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Why can you attend a mastering session but not mixing?
Old 15th July 2005
  #1
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Lek's Avatar
 

Why can you attend a mastering session but not mixing?

I've been talking to mixing engineers to mix my stuff. They either don't want me to sit in, or to pay them $100 extra per hour to sit in.
I've been composing, recording, and mixing for years.

I think it would be amazingly helpful to watch a great mix engineer at work to:
1. Help me record my next album better
2. Become better at mixing myself
3. Be EXREMELY fun and interesting to me - I love the whole art of recording and mixing.

I understand to a degree that they might have to go through all sorts of things (in the trenches) where it might not sound good at first, but I would simply watch and not tell them what to do - just observe what compressor and eq settings they use, how they fade, how much reverb they might use, where they pan.
Old 15th July 2005
  #2
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If you are there...it is paid 'dedicated' studio time.
If not...the mixing can be done offline....

Plus...once you see how quickly and easily a good mix engineer works...you will never go back again!

You promise to sit still? Easier said than done. :-)

P&B,
Old 15th July 2005
  #3
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I forgot to mention...Some of those cat's mix in thier underwear. Trade secret.
Old 15th July 2005
  #4
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

maybe you are not a fun guy to be around with : ) (kidding)

I'm sure their past experiences have made them take this route. Don't take it personal. Some people like it some don't. I'm not a mix guy, but I definetly understand why they want to mix alone.

About mastering "ok" vs. mixing "not ok", I think it's because mixing has to many variables to take care of and way more concentration is needed in longer periods of time. And being in a room with some amateur who keeps asking "why did you do that" (90% of the time I suppose), I would also take the determination to always mix alone or with someone at my same level giving suggestions I know I can trust. You are not paying him to go and learn what compressors he uses, you are paying him for a mix. If you want to learn take one of Mr. Wagener's courses. : )
Old 15th July 2005
  #5
Harmless Wacko
 

Because you:

Rob me of the best weapon in my sonic arsenal: Your FIRST IMPRESSION, which we will NOT HAVE if you are there for all the laborious bloodletting.

End of story.

SM.
Old 15th July 2005
  #6
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperman
Because you:

Rob me of the best weapon in my sonic arsenal: Your FIRST IMPRESSION, which we will NOT HAVE if you are there for all the laborious bloodletting.

End of story.

SM.
well said : )
Old 15th July 2005
  #7
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dave-G's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
I forgot to mention...Some of those cat's mix in thier underwear. Trade secret.
Busted!!

-dave
Old 15th July 2005
  #8
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doorknocker's Avatar
I think it's common and also important to attend once the mix is taking shape, even if it's just for a short time.
That should be possible, or at least get a CD to check it at home and then give some input to the mixer.

Starting a mix with somebody sitting in the back is THE WORST POSSIBLE THING though. Say work on a bass sound,even if it's just for a minute, and getting the 'But you wouldn't put the bass that high in the mix' wisdom from the client....

Singers are the worst really, try an effect just for the hell of it and be sure that some folks are deadly offended how you dare messing with their incredible, performance in its blissful, pure state.....

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 15th July 2005
  #9
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gp71
I've been talking to mixing engineers to mix my stuff. They either don't want me to sit in, or to pay them $100 extra per hour to sit in.
I've been composing, recording, and mixing for years.

I think it would be amazingly helpful to watch a great mix engineer at work to:
1. Help me record my next album better
2. Become better at mixing myself
3. Be EXREMELY fun and interesting to me - I love the whole art of recording and mixing.

I understand to a degree that they might have to go through all sorts of things (in the trenches) where it might not sound good at first, but I would simply watch and not tell them what to do - just observe what compressor and eq settings they use, how they fade, how much reverb they might use, where they pan.
For me, having to address comments or questions while i am getting a mix together slows things down exponentially, because not only am I acting on what is coming out of the speakers, i am imagining my next several moves. Having to stop for any reason takes me out of my 'groove' and it can take a while to get back into it. Even the 'vibe' of someone in the room doubting or questioning what is going on can be a drag. I am happy to answer questions, once a mix is done, about anything i have done to get it there [settings and things like that vary from project to project for me, so what I might do in one context I may do the complete opposite on the next project].

