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How many times do you revisit a mix?
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JoRillo
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#1
25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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How many times do you revisit a mix?

I know most of the answers are going to be "As many times as the song needs", but I figure i'll ask it anyway just to see what kind of answers I get.

If you are mixing a personal/commercial project, and have an entire album/mix tape of songs recorded in need for mixing/mastering, are you doing little bits to all of them until they are completed, or mixing entire songs then moving on to the next one until all are finished?

Do you often find yourself doing tweaks for days even after they have been "finished"? Do you often find yourself tweaking things up until the deadline even if they sound good and you like your mix?

Do you try to mix most of the songs to have a similar pattern ( vocal panning, plug ins, 2bus chain) to keep the same feel threw out the project or are you doing something completely different on everything?
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25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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Depends on the client, really. If it's an attended session, I rarely revisit the mix. If it's not, I'll typically do one revision.

That said, if I'm the producer on a record, and it's a record I've been busting my balls over, I might tweak the mix three or four times before I'm happy. But my philosophy is, if I need to do more than one or two revisions, I should probably just remix the song from scratch. The vibe is everything, and if I didn't nail it on that first pass, all the revisions in the world won't recapture it.
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JoRillo
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25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
My philosophy is, if I need to do more than one or two revisions, I should probably just remix the song from scratch. The vibe is everything, and if I didn't nail it on that first pass, all the revisions in the world won't recapture it.
That's a really good outlook that I have never though of... Already glad I made this thread.
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25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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One other quick note I wanna mention: one of the best things about working professionally is that you are REQUIRED to finish a mix. When you're working on your own material, you can tweak forever and never complete the process. But with clients, you gotta wrap things up, quickly and within their budget, so you're forced to call it after a certain point.

I suppose that given a project with no deadline, or no budget, I might be inclined to revisit my mixes a lot more times. This would be especially true of me a few years ago, not necessarily because I'm a better mixer now (though, that certainly helps!), but because the longer I do this, the more inclined I am to be OK with simply letting go.

There aren't a lot of mixes out there in the world I can point to and say, "I'm 100% happy with how this came out". But, the things needed to be finished by necessity, so they're out there, and I can either sweat it and be bummed, or just be psyched that people are paying me to help them make their records. I prefer taking the latter attitude.
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25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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I don't know if it counts as revisiting, but here's how my process usually breaks down.

I'll do a rough for myself. Then I distance myself from it, and come back to it fresh. If I like it (happens more frequently these days, yay!), then I'll fine tune it. If I don't like it, I'll tear down and start from scratch.

From there I create my "rough mix" (which is actually my second mix often) to send to the client. I kind of send it with the expectation that there will be some revisions. Usually it's a round of revisions, followed by one or two more little revisions. Sometimes I nail it from the gate. More often than not it's actually the third/fourth iteration of the mix that goes to mastering.

That said, only under unique situations do I charge for recalls - if I feel I'm doing a completely separate mix, if I am recalling recalls (boost the cymbals, next revision, ok take the cymbals down), or if the production changes after I've started the mix. And even in those cases I can be pretty forgiving. So I'll recall the hell out of a mix if I feel it's genuinely leading to better results.

Most recalls I've ever done on a single mix is actually the one I'm working on today. There's 17 or 18 versions of this mix. We tried the mix with alternative vocal takes, saw it through to completion, producer swapped the drums, saw that through to completion, made variations to the main sample like a million times, sent that off to mastering, producer came back and said he wanted to swap the main sample so we're back in the mix stage now. Yes, I charged for it.
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25th February 2012
Old 25th February 2012
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On average, 1-2 passes max on revisions.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jb4play View Post
On average, 1-2 passes max on revisions.
second that!
#8
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Too many times!!!...I´m my own worst enemy on mixes & lose all perspective at times.
It usually turns out that the first run works best.
#9
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McFullon View Post
Too many times!!!...I´m my own worst enemy on mixes & lose all perspective at times.
It usually turns out that the first run works best.
Exactly. I get paranoid when I mix too long. I find I usually get to a point where I am making unnecessary changes to an already good mix.
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#10
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
One other quick note I wanna mention: one of the best things about working professionally is that you are REQUIRED to finish a mix. When you're working on your own material, you can tweak forever and never complete the process. But with clients, you gotta wrap things up, quickly and within their budget, so you're forced to call it after a certain point.

I suppose that given a project with no deadline, or no budget, I might be inclined to revisit my mixes a lot more times. This would be especially true of me a few years ago, not necessarily because I'm a better mixer now (though, that certainly helps!), but because the longer I do this, the more inclined I am to be OK with simply letting go.

