Mixing, eh? Annoying init. The 4am wrestling matches with your DAW, much pulling of hair and agonising about why it doesn’t sound right; why the drums aren’t punching through, or what’s wrong with those vocals? It can often be the most frustrating part of your project, and it’s no wonder — training your ears to discern the nuances of a mix and how to properly treat it takes years, and even then the results depend on a wide range of variables, not least the quality of the recording and the density of the material you are trying to mix. Mixes often suffer from being overcrowded; too “busy”. It might have seemed like that 4th guitar overdub was poised to make your track sound IMMENSE, but when you find yourself pulling your hair out because the drums are being swallowed up by an uncontrollable sludge, suddenly the wisdom of that decision may become questionable. That’s why it is always recommended that as much care and attention as possible is put into the recording stage, so that the mix doesn’t become bloated and confusing and end up driving you to the brink of insanity.
I’ve definitely been there..
When I undertake a recording I like to build the mix as I go along, making careful decisions about microphones and mic placement, so that I know I’m not going to make the mixing process needlessly confusing, but instead as straightforward as possible. I assure you that it’s not a good strategy to throw up a load of mics and just hope that one of them sounds good. I know it seems like a benefit of unlimited tracks in a digital session, but actually this is more often a major drawback, encouraging sloppiness at the recording stage and endless stress at the mixing stage. It is very easy to become fatigued with a complicated mix, and when that objectivity is lost, it can only really be reclaimed after a substantial distance has been placed between you and the material. It’s imperative at that point that you step away, and sever your emotional connection to the project. As we are all painfully aware, this is easier said than done.
So, first and foremost, the best approach to a mix begins at the recording stage. This means ensuring that sufficient attention has been paid to the quality of the instrument, the standard of the performance, the combination of tones, and the overall detail of the recording, factors that are integral to any recording session carried out with us.
A lot of work can make a bad recording sound okay. Minimal work can make a great recording sound amazing!
THE MIX DOCTOR
Okay, so enough with the idealistic approach. Of course it’s true that the perfect recording, however desirable, may not always have been carried out to the degree of perfection you had envisaged. Perhaps your recording was done under time-limited conditions, perhaps problems cropped up along the way, or perhaps you’ve been slaving away at it for so long that you don’t even know what year it is anymore.
So, what can you do?
You can call the MIX DOCTOR!
When you’ve reached a stage where you don’t know which way is up and which way is down, what you need is an objective pair of ears.
You see, it is possible to significantly improve most out-of-control mixes by employing any number of techniques, whether it’s just a light dusting down, or a complete rebuild, I can help you get back on track with your mix and alleviate the stress you’ve been suffering during those 4am hair-pulling sessions. And best of all, we can work any number of ways, be it remotely over the internet, here at the studio, or even at your place on your own setup.
I charge a £40 diagnostic fee, where I will spend up to 2 hours inspecting your project, and then provide a full, itemised breakdown of where the problems are and what can be done to fix them. You are then free to take the report away and dive back into your project yourself, or, if you go ahead and book a mix session, that initial £40 will be deducted from the cost.
If you are in a crisis and you don’t know what to do, always remember, you can…CALL THE MIX DOCTOR!