question for those of you who mix other people's recordings

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yourmomsp
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question for those of you who mix other people's recordings

Post by yourmomsp » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:18 am

question for you mixers out there who often mix tracks that either a band has recorded themselves or other engineers have recorded... how often do you run into a situation where, as you are mixing, you find the song difficult to mix either because you are not quite sure how to approach the song and/or you don't quite know how to achieve what the band is asking for the mix to sound? thanks.

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Re: question for those of you who mix other people's recordi

Post by junomat » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:28 pm

yourmomsp wrote:question for you mixers out there who often mix tracks that either a band has recorded themselves or other engineers have recorded... how often do you run into a situation where, as you are mixing, you find the song difficult to mix either because you are not quite sure how to approach the song and/or you don't quite know how to achieve what the band is asking for the mix to sound? thanks.
i run in to it all the time. it's all about communication. have the conversation.

my pet peve is when the studio who tracked it doesnt leave good notes... or even simply labeling tracks...

m.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:30 pm

I do it too. My pet peeve is when the recording studio or engineer does a piss poor job and I have to polish turds.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:03 pm

Interesting question if only because you are starting without a reference point.

The only references you really have are:

1. The albums you've already mixed

2. The faders-up monitor mix of the song at hand

I'd suggest this, most musicians like the latest thing or version of their song. Work toward making your thing different than what they've heard to this point. New distortions, new ambience, new outlook. As long as what you do provides solid attitude without being wishy/washy, the band should be happy with what you do.

On the other hand, you need to be keenly aware if what you've been presented is workable to get to the best end result. I've only had one session where I kicked back tracks because they were recorded so bad I could do nothing with them in a mix. You need to know when a track works and when it doesn't. Suggesting additional support parts not already played might help you bond with the band too. That part may 'save' the record in their eyes.

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Post by Waltz Mastering » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:05 pm

You gotta talk with the band and see what there expectations are.

A lot of mixes are all about the vocal but start with the drum groove.
If there recorded like shite, I don't hesitate to trigger and blend samples
and then it's about building the track - sometimes you gotta do some open heart surgery.

Whatever it takes...

good luck TW

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Post by madrex » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:24 pm

not to be crass in philosophy here, but if an engineer did a bad job tracking, and a band and engineer combined didn't really give you any real definitive input to get you going, you're probably more than qualified to make any decisions you want.

you just have to be weary of the following situation where you then remix the album 9 times for them because they still don't know what they want.

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Post by signorMars » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:07 am

@?,*???&? wrote:As long as what you do provides solid attitude without being wishy/washy, the band should be happy with what you do.
That's probably the best advice on this thread so far. Ignore all the venting about turd-polishing and such... while it is frustrating to be given crap tracks to mix, it does you no good to just throw your hands up and shout "TURDPOLISH!" Although it is fun to say. Just get in there and figure out how to make it sound the best you can. Communicate and get as much info about what sort of things they'll like and then work to make the mix the best you can. Turn the weaknesses into strengths... I've had mixes where the snare sounded like ass and I had to process the hell out of it to get it to work and it ends up becoming some unique sound that really makes the track work... so try to start with a positive attitude and just mix it until you like it and then present it to the client with confidence. not "i hope you like what i did" but rather "you're going to really like what i did."
---
ross ingram
[brainville]

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red cross
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Post by red cross » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:50 am

I always ask for rough mixes. It's easier to hear where you want to go when listening to roughs instead of throwing the faders up and trying to figure everything out.

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Post by cgarges » Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:11 am

On the other side, I never want to hear roughs unless there's something specific the band wants me to do. I usually just sort of "go for it" and see what I can make happen with what I'm given. I'll usually ask the band along the way if they dig where it's going and I'll either get a "yes" or a "no." Sometimes the "nos" seem silly, but it's usually because I've yet to figure out where a few other "nos" are coming that help it all fit together a certain way.

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Post by Slider » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:15 pm

Some outside tracks are terrible and some are great.
I do try to get the tracks before I quote a price.
Sometimes you might be expected to comp, edit, tune (god forbid), or just make sense of a huge out of control project.
I mixed something last week that a band recorded at home. The client knew it was recorded really rough and just wanted it better for their myspace page.
It took 3 hours tops for two songs and ended up so much better than they ever expected.
Rarely does someone want a mix that's the same as their rough with slight level differences. If they loved the rough or original mix so much they wouldn't need to hire you.
I try not to let poorly recorded tracks get me down. I take them for what they are and even use them to my advantage sometimes. Most people know what went down during tracking and their expectations usually reflect that.

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Re: question for those of you who mix other people's recordi

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:47 am

yourmomsp wrote:question for you mixers out there who often mix tracks that either a band has recorded themselves or other engineers have recorded... how often do you run into a situation where, as you are mixing, you find the song difficult to mix either because you are not quite sure how to approach the song and/or you don't quite know how to achieve what the band is asking for the mix to sound? thanks.
I usually listen to the latest rough mix.

Then I ask lots and lots of questions.

Then I curse and / or praise the recording engineer, depending on how they recorded the tracks.

Then I ask to listen to reference mixes, finished albums / songs which the artists regards as good sonically, and a good target to aim for.

If I run into a problem child, I ask the artists what they envision for that miscreant, and try to get it there. I usually do the more difficult / boring songs first, get them out of the way, and then revisit them at the end when the sonic vibe of the whole album has been established, usually two or three songs into the mixing stage. It becomes much easier when the artist has established what they like as a drumkit sound, a bass sound, etc, so I have a better grasp of the overall sound of the record.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: question for those of you who mix other people's recordi

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:05 am

noeqplease wrote: If I run into a problem child, I ask the artists what they envision for that miscreant, and try to get it there. I usually do the more difficult / boring songs first, get them out of the way, and then revisit them at the end when the sonic vibe of the whole album has been established, usually two or three songs into the mixing stage. It becomes much easier when the artist has established what they like as a drumkit sound, a bass sound, etc, so I have a better grasp of the overall sound of the record.

Cheers
A very good point. 99% of the time I end up re-visiting mixes for the first and second song. They're always the ones that don't quite fit with the rest of the mixes.

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Post by Brian » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:22 pm

Do the best you can with what you get/got.
Ask them if there is something they are trying to get the tunes to sound like or individual tracks to sound like, then take the time to explain where you can't possibly make that happen.
think of it as a challenge.
If they aren't around and there's no one to tell you anything, GO FLIPPIN WILD, ALL THE WAY OUT with them, whatever you can do to make the tracks work.
If they have you back off a little it will be fine.
I have had two sessions that I could not make work in 30 years and I used to be three to ten times busier than anyone I knew.
I do not try to make songs in a project sound like the same production unles that's what they want, but, if it's a concept album, I'll ask a few more questions.
Harumph!

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Post by Scott Greenberg » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:38 pm

GO FLIPPIN WILD
I second that.

For the most part, if I'm mixing someone else's stuff...It's usually for people I know and trust to do a decent job in recording and communicating their expectations. Other than that !!go flippin wild!!
I'd like to change your mind by hitting it with a rock.

-TMBG

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