This is topic that I’ve been dealing with for my entire career as mix engineer. I implore every band and every recording engineer working with a band to encourage them to budget time and money for mixing and mastering. Even with the guidance of a producer, time and money has a habit of disappearing quickly. This may seem to be self-serving, and I guess that it is. But being a mix engineer, I constantly hear from bands wanting me to mix their records (not demos) for free because they spent their entire budget recording their record. While there have been occasions that I actually have mixed for free, I submit that it would be a bit nuts to go out and buy everything you need to build a house but didn’t allow for the actual construction or the painting of it. I’ve never met a contractor who would build/paint for free. Hiring a proper mix engineer is crucial to making a great record. One that possess’ real talent can take a decent recording and turn it into a masterpiece. The likelihood of finding one to do it for little money or for free greatly diminishes your choices. There are plenty of really talented mixers who can take your project from OK to amazing, for a price. Inquire in advance the fees of a few mix engineers that you would like to work with and budget accordingly. Don’t get sloppy and cut corners while recording, just record smart. If the proper amount of time is spent in pre-production an awesome record can be made on a tight budget.
I’ve been receiving a lot of questions regarding online audio engineering programs. There is desire amongst home studio engineers to learn more about their craft. Bit there appears to be a limited amount of options available. The two most common sources for such an education are the big name music schools and instructional dvd’s. There doesn’t seem to be many other alternatives. After years of fielding the same questions, I’ve developed an online program that I’m pretty sure fills the gap between the two. It is designed to increase your skill set as a mix engineer. I’ve drawn from my 23 years of experience in recording studios to assemble what I think can be of tremendous value to home recording enthusiasts and established mix engineers who want to advance their careers in the music industry. The technical details are being finalized and within the next week or two and the program will be detailed here. Please check back and feel free to contact me as your input will help me shape the program
I’ve heard from many mix engineers of varying skill that “you can’t mix in the box or shouldn’t”. And my response it that I can “mix in the box” only because I’ve retrained myself to do so. It’s an ongoing debate with valid points made on both sides. Mixing in pro tools is certainly not the same as mixing on a big console. Having spent almost 2 decades in the analog world, I have a different point of view then those who’ve started their careers in the pro tools world. In the early versions of pro tools, doing anything in it sounded like crap. When digidesign got the HD together, I was sold. Not just on recording in it. It was a great digital recorder that replaced reel to reel machines forever. But it also was a great editor. It changed the way in which records were made forever.
But it was a few years before “mixing in the box” became an issue. Technically, you should be able to do a much better job mixing pro tools files through an SSL or a NEVE in a big name recording studio. And at fist that’s exactly what I did. And then the budgets started shrinking, fast. I saw the budget tsunami on the horizon and built my own HD mixing studio with a ton of plugins as well as my analog gear. I spent a lot of time tuning my room and it’s pretty damn flat. Then I had to re-learn how to mix. This was a challenge, but I had my analog experience to draw from. One of the first projects completed in my new room won Best New Artist on the MTV awards, The Gym Class Heroes. There have been many since, including a Grammy Award for the Broadway cast album for “In The Heights”. So yes, it can be done without compromising quality. I would never work in a manner that would give my clients anything but the best that I could possibly give them. And I have successfully made the change to mixing in the box. For those who tell you that it can’t be done, I say that it cannot be done by them.