help me decide between two mixing engineers

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yourmomsp
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help me decide between two mixing engineers

Post by yourmomsp » Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:31 pm

I'm in a situation where I'm trying to decide between two mixing engineers to mix an album I've recorded. The situation is as follows:

1) I have an opportunity to work with a "big named" mixing engineer. This person has mixed several records that I have liked in the past. The only issue I have ran into so far is that I have not interacted with this person directly. I have had to talk to him through his manager, which has been a little annoying (or something that is new to me) since it has taken me about 6 months to confirm dates with this person. Understandably, this person has probably been trying to schedule things out with more well known groups, and so I was probably on the lower end of the priority list. But the dates are confirmed.

2) While I was waiting around to confirm dates with the first engineer, I looked around for other options and came across another mixing engineer who is not as well known but has also worked some bands that I have listened to and admire. I've interacted with this person directly and he has shown more eagerness in wanting to work with me.

In comparing the two, the bigger name has a bigger studio setup than the smaller engineer. Their fees are comparable, but I would have only 4 days to work the bigger name and 6 days to work with the smaller name. I think both engineers could be appropriate for my music, but the end mixes will likely be different. The bigger name definitely has his unique sound which I dig. The smaller name was less of a distinct sound but I think would probably make a mix that I would be happy with.

For me, I want both an enjoyable experience making music with someone and a great sounding mix. I think working with the bigger name might result in a more special sounding mix, but I've only been dealing with his manager (not the greatest experience) so I have less of a sense of what the experience would be like. I have a better sense of having a good experience with the smaller name but it might be leave me wondering what would it have been like to have worked with the bigger name?

anyone have any thoughts or opinions?

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Post by vvv » Fri Nov 11, 2016 5:38 am

Is this to be a commercial release?

"You get what you pay for" may apply, then, and the "big name" may have commercial value as such.

Which is not to say the lesser known won't blow up, eh?

But if it's not a "commercial release", then go with your gut - which would you rather hear?

And while your own vanity (in seeing the big name on your record) is a legitimate factor - will the 6 days vs. 4 make for better odds of greater end result? Or will the "unique sound" be more important?

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yourmomsp
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Post by yourmomsp » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:51 am

thanks for the feedback. i'm less thinking about the commercial factor for the bigger name, but i do think working with him might be more of a unique experience and result in a mix that's more unique.

I guess I'm just wondering if I should let my lukewarm experience with his manager color my impression of what it would be like to work with him. By all accounts, he's a cool guy to work with. Do things just get more impersonal and difficult logistically when you "move up the totem pole" with producers/engineers?

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Post by vvv » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:44 am

FWIW, I'm in a profession (non-music) and believe that would be a bit of an accurate description of some in most professions. Someone who is really good/successful tries to maximize their time in doing what they are good at, and mebbe neglects and certainly delegates things they feel are less important.

If he is sufficiently busy, he may feel that his unfriendly manager culls out the potentially whiney clients.

Not exactly "professional", but not unheard of ...
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JWL
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Post by JWL » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:10 am

Clearly you should just hire me to mix your project. :wink:

In all seriousness, it's a tough call. If you have the budget and really believe in the project, then working with a world class mix engineer is an opportunity that doesn't come around all that often. It might be worth going that route; most likely, once the project is underway, you will get the engineer's full attention. He (or she) pays the manager so they CAN focus only on mixing.

On the other hand, there are a ton of really talented but not yet famous mix engineers out there. It's likely that one of them will give your project more attention in terms of time available. If you are really vibing with one, then that can be a quite fruitful relationship & experience as well.

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joninc
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Post by joninc » Mon Nov 14, 2016 5:30 pm

get over the manager thing - you wanted this guy and you have dates booked. go for it!
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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:41 am

I feel that enthusiasm is very important and would speak to the "bigger name" personally for a brief phone call and see what they're like before making the decision. It is a dilemma..complicated..enthusiasm and mixing chops need to be compared and contrasted.

I'm sure with any you choose if you stay on top of a smooth work flow and work hard at communicating what you need done it will be amazing with either.

Could you use both? some songs here some there ?

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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:37 am

Hi,

Always,
ALWAYS,
ALWAYS!!!

Use the engineer which is THE BEST FIT for your project.

Names really mean nothing much at all. It really comes down to whether the engineer "GETS" what your project is about.

Cheers
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markjazzbassist
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Post by markjazzbassist » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:27 am

easy for me, i'd rather 6 days in the studio than 4. If both will do a good job use the engineer that maximizes time and money. Big names don't mean anything, read around here on the forum to read umpteen big name letdown threads.

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vvv
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Post by vvv » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:50 am

"Big Name Letdown" - my next band.
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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:14 am

Yes, I have seen several friends and acquaintances go with "big names" because using them to produce/engineer/mix was going to "help" the project somehow (not due to actual work done, but based on some ephemeral idea of associational promotion)... These projects always turn-out to be very, very expensive, but the golden promise of "if only so-and-so is associated with it" never (N.E.V.E.R.) pans out.

In a related but different funny story (in regards to the manager/impersonal aspect), I once knew a guy in a band (ok, me), who a long, long time ago happened to get his hands on a famous producer/mixer/musician's manager's contact info. This famous mixer's name rhymes with Rod Dungren. The band just wanted to know what it would cost (a dollar figure) to hire Rod Dungren to mix their fledging record (this was back in the day when basically only this person and a few others were known as "mixers;" it wasn't very common to have a whole slew of people with special magic sprinkles to mix everything, folks generally mixed what they recorded).

Anyway, talking to the manager was a dead-end. He wanted to know what major label the record was coming out on, and would not consider an independent act for any amount of U.S. currency whatsoever.

The ironic part is, I would bet that Rod would be glad to take just about any independent project he could get his hands on at this point.

Go with your gut, but I like the guy who showed interest and spoke with you personally. Use your negotiations with the other guy (manager boy) to bring the price of the "smaller name" guy down a bit. Put the savings toward mastering.

GJ
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vvv
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Post by vvv » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:25 am

NY Dolls beatcha out, did they? :twisted:
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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:45 pm

The period in question was somewhere between the New York Dolls and The Pursuit of Happiness (in other words, mid to late 80's).

GJ
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vvv
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Post by vvv » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:14 pm

Ha! I was gonna name-check them first, but thought the NYD a little more hip ...
:twisted:
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