Slipperman has already hit on the other reason why i don't like the client in the room while the mix is in progress. Someone has to bring a fresh perspective to the party when I feel like the mix is in a good place. A 'forest' view vs. a 'trees' view is very valuable, and you are not going to have a 'forest' view if you sit there listening to solo'd, sub-mixed, and pieces of the final picture all day long.

my two cents...

John
Old 15th July 2005
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
John and Slippy have said exactly what I was thinking about this.

I like to get the mix 90% there (or more) and then play it for the client.
Old 15th July 2005
  #11
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Lek's Avatar
 

For anyone who reads this, please understand I am not attacking anyone nor defending a position that I HAVE to be at the session, I'm just trying to get a better understanding. If it's better for my mix if I'm not there, fine, I won't attend. These are just thoughts at the incipient stages of an album I'm recording. Thank you for your responses
Quote:
Plus...once you see how quickly and easily a good mix engineer works...you will never go back again!
Actually, I would think I'd love to go back every time. I would learn more each and every time.
Quote:
About mastering "ok" vs. mixing "not ok", I think it's because mixing has to many variables to take care of and way more concentration is needed in longer periods of time. And being in a room with some amateur who keeps asking "why did you do that" (90% of the time I suppose), I would also take the determination to always mix alone or with someone at my same level giving suggestions I know I can trust. You are not paying him to go and learn what compressors he uses, you are paying him for a mix. If you want to learn take one of Mr. Wagener's courses. : )
Excellent reasons.
Quote:
Because you: Rob me of the best weapon in my sonic arsenal: Your FIRST IMPRESSION, which we will NOT HAVE if you are there for all the laborious bloodletting
I completely understand but why doesn't this apply to mastering engineers - even if there is not as much 'laborious bloodletting'. In addition, I'm used to doing the laborious bloodletting myself, when I mix in my studio, so I won't be 'shocked'.
Quote:
For me, having to address comments or questions while i am getting a mix together slows things down exponentially, because not only am I acting on what is coming out of the speakers, i am imagining my next several moves. Having to stop for any reason takes me out of my 'groove' and it can take a while to get back into it. Even the 'vibe' of someone in the room doubting or questioning what is going on can be a drag.
And I would imagine the same thing of someone sitting in back of me
Quote:
A 'forest' view vs. a 'trees' view is very valuable, and you are not going to have a 'forest' view if you sit there listening to solo'd, sub-mixed, and pieces of the final picture all day long.
I do feel I'm in a slightly different situation. I mix, sub-mix, eq, etc all day when I mix and record my own stuff as well so I relate to the forest/trees thing. That's why I'd like to sit there and observe. I'm not a producer/musician who has no experience with this - I in fact have been doing it for years. I understand what the trenches are - and I'd just like to observe someone else in those trenches.

Overall I'd rather not be there if it were not good for the session.
Old 15th July 2005
  #12
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bobby yarrow's Avatar
 

I usually hate having anyone else in the room, for all the reasons said. I have done some mixing for a really gifted engineer, and he was there the whole time, and those sessions were fruitful enough to make it worth the burden of having him.
Old 15th July 2005
  #13
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paterno's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gp71
I do feel I'm in a slightly different situation. I mix, sub-mix, eq, etc all day when I mix and record my own stuff as well so I relate to the forest/trees thing. That's why I'd like to sit there and observe. I'm not a producer/musician who has no experience with this - I in fact have been doing it for years. I understand what the trenches are - and I'd just like to observe someone else in those trenches.

Overall I'd rather not be there if it were not good for the session.
No offense taken at all here.

