How long do your mixes take?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by MadMoose, Nov 11, 2001.

  1. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    I've heard people say that mixes come in a few sizes. One hour, six hour, one day and many days. How long does it take you to mix one three to five minute song?
  2. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    For me: Rap / R&b= 1 day (or less), Pop = 1 1/2 day Indie Rock = 1 day
    I typically try to spit these into half days if possible so I can come in with fresh ears.
  3. CFS

    CFS Guest

    The only thing id say differs for me from Jay's is instead of 1 hours its 2 hours. Ill turn it down if i am only gonna have an hour a song.
  4. Dave McNair

    Dave McNair Active Member

    Mar 6, 2001
    For me, the first tune usually takes a day and a half. Sometimes more. That includes setup, getting my vibe with the room and style of music, ect. After I get past the first mix, about 1.5 to 2 mixes a day, which for me is about 12 hours. Occasionally, not just for the sake of speed, I'll get 4 in a day. I like to do em fairly quick and then go back and have a second look at the ones I may have not nailed the first time around. I have found that if I force myself not to labor too long and get micro picky, I end up with better results. I learned this after repeatedly using rough mixes on projects as opposed to the "final" mix. On 2 occasions I can think of, mixes were chosen as masters after I "rough" mixed 12 or more tunes in one long session. My advice is if you are the tracking engineer and will be mixing later, don't do endless roughs even if the band wants em, cause it's easy to spend your inspiration. If you must do roughs, maybe set things up a little and have somebody else in the project finish it. When you are done recording everything and you do make some roughs, work quickly but take the time to do a good job and print it to the highest quality format you have available. You might be surprised down the road.
  5. davemc

    davemc Guest

    I agree with McSnare.
    The endless roughs as they come in and redo vocals and guitars kills any ideas for teh final mix.
    It is hard to be objective after you have worked on the same song for a lot of sessions.
    At the end you just do not know if your coming or going with the mix.
  6. gie

    gie Guest

    Most of the time: 2 songs a day....
  7. jo

    jo Active Member

    Oct 9, 2001
    Home Page:
    Some songs are fast like 3 hours and others take 1,5 days. I never take more than 2 days. It's better to do it once again from zero.
    When I'm mixing a whole album I really like to take the time and do some songs again, when I'm thinking they don't suit the rest of the project. I always mix every song of the record and decide at the very end which song gets a second chance.
  8. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    It really depends on the length of the songs, and the amount of tracks that need to be weeded out. A production can be 75 tracks, but be so well arranged that it comes together in no time flat. More common would be the 75 track production that I end up bringing down to 48 tracks. On projects like that it can take me a day a mix plus some, as I have to find the mix and the production.

    On most Pop/rock productions I'll average 1.5 to 2 a day. Some songs take a whole day, some take 4 hours.

    To me, the key is to mix as fast as possible, but take as long as you need.

  9. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    I tell clients that I average 1-4 hours per mix. They often look at me as I have 3 heads. After they see what happens in mix-mode they cool off. If I was working with bigger budgets, and an "upscale" room I might take longer. I mostly work at night. I like to finish a mix and start the next, but not finish it. The next night I start where I left off. I will have the basic balance and panning maybe the main effect and a good idea of "Mix moves" before I leave.
  10. Jon Atack

    Jon Atack Distinguished Member

    May 29, 2001
    I really agree with Mixerman, McSnare, Jo and others.

    One big issue is the quality of the original recording, arrangement and performances. Some songs just mix themselves; others require a lot of $*^t-polishing to make them shine. FWIW I would love to see more of the former and fewer of the latter.

    Another issue is editing. Quite often I receive tracks that are in dire need of it, with choruses yet to be copied, final structure and cuts yet to be finished, or BVs yet to be chosen, etc. Especially with rap/R&B tracks where it is not uncommon to have 24-48 vocal tracks to sort out.