There aren't a lot of mixes out there in the world I can point to and say, "I'm 100% happy with how this came out". But, the things needed to be finished by necessity, so they're out there, and I can either sweat it and be bummed, or just be psyched that people are paying me to help them make their records. I prefer taking the latter attitude.
This.
#11
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Mixes for my own projects : A million times :P
Mixes for other people's work : maybe 2 times, but there were cases of mixes, when i was working till the last minute before the deadline..
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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I have a system that works great for me, I keep everything ITB and fully recallable, if I use some outboard (usually reverb) I print it. That way I can switch between songs in one click and work on all of them at the same time. It keeps my perspective fresh, and whole thing sounds more consistent in some way, processing is different from song to song but the general vibe is similar. That way I can do a whole album in 3 days and first take usually is almost final, then 2 or 3 revisions with stuff like simple tuning if I miss it, cutting something and all that. I work through emails/facebook becouse of that, but I hate mixing with someone behind me so its a win win.
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Storyville had some good advice.

I usually spend about an hour doing a rough mix, which involves fixing the levels, some basic eq and compression. Generally here you're looking for good balance across the frequency spectrum.

After that, take a break, then revisit it. Try to pick out things that either bother you or things you know you can make better because trust me, you will ALWAYS find something.
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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If it’s a mix I’m doing for a client: The mix is done when they approve it. Sometimes there are zero revisions needed. Sometimes there are one or two. In rare situations where the client is insanely anal and second-guesses themselves all the time it might be four. I think the max I’ve done is five (and they apologized profusely about it). It’s their record, not mine, so they decide when it’s done. A normal mix job includes unlimited revisions so it’s really up to them. Generally, especially if you are on a second revision or later, it’s stuff like take one fader and nudge it 0.5dB and print it again – more of a nuisance than anything else because you have to load it up, set the outboard, print real-time, transfer to the internet computer, upload it to the client, wait for feedback….

If it’s a mix I’m doing for a client, but I was also the producer: There generally aren’t revisions needed. But since I produced the record, I really have to separate myself from it for at least a week. Otherwise I can’t see the freakin’ forest from the trees because I’m still too close to it. Sometimes that’s not logistically feasible, but really there needs to be some time away from it. I’ll mix other records that are in my work cue, and then come back to it.

If it’s a mix I’m doing for MYSELF and I’m the artist and the producer and there’s nobody else: This just sucks balls. Luckily, I have zero aspirations to become an artist. I did it once last year on a for-fun record I did just for myself and only played for two people. I tweaked that stupid thing forever. Not the most thrilling experience. If I were trying to become an artist I would just hire someone else, even if that other person isn’t as good at mixing as I am, because I just couldn’t be objective at all.

But overall with tweaking, the difference between mixing for yourself and mixing for someone else is that when it’s for yourself you can tweak endlessly BECAUSE YOU CAN. When it’s for a client, you have to turn the record in so there is a finish line to cross. You finish BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO. That finish line is what makes you stop tweaking (usually making things worse in the process!). So my advice to any artist mixing their own stuff in order to save money is to pick a good RESPONSIBLE friend and make then your project manager and make them give you deadlines, and turn your mixes in to them. Otherwise you will tweak forever and probably turn what was magical into a pile of over-tweaked and lifeless poo.
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#15
27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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For me it's usually 1 or 2 revisions, I am only mixing stuff I've produced though.

I tend to jump around tracks and come back to them as I believe going away and coming back is a very revealing method like Chris Carter says. It can sound good at the time, wait even a week come back and you can be like WTF, I mix and master my stuff and generally work it on it bit by bit, so I'll mix and finalize(master) it and then leave it and come back and check and if it's good then vola, done!

For example my group album(check sig), I mixed the tracks as they were produced over the months but as I'm always still learning new techniques, before we put it out I went and revised alot of them and I would do that in the future too for any project I worked on.
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27th February 2012
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After I finish a mix I usually wait til I wake up next day/afternoon and go back for a touch up if needed. I like to listen with fresh ears. After I submit a mix I wait for everyone (artist, manager, producer, a&r, dog, goldfish, etc.) to get back with their approval or changes thru the designated mouthpiece (usually the artist or manager) and I do any changes and all the passes.

I do have one artist I work with alot who is platinum and 5 albums deep and he will wind up asking for changes and then always ask you to change it back to the way I had it originally. It always revolves around his vocal levels. 10am he wants it loud. 5pm he wants is louder. 11pm he wants it back the way it used to be the first time. It's all in the game.
#17
28th February 2012
Old 28th February 2012
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Usually two or three, the second and third just to make minor tweaks to certain levels or eq's after referencing on some different systems.




Good topic!
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#18
28th February 2012
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For me, about 20-25 times, lol. More like 5-10 but that is a big reason I don't do any final mixes, just rough to get the general idea. I only bring this up because I honestly feel I can mix as well as a few of the professionals I have worked with but it would also take me about a month per song. Not that I am happy with anyone I feel I can mix better than, my mixes are far from great, but I often am not in the decision making chair.
#19
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
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Usually 1-3 times, never more than 5 unless absolutely necessary
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