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the HARDEST thing about mixing is...???
Old 20th June 2005
  #1
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u b k's Avatar
 

the HARDEST thing about mixing is...???

for me, it's getting my attention off the thing i'm tweaking and pulling back to hear the entire song while still tweaking. getting away from 'how does the acoustic guitar sound' and back to 'is what i'm doing serving the groove, serving everything else?'

i feel best when i'm hypnotized by the foundation, drum and bass, and everything else is loud enough to ignore. if something jumps out and distracts me from the groove, it ought to be deliberate. not being able to hear something can be more distracting than having it too loud, ime. either have it out there, or tuck it in deep, that's my approach.

i have to remind myself that not everything is supposed to be equally audible. something has to be the focus, all else supports to greater or lesser degrees.

what's your challenge(s)? how do you deal with it/them?


gregoire
del ubik
Old 20th June 2005
  #2
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...bad songs. Haven't found any gear yet to fix that (****ty arrangements and bad playing can now be rectified with ProTools).

Old 20th June 2005
  #3
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PaRaNoId's Avatar
 

I find that it is hard to not get stuck in a rut.
I normally love hearing a loud kick, snare and elec guitars; but that tends to work against me when i mix music of different styles.

I also hate mixing in-the-box (which i do everyday, due to limited funding heh ).
Old 20th June 2005
  #4
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Big 3rd's Avatar
 

The hardest thing for me is trying to get my mix to sound wider, bigger, and deeper than before I tracked the music. The music seems to lose it's punchiness and width when I start separating things. But that was before I found out how important converters were and the greatness of Apogee's converters.

Another is me trying to decide what should be jumping out in super stereo and/or phase reversed and what should come directly at you in the mix, because I usually get tossed between the chorus and some sound that I want heard but not directly. I want my mix to sound like it was mixed at DR DRE's camp, where every sound and note are heard, even if it's in the background.
Old 20th June 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaRaNoId
I find that it is hard to not get stuck in a rut.
I normally love hearing a loud kick, snare and elec guitars; but that tends to work against me when i mix music of different styles.

I also hate mixing in-the-box (which i do everyday, due to limited funding heh ).

For me it's kick and bass. Just love it but too much and the mix turns to mud.

Nick
Old 20th June 2005
  #6
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RichT's Avatar
 

...knowing when to stop.

I've learnt it over the years but if I have bands sitting in on a mix with me they can't resist ****ing with a perfectly well mixed track and slapping some stupid cliche'd echo here and some dodgy delay there...

LEAVE IT ALONE!



heh
Old 20th June 2005
  #7
Geting it to sound competative with other contemporary releases -

Old 20th June 2005
  #8
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

Another vote for knowing when to stop...

And doing things to a mix I abhor, but the client/client's finance guy/second cousin twice removed by marriage/whoever, deems it necessary...
Old 20th June 2005
  #9
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finishing it. In my mind I'm still makingh changes to the very first track I ever mixed like ... let's see ... 23 years ago or so.

I love mixing ... I definately like it better then tracking and editing. And if I get to mix something I didn't track I love it even more because I get to blame other people fuuck . But playing it back one last time and saying 'this is it' is SOOOOOOOO freakin hard.

I'm allowing little to none '3rd party involvement' these days. It doesn't work. There's 2 people I can mix with while their present. A friend guitar player who's opinion on things seems to complement mine extremely well and a friend composer ... he just sits there and knods yes all the time.

I've let too many people ruin good mixes over the years (good being relative of course since it represented my opinion of a good mix). I've gotten extremely hesitant allowing them in during the work process.
Old 20th June 2005
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Lambrechts

I've let too many people ruin good mixes over the years (good being relative of course since it represented my opinion of a good mix). I've gotten extremely hesitant allowing them in during the work process.
Relative is right.

If they are paying for it, its really there right to ruin it.

Since you don't live with it once its out of your hands it shouldn't matter.

To me this is the hardest and most important thing to learn.
Old 20th June 2005
  #11
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Lambrechts
But playing it back one last time and saying 'this is it' is SOOOOOOOO freakin hard.
thats always mine... and i usually catch something i missed right after i mail it out.
Old 20th June 2005
  #12
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C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Relative is right.

If they are paying for it, its really there right to ruin it.

Since you don't live with it once its out of your hands it shouldn't matter.

To me this is the hardest and most important thing to learn.

Absolutely true and if that's the case it definately makes it easier. Often though in my world it's all about partnerships and spec deals. Who's 'responsable' for which aspect of the project.
Old 20th June 2005
  #13
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cultureofgreed's Avatar
 

Knowing when the mix is finished.
Old 20th June 2005
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cultureofgreed
Knowing when the mix is finished.

This is easy...when the funds run out. heh
Old 20th June 2005
  #15
no ssl yet
Guest
hardest thing

Every once in a while there's a mix that I have spent 3 hours on and hated my results. Where I say f u ck this, pull the faders down and start from the drums all over again.

This is the hardest thing. Working through that stage to a point where things/ideas begin to click. (Almost like writer's block, or that Pain u get the first 2 weeks of a workout when u havent worked out in years)

Makes u wanna pull out all your hair and say "I quit I am not an engineer" Fortunately, the faders come up and ideas do eventually get to flowing.

