Tim Latham

Mixing Demos

When mixing a demo, treat it like you’re trying to beat Sgt. Peppers or Pet Sounds or any of your favorite recordings.  Any mix engineer worth their weight in patch cables should never put anything less than 100% into their demo mixes or rough mixes.  There are numerous instances in my career as a mix engineer where the rough mix was as good as if not better than the final mix.  As mixers, we tend to get in our own way when attempting to make a mix perfect.  I find that it’s often the imperfections in demo mix or rough mix that give a record its charm.  There certainly are instances where the arrangements are far too complex nail a mix when doing a rough.  Mixing records that are complicated require much more time to realize than an hour or so.  But there are plenty of occasions when putting together a rough mix that the mix kind of falls into place.  Sometimes its unconscious and there is something to be said for that.  It’s a good tool to have as an audio engineer, that tool being the ability to “get out of your own way”.  Also remain conscious of the fact that there is always a chance that the rough or the demo might become the actual record.  Never underestimate your own abilities when mixing demos.  Mix every song, be it a demo, a rough mix or a final mix as if it’s going to be the one that get’s you the Grammy award.

Posted on December 11, 2009.
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