As I'm sure you already know -- communication, repect, and trust go a long way, and once you have established these things anything is possible. Maybe a 'deal' can be worked out, once you develop a relationship with the person you choose to do your mixes. Every situation is different -- i know from my own experience that the way to get the best reuslts from me is to let me have my space. If things are going well, and you say to me at song 9 or 10, 'hey, do mind if I hang while you do this one?', the odds are good that i'll say 'OK'. I have found that if i don't go in with the 'i need my time with it' approach, I end up frustrated, and I think my performance and thus the sound of the record suffers.

just don't ask me for the Pro Tools mix sessions... [an entirely different discussion!]

Cheers and good luck...

john
Old 15th July 2005
  #14
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

i dont have any problems with clients sitting in on mixing sessions. i actually enjoy them sitting in. i dont mind them commenting either. i learned how to multitask eons ago so i can carry on a conversation while doing other things [although times i might stop in mid sentence if i am doing something i cant continue... and every client sees that]... i also have a knack for getting into the clients head with what they want and they might make comments at first but i will eventually lock in ESP-like to their head and be doing stuff right as they start to comment and it freaks them out....


i dont give a crap about their first impression... because they have already had that ruined during tracking to begin with... i rather enjoy them hearing it all come together better and better.
Old 15th July 2005
  #15
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Messiah's Avatar
 

I'm with Alpha on this... I used to be one of these 'leave me to do my thing' mixers, but more recently I have found that I can get mixes completed quicker, and don't bust my own ass mentally, if I have the artist/bend member(s) present when I mix.

I do like to get a few things sorted out first though, like all the imports and routing, before the clients arrive.

I have over mixed a few projects in my time, but I have never done this with clients present... that's why I appreciate having them there and I have no insecurity whatsoever because I know I can 99/100 deliver what they want.

I'm also not in the business to be a hermit.
Old 15th July 2005
  #16
Gear Addict
 
lefthando's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Messiah
I'm also not in the business to be a hermit.
I couldn't agree more!! I like the atmosphere of musicans hanging out and intoxicating themselves while I mix. Not to mention the ping-pong or foosball tourneys in the lounge.

It's fun to be discussing the merits of a particular console or other piece of gear while I'm working, only to have the guitar player later say something like:

"Whoa, Dude... I can FEEL the sound of the Console on my skin, man!"
Old 16th July 2005
  #17
I always suggest to come in when its 75% done especially if its for the first time.

This way if the mix needs to go in a different direction we can catch it early on.

Without the client there for the last 25% its almost impossible to finish.

If the client wants to learn how to mix i encourage them to pay me for lessons outside their time.
Old 16th July 2005
  #18
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Why

The way I see it you can do whatever you want if you're paying someone for a service, although they certainly have a right to charge more if you want to witness the event, as long as they disclose it up front.

A lot of people I know in the biz are really paranoid about people stealing their ideas and techniques. Maybe he doesn't want you standing over him and snitching "trade secrets".
Old 16th July 2005
  #19
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jpupo74's Avatar
I think is a matter of concentration...

People asking questions

Eating junk food

cell phone ringing

People sleaping and snoring on the couch

This can turn on a mixing session really boring. Also, 80% of the time, there´s one band member that sucks!

Old 16th July 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodstone

A lot of people I know in the biz are really paranoid about people stealing their ideas and techniques. Maybe he doesn't want you standing over him and snitching "trade secrets".
Trade secrets are a myth.

There is no shortage of how-to information available to anyone on ANY technique or trick...there is only a shortage of experience.
Any technique is useless unless the person using it knows when to apply it...and has enough experience to recognize when THAT is.

Since we all think differently, those techniques translate in different ways...some stuff that may be elementary to one cat is way over anothers way of thought and vice-versa.
There isn't any innovation happening...(with all due respect). IMO it is just a twist on the same idea...Much like music itself.

If it is strictly a mix job (Iv'e got a Jazz duo one right now) It would be helpful to have the client (or deciding party) there in the studio from the start, at least a little...Certain things like guitars for instance can really benefit from from client input. Actually sometimes there is no way around it.

