Tim Latham

Another decade as a Mix Engineer

As this decade comes to its inevitable conclusion, I ask myself, well, how did I get hear?  What a long strange trip it’s been I must say.  It started out with me living in TriBeCa, actually purchasing my first cell phone (I can hear the laughs from hear) and using pro tools only casually, to finishing it with my own blog, a couple of cell phones, a website to run, and a full blown pro tools mixing studio in a house out in the burbs of NYC.  As the next decade begins I find myself mid-way through my 3rd decade of life inside a recording studio.  With nearly 24 years years of studio time, I realize that I’m starting to become a competent mix engineer.  I said it. I, Tim Latham has finally become a competent mix engineer.  I did resist the full switch to a daw until I was sure that I could get similar results from one that I could with tape.  When pro tools hd was released and de-bugged, I was sold.  Some have called it the home studio revolution but I think it was more evolution.  With budgets sinking faster than Jay Lenos ratings and real estate prices skyrocketing combined with the cost of daw’s coming down to about 1/10th their digital reel to reel counterparts, it was nearly impossible for studios to keep their doors open.  Home studios began to fill the void of the closed rooms.  A few great tracking and mixing studios have survived to this day (thankfully) and a few new, smaller rooms have opened up as well.  In a rare moment of foresight, I saw the end of big room studios coming to an end and dove head first into the industry standard pro tools, and built a mix room in my house in an effort to survive.  Some of my colleagues weren’t too happy with my decision, claiming that I was becoming part of the problem (mixing in the box is still taboo to many mixing engineers) but I have bills to pay and I wasn’t going to throw away at that point close to 20 years of experience as well as years in college on principal.  And I was wholly qualified to do absolutely nothing else.  So I dedicated a lot of time money and effort to get my studio up to speed as well as re-learning how to mix.  So as a new decade dawns upon us I am remiss to hazard a guess about what the future holds after seeing the tumultuous decade of the aughts.  But I will guess that the recording studio business won’t change all that much, with a few big rooms managing to stay open and smaller rooms like mine will continue to offer great quality mixes.  The monetizing of recorded music will figure itself out.  And I can only hope that there is a cultural sea-change amongst consumers who feel that free music is their right.  While I really want a Ford GT, if I took one off the lot of my local dealership because I felt that it was my right to have one I’d wind up in prison doing 1-5 for felony grand theft.  I am hopeful.  A bit nervous (nothing like a touch of fear for motivation!)  And I am also very grateful that I’m still invited into peoples dreams for a living.

Posted on December 31, 2009.
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