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how long to wait for record to be mixed?

 
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:46 pm    Post subject: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Hello. I am a singer/songwriter and just finished recording a full-length album in a full-service pro recording studio. It is not a super-famous studio, but was absolutely professional, with a dedicated producer that I selected from a pool of much more 'famous' guys at other studios, and an assistant engineer. We spent 2 weeks daily, morning till late night recording.

I am posting this in people skills because well, this is my first record and I have no 'baseline' for time to mix a record. It's pop rock, punk, hard rock type stuff.

I expected to have the record mixed and ready to send to a mastering engineer 3 weeks after completion of tracking. We are 4 weeks out post-recording now and I have no idea what's going on. I should note that I have received sparse communication from the producer every week, but nothing about how it's going, just giving me options for places I could shop the record, that kind of thing.

1. The producer delivered initial mixes for 2 of my 12 songs within the first 4 days of recording. Neither of these conveyed my vision for the tracks, adding effects I specifically would not add.
2. I have received no new tracks to review for over 2 weeks.

I truly loved working with this producer and never thought to get a delivery date in writing since he was so psyched about the project. I have no industry baseline for mixing time for a pop/rock record. I know that many techniques and methods must be involved - letting ears rest, not losing perspective, testing the mixes in various gear.

In short, I am losing my mind wondering where my final product is nearly a month later. But wondering if I'm flying off the handle and being unreasonable due to my lack of experience. Can anyone give me a ballpark for mixing of a record. I know this producer is booked solid for recording other projects through the rest of the year...
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

You should copy everything you just wrote and paste it into an email to the producer.
Sounds like there's some bad communication going on. You have every right to ask what's going on and when you can expect mixes. You have every right to request changes if you don't like the mixes. If your bills are paid you have every right to take the tracks somewhere else if you feel things are starting to go sideways with the producer and studio.
It's your record. You wrote it, performed it and paid for it. You don't have to sit back and keep your mouth shut if you don't like what's going on. Speak up.
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:59 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply. I enjoyed your music! My bandcamp sits quietly, emptily waiting to be set up..

Ok your reply gives me the sense that I'm not so far off the mark.

I have not spoken up because he literally holds my future in his hands and in some hard drives. I did not want to antagonize someone who has so much of my life in their current control. But yes, it is doubly frustrating because I am local to this studio, and I might as well be dealing with a studio across the Atlantic. I envisioned being able to mixdown the record with the producer, like you see pictures of recording artists doing. instead, I've been told I can deliver revisions when they are all completed.

I am certainly not happy with the few initial mixes I've heard (the non mixdowns sounded more lively and big???) - If I get the actual ProTools session files would that mean I can go anywhere to get it mixed? My main concern is another place may not have all the plugins and stuff that he has and used on the record.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:53 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Yeah this all sounds like a conversation you should be having with the producer. You should set your finished due date expectations, attended mix sessions, perhaps send them a reference mix of what you hope to sound like? I would give them the opportunity to meet your expectations before firing them as this all just sounds like communication issues.

If you don't want to continue working with them you should request stems and/or session files and take it elsewhere.

If you are paid forward then I don't see any reason why you shouldn't have every right to these kinds of answers.
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:34 am    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Ok thanks for the insights. I am more than paid in full...Totally settled up. I was meticulous and respectful financing this.

Attended mix sessions?? That's what I wanted. Instead I have been silenced, being told not to deliver revisions (by email) until the record is done. There is not a huge geographic challenge here. I could be present for the mixing.

Ok I'm crafting an email. I've been trying to write one that doesn't sound like I'm losing my mind. Will try again. Thanks for your help.
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kslight
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:22 am    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

That is strange, I would think they would want to get a couple songs to your liking before finishing the record (so they don't have to start over?).
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JWL
deaf.


Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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Location: Maine

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Yeah, definitely some communication breakdown going on there. Based on what you've described I would politely but firmly and diligently contact the producer and let him know you aren't happy.

You are paid in full for the tracking sessions, or for the entire project? If it is the entire project then you definitely should be hearing more from the producer.

As far as timeframe, mixing a song a day is sort of an approximate standard for professional, full budget, full band tracks. Depending on many factors it could be more or less.

Based on what you've written, the lack of contact from the producer is borderline unprofessional; if he is not responsive to your efforts to contact him it is even more so. Hopefully it's all just a communication breakdown and soon you have mixes in your hands that you love.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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DrummerMan
george martin


Joined: 05 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Definitely sounds like communication issues, possibly on both sides...

