercialization of music has got to be worse than the homogenization of society and the absurdity of religion.

    free your mind and your ass will follow.
     
  18. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Well said Jerk!

    I believe this is the most eloquent buch of words we've seen you string together to date. hehe. Keep it up!
     
  19. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I work differently if I know I'm going to have 'mix control' than if I'm pretty sure it's going to be mixed by someone else. If I know who the mixer is going to be, then I often work in a way that let's me be pretty confident that they're not going to ^#$% it up.

    There was one album I did that was going to be mixed by a famous mixer dude for whom I had little to no respect. He got a nice master tape to work with. Drums and percussion were on two tracks, Bass on one track, Instruments (guitars/keyboards/etc,) were on two tracks, lead vocal on one track, backing vocals on two tracks. All effects/reverbs/delays/etc. on two tracks. Basically, if he took a ruler and put all the faders to -10 on the desk, the mix was done.

    Worked out very nicely.

    There have been other times when I wasn't sure who would be mixing the stuff, but I knew it wasn't going to be me. I made sure that the tracks they got had damn little compression, were as 'full range as possible, and basically gave who ever it was the greatest amount of possible options to do whatever it was they were going to do.

    Often, when I know I'm going to be the mixer, I'll compress things a bit more, I'll filter things a bit more, I'll take some time in the tracking process to kinda 'pre-do' things I know I'm going to want to do in mixing.

    It also depends on the act, and what they're into...in other words, there is no clear answer to the question, at least not for me...I take it on a case by case basis.
     
  20. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    Originally posted by Fletcher:
    .

    There have been other times when I wasn't sure who would be mixing the stuff, but I knew it wasn't going to be me. I made sure that the tracks they got had damn little compression, were as 'full range as possible, and basically gave who ever it was the greatest amount of possible options to do whatever it was they were going to do.


    ....or just hand them a 1/2" two track. Make decisions early so someone else doesn't for you.
     

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