    In these cases you have to spend a few hours getting the tracks sorted out before the non-editing part of the mix can begin. Since I usually start mixes alone for the first hours, this process often requires a phone call or two to the artist or producer to touch base and get their feedback and input.

  11. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Since I started this thread I might as well put my 2 cents in. I'm taking about 3-4 hours per song. That's for a 16 or 24 track project that I've recorded. Usually I don't need to do that much cleanup work, maybe edit out or record over some noise on the multitrack if anything. I also don't have automation which I think helps me move faster. The times when I'm at other studios and I have it I tend to take longer and do things with it that I normally wouldn't.
  12. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    If I'm mixing a pop rock gem four hours out of the box... If things are close to setup in the outboard realm and minor tweaks are in order, 3 songs in eight hours. If I have to weed through a bunch of $*^t and max out the sonic landfill it'll take two packs and 5 clips.
    I tend to disagree about having problems mixing projects that I tracked because I like to make decisions while tracking. This usually gets to the point where a moderately panned unity mix doesn't suck. Sometimes it's all downhill from there.
    I will gladly pay you tuesday for a mix today.
  13. mwagener

    mwagener Active Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    If the tracks are *clean* it takes me 1.5 to 2 days for the first mix (48 tracks). After that it's a song a day. I always leave a mix up on the board over night and listen to it first thing in the morning (before breakfast) make a fix-it list and stick to it. I normally don't mix for longer than 8 hours a day with lots of breaks in between.
  14. ironsheik

    ironsheik Guest

    Another question: how many of you mix with your clients present? Or do you do rough mixes then bring in the client to make changes/suggestions?
  15. soulconnect

    soulconnect Guest

    How long it takes gets a bit blurry for me. I'm all in Pro Tools, so I like to finish them quickly then take another look in a day or two. It gives me a better perspective on the record as a whole. Like was said above, I like to move along as fast as I can on the basic sounds and FX. It comes out better when I'm not thinking too much. That part takes about 4-6 hours for 48 tracks or so. From then on, it takes how long it takes. Music happens when it's ready. So do Mixes. It can take a while to get something perfect, especially when it was never a performance in the first place. I keep going til I can let the whole song play without reaching for the stop button.

  16. sjoko

    sjoko Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I cannot really say I have an average, it all depends on the material, and the quality of the material. I hardly ever manage more than 1 song per day, and I have spend over 2 weeks on one song in the past, with a couple of different artists.
  17. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2000
    Until they're done and still sound good the next day!
  18. sjoko

    sjoko Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    LOL SP - that's very true.
    Altough - that was even more so in the '70's, when you could swwooooon over the prefect mix one late night and think you just did the ultimate, and come in the next day, push play in anticipation........... and think "what the hell?????"
    I think it was those "prohibited substances"
  19. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    I do a lot of demo/low budget stuff between the full albums I get to stretch out on, and on many of those an hour a song is a luxury.

    In some ways, that's been good for me. I generally don't use any EQ, compression, or other effects on rough mixes- pan, level, dead fader. That can keep me on my toes in tracking, knowing someone is gonna take this sucker home for the night naked. This ends up helping in mixing.

    Even when I use full automation, I rarely go over 3-5 hours a song, although I don't like doing 3 a day.

    Of course, we'll see how that changes when the fully automated board goes out the door in a week and a half, and the completely non-automated board comes back in. No question of leaving it on the board if I'm close, for me- I have no problem remembering a decent number of fader moves when I'm mixing, but when I wake up the next morning, it's all gone.

    I gotta start labeling things.
  20. drumsound

    drumsound Active Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Bloomington, IL
    Originally posted by Jon Best:

    Of course, we'll see how that changes when the fully automated board goes out the door in a week and a half, and the completely non-automated board comes back in. No question of leaving it on the board if I'm close, for me- I have no problem remembering a decent number of fader moves when I'm mixing, but when I wake up the next morning, it's all gone.

    I gotta start labeling things.[/QB]

    Welcome to the world of buying audio products backwards!

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