I notice I used to reach that point more on my mix system than HD. I dont know if its a sound quality difference, or the fact that I now have more DSP so I dont have to resort to rtas plugs and my screen redraws sloooooowing down. Mixing is alot like shooting pool. If you have basic skills, It's not tooo hard to be good, but It takes practice to be great
Old 20th June 2005
  #16
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paultools's Avatar
 

Mixing while someone is staring at me, scrutinizing my every move all day long... be it client, producer, second....
Old 20th June 2005
  #17
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Larrchild's Avatar
 

I watched Humberto Gatica do a 10 min monitor mix that sounded like an album. And It confirmed to me that each individual sound , in solo, should probably sound like s**t. Cause he just went thru each fader and shaped it's sound radically, and in an unrealistic manner. Yet when he un-solo'd them. it all made perfect sense.

Not making every track hi-fi is the hardest for me.
Old 20th June 2005
  #18
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by u b i k
for me, it's getting my attention off the thing i'm tweaking and pulling back to hear the entire song while still tweaking. getting away from 'how does the acoustic guitar sound' and back to 'is what i'm doing serving the groove, serving everything else?'

gregoire
del ubik
Its all about context. When you ride the fader on an instrument, focus on the vocal, not the thing you're riding. Do final EQing out of solo. Its all about how the pieces work together, not about the pieces. No one (well, OK, no one outside this forum ) consciously reacts to the EQ on the accoustic guitar.

And yes, knowing when its done is really hard.
Old 21st June 2005
  #19
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Jburn34's Avatar
 

1. Finishing it - I am constantly tweaking

2. Having the whole band in the control room trying to give their input and telling you to compress this and compress that.
Old 21st June 2005
  #20
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lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
Geting it to sound competative with other contemporary releases -

do you mean levels or mix style ?


-----------------





A: the low end
Old 21st June 2005
  #21
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max cooper's Avatar
 

One of the hardest things for me is to keep myself from putting on one of my 'reference' songs because I'll end up chasing that sound rather than giving the song the sound it wants to have.

I've also been trying to teach myself is that making the kit sound 'slammin' is good, but too much and it becomes a 'drum sound with background music'

Oh, and remembering to try the rooms and overheads at different pan widths. Sometimes narrowing them a little gets me half the way there.
Old 21st June 2005
  #22
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T_R_S's Avatar
Fixing other people's F'Ups!
And someone who wants me to mix 10 songs in one day and still have it sound like I mixed 10 songs in 10 days!
Old 21st June 2005
  #23
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Bounce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S
And someone who wants me to mix 10 songs in one day and still have it sound like I mixed 10 songs in 10 days!

hee hee ; ) word, nerd.

Or tracking something REALLY well (because you were hired to at your BETTER EQUIPPED room) and someone else taking it back to their untreated bowling alley closet control room, mixing it (with a chainsaw and ear plugs), and then releasing it with your name on the credits. Ouch!

It's one thing for me to butcher my own recordings or productions with a tortured mix, but when you track a really talented act really well and then get the final cd back from the "producer/mixer" and it sounds like you did it on a 4 track cassette with shooting range headphones on- yowza.

But seriously, maintaining the initial emotion after all the ones and zeros start flying on dense mix, that takes such a less focused kind of focus, kno' 'at I mean? Also, knowing what to simply MUTE and when.

mckay
Old 21st June 2005
  #24
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PhilE's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Lambrechts
I'm allowing little to none '3rd party involvement' these days. It doesn't work. There's 2 people I can mix with while their present. A friend guitar player who's opinion on things seems to complement mine extremely well and a friend composer ... he just sits there and knods yes all the time.

I've let too many people ruin good mixes over the years (good being relative of course since it represented my opinion of a good mix). I've gotten extremely hesitant allowing them in during the work process.

Never a truer word! There are things out there with my name on that I detest and always have since the people who paid sat there and mixed it 'with' me just the worst calls in the world and all your energy and focus goes into trying to not do what they are asking for cos you KNOW it's going to suck!

So the hardest thing for me is probablly still making the mix you are proud of and at the same time giving the client what they ask for!
Of course most people are fine, some are a joy but then there are those (usualy the little acts in my exp.) who think they know better... why do these people think they are paying us?
Old 21st June 2005
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Phil Buckle's Avatar
 

1 Getting enough Cowbell in the song.
2 Doing the Cowbell justice.
3 Coming up with convincing answers to clients who ask "do we really need a Cowbell in the ballad"
4 Stopping myself from talking about Cowbells to the A+R guy.
Old 21st June 2005
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Buckle
1 Getting enough Cowbell in the song.
2 Doing the Cowbell justice.
3 Coming up with convincing answers to clients who ask "do we really need a Cowbell in the ballad"
4 Stopping myself from talking about Cowbells to the A+R guy.
LMFBO
Old 21st June 2005
  #27
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilE
So the hardest thing for me is probablly still making the mix you are proud of and at the same time giving the client what they ask for!
Of course most people are fine, some are a joy but then there are those (usualy the little acts in my exp.) who think they know better... why do these people think they are paying us?

the way i've come to deal with this is to turn the music low, face the person, make solid eye contact, and say "tell me what you want to hear, and i'll figure out how to make it happen".

that generally works very well, probably because it honors their right to have things sound as they wish, while honoring the fact that i stand the best chance of making it happen if my methods aren't limited.

it's all about trust, in both directions. me trusting that what they're hearing in their head has merit, and can be realized in a good way, and them trusting me to get them where they want to go without feeling like they have to cling to the steering wheel.

i make it a challenge: to exceed everyone's expectations, including my own.


gregoire
del ubik
Old 21st June 2005
  #28
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Drumsound's Avatar
The hardest part of mixing is mixing!
Old 21st June 2005
  #29
That was very deep Tony... very moving...

Old 21st June 2005
  #30
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Letting go the song for good after spending time tracking it producing it, living with it
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