What I love about this thread is there are 2 totally different schools of thought...which is SO COMMON in Pro Audio. There is no right way to do it.

That....is what I like!!
Old 16th July 2005
  #21
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpupo74
Also, 80% of the time, there´s one band member that sucks!
And 99.999% of the time, that's the band member who pays for the session!



Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 16th July 2005
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

I suffer from anxiety problems, so I can't have people in the studio when I mix since I get nervous, and my creative juices never start flowing. It's the same way with alot of things. I can't play instruments well in front of people, but when I'm alone, I'm alot more relaxed, so I can really let loose. Anyone else suffer from this problem?
Old 16th July 2005
  #23
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There's nothing worse than not having that time to curse at the tracking job and over abundance of tracks and mess that needs to be sorted out (ex: " 25 banjo tracks?? what the heck is the matter with these people?!?!") Things can get ugly when you are pulling apart a car wreck and I don't want a client watcing me go through that. And some may not want to know how the cows are slaughtered before eating the beef. Kinda like having a vocalist there as you are tuning the vocals (which shouldn't be part of mixing anyways).
Old 16th July 2005
  #24
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Messiah's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djavid15
I suffer from anxiety problems, so I can't have people in the studio when I mix since I get nervous, and my creative juices never start flowing. It's the same way with alot of things. I can't play instruments well in front of people, but when I'm alone, I'm alot more relaxed, so I can really let loose. Anyone else suffer from this problem?
Yes, I get this too, but the studio is one of the places where I can relax and not suffer from anxiety problems now. Avoiding situations where you may feel these feelings is a sign that you are letting the problem rule your life, which is not a good thing.

I think there was a thread not so long ago about this, you're certainly not alone.

In terms of TRADE SECRETS, I think most of these guys are concerned that there really isn't anything unique or significant about them as mixers, and are concerned about being found out.
Old 16th July 2005
  #25
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Ruudman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
I forgot to mention...Some of those cat's mix in thier underwear. Trade secret.
Not if it's too hot, then it goes off heh
Old 16th July 2005
  #26
Trade secrets??? Like what hasn't been known about mixing? I could teach a chimp to mix. Probably better than half the crap that's released today.

Sounds like that 'ol Beatles song again;

"Everybodies Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey"

Or chimp.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 16th July 2005
  #27
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Albert's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gp71
I've been talking to mixing engineers to mix my stuff. They either don't want me to sit in, or to pay them $100 extra per hour to sit in.
I've been composing, recording, and mixing for years.
Let me ask you a couple questions: are you also the producer? Or are you simply the composer/artist and the music is being produced by others?

If you are the producer, if it's your money, then you absolutely *should* be there. If the engineer objects to the producer being there, I personally would not hire that person.

There is important information to communicate with the engineer, especially at the start of the mix. Maybe the idea of the sound, or the concept of the song, perhaps how the producer or composer/artist wants it to sound different than every other song.

Most of the recording work that I've done has involved being the producer as well as the composer/artist, whether it be an album or a soundtrack. I've felt it to be crucial to be there for the mix, especially at the beginning.

My approach is to get the engineer started, explain my general ideas of what I was going for in the song, and then sit in for a while while the engineer experiments. This might involve working back and forth a while until we get to the "that's it!" moment. Then I shut up until the engineer says he's ready for me to take a listen. So most of the time I'm in "shut up" mode.

I do love to be present and watch the engineer work. I always learn something that helps me give them better tracks the next time around. There's an exchange of ideas that can happen that's really good. The trick is not to over-control, but just be cool. Watching a pro pull a mix together has also made me a much better engineer, even though I still consider myself a composer primarily.

However, if you've got a band and they've all got suggestions and won't shut up and argue over this and that, I can see that being a nightmare. In that situation I would definitely not want them there.