You said that you didn't get a delivery date in writing. Was a specific or general delivery date ever discussed at all? If he's mixing in a style or with effects you don't like, did you ever discuss what you did like/want beforehand?

I'm not trying to shift the blame to you, but I've definitely been on both sides of situations where expectations aren't being met, but those expectations were never really expressed beforehand, because someone (or everybody) assumes those to be implied.

This is why contracts are good, ESPECIALLY between friends or people where the vibe and attitude seem good and everybody's psyched. So many potentially good relationships dissolve because people feel disappointed and betrayed on an expectation that was never specified.

Write the producer and let him know that you feel your needs aren't being met, just keep in mind that he may have NO IDEA that you're upset with his conduct up until now, and may feel like he's been doing everything how he's supposed to.
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

dithered wrote:
If I get the actual ProTools session files would that mean I can go anywhere to get it mixed? My main concern is another place may not have all the plugins and stuff that he has and used on the record.


If you're paid in full you own those multitrack session files. I'd request a copy of them even if you stick with the producer/studio to finish the record. You'll need them if you ever want to revisit the record in the future.
I wouldn't worry about plug-in compatibility. That's more an issue if you want to tweak the mixes as they exist now (and changing somebodies mixes without their input get things into a murky ethical grey area). If you are starting fresh mixes from the original recorded tracks you'd be throwing away any plug in info and starting fresh anyway.
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

JWL wrote:
Yeah, definitely some communication breakdown going on there. Based on what you've described I would politely but firmly and diligently contact the producer and let him know you aren't happy.

You are paid in full for the tracking sessions, or for the entire project? If it is the entire project then you definitely should be hearing more from the producer.

As far as timeframe, mixing a song a day is sort of an approximate standard for professional, full budget, full band tracks. Depending on many factors it could be more or less.

Based on what you've written, the lack of contact from the producer is borderline unprofessional; if he is not responsive to your efforts to contact him it is even more so. Hopefully it's all just a communication breakdown and soon you have mixes in your hands that you love.


Thanks guys. JWL - I'm super paid in full unless there is some hidden fee I was not informed about. I delivered a deposit to lock in the studio time months ahead of time. I delivered the rest of the payment upon starting recording to show I meant business. I even voluntarily paid him for all pre-production short meetings discussing the project, once again to show I couldn't be more dead serious about this. I realize in retrospect that's a bad call but once I saw that he was legit I opted to pay him in full because I believe in music and the people who help make it possible.

Additionally, the rate for my project included a certain number of songs. I made an artistic decision not to record one of those songs, and I purposely looked the other way on that because this guy did not run a clock.

On the last day when all tracking was completed, he told me his initial mixes are his unadulterated guess at how he sees the track, then I get to revise. makes me feel a bit silenced, but ok I can handle it. He said he generally does a mix a day. So I thought ok maybe 2 weeks. There was a flurry of activity the first 2 days. Then nothing. Leading me to these weeks of nothing. It is bizarre. No there isn't a drug problem lol.

On my end, I admit I dropped the ball not getting a delivery date. I sensed such excitement around the recording that I thought it would be mixed in short order. Anyway, I definitely have an email to write..

Thanks for the insights about the plug-in compatibility. Well, I'll get em, that's for sure...
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JWL
deaf.


Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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Location: Maine

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Have you heard back from the producer yet?

I'd suggest a phone call if possible over an email. Or better yet meet him in person if you can.
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:34 am    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Haven't made the contact yet. I needed to compose myself for a little bit to ensure I don't say anything I regret. I'm that fired up. Times like this I see the value of a manager (working on that).

It will transpire this weekend, which will be 2 weeks on the dot since last contact.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

Not clear on how remaining silent is serving any purpose but to well you up on it. Really I think just that you went to an online forum over actually communicating directly with the producer directly tells me all I need to know.
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dithered
audio school


Joined: 11 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

finally got in contact. hammered out a reasonable date. was wishy washy about a date at first, but I demanded a hard date. I'll keep him at his word.
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tjcasey1
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 164
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: how long to wait for record to be mixed? Reply with quote

I think one of your problems is (correct me if I'm wrong) you've paid in full. There's no reason (other than decency) for him to do anything for you now.

One third up front, one third halfway through, and one third upon completion seems like a standard way to pay anyone for any job.
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