But to get back to your original question, if it were me and my money and they didn't want me there or wanted an extra $100 an hour, I'd keep looking.
Old 16th July 2005
  #28
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Lek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
Let me ask you a couple questions: are you also the producer? Or are you simply the composer/artist and the music is being produced by others?

If you are the producer, if it's your money, then you absolutely *should* be there. If the engineer object, I personally would not hire that person.

There is important information to communicate with the engineer, especially at the start of the mix. Maybe the idea of the sound, or the concept of the song, perhaps how the producer or composer/artist wants it to sound different than every other song.

Most of the recording work that I've done has involved being the producer as well as the composer/artist, whether it be an album or a soundtrack. I've felt it to be crucial to be there for the mix, especially at the beginning.

My approach is to get the engineer started, explain my general ideas of what I was going for in the song, and then sit in for a while while the engineer experiments. This might involve working back and forth a while until we get to the "that's it!" moment. Then I shut up until the engineer says he's ready for me to take a listen. So most of the time I'm in "shut up" mode.

I do love to be present and watch the engineer work. I always learn something that helps me give them better tracks the next time around. There's an exchange of ideas that can happen that's really good. The trick is not to over-control, but just be cool. Watching a pro pull a mix together has also made me a much better engineer, even though I still conside myself a composer primarily.

However, if you've got a band and they've all got suggestions and won't shut up and argue over this and that, I can see that being a nightmare. In that situation I would definitely not want them there.
Wow, thanks for the great post and eliciting in words what was in my head.
I am the producer, composer, musician (for all instruments, though I am finally breaking down and hiring a percussionist), etc. There is no one else. Your method described seems right on in my head - present my concept, experiment with him for a little - in a back and forth exchange, then shut up and let him do his work. I wouldn't even mind leaving for an hour to clear my head, and not listen to the tracks over and over (like I do while recording). Thanks!
Old 16th July 2005
  #29
Thats goofy, if you're paying by the hour you get to be there, period. If your doing a bulk deal then thats a different thing. If part of why your hiring an engineer is to peer over their shoulder then thats your perogative. With clients who arent engineers, often they show up when I begin writing faders which is about 60-75% of the way there. Sometimes guys who do engineer but like my take on things, will
show up for the fader writes, this way their ears are fresh. But it makes no difference to me, come when you want.
Old 16th July 2005
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
If you are the producer, if it's your money, then you absolutely *should* be there. If the engineer objects to the producer being there, I personally would not hire that person.

There is important information to communicate with the engineer, especially at the start of the mix. Maybe the idea of the sound, or the concept of the song, perhaps how the producer or composer/artist wants it to sound different than every other song.
This could also be done over the phone or through the internet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
My approach is to get the engineer started, explain my general ideas of what I was going for in the song, and then sit in for a while while the engineer experiments. This might involve working back and forth a while until we get to the "that's it!" moment. Then I shut up until the engineer says he's ready for me to take a listen. So most of the time I'm in "shut up" mode.

I do love to be present and watch the engineer work. I always learn something that helps me give them better tracks the next time around. There's an exchange of ideas that can happen that's really good. The trick is not to over-control, but just be cool. Watching a pro pull a mix together has also made me a much better engineer, even though I still consider myself a composer primarily.

When you have a cake made do you stay for the entire time also?

How about if its a suit?

Or some headshots, a website,fixing or adding things to your car, getting your TV fixed?

Why is it any different for a mixer?

Sometimes the mixer needs his/her time to form their ideas on their own.

Its part of the creation process.

Its not a personal thing, but it puts less pressure on them to have to peform for the client and instead put more focus on their project.

Imagine having to peer into someone making your food?

You can't because when we order something we give the cooks the trust and leeway needed that they will prepare it right.

About charging an extra $100 perhour that is a new one on me.

I know i've seen ME's do it but for a mixer to do it is new.

I guess the labels aren't forking the dough for the mixers rentals anymore so this is just another way to pay for more gear. heh
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