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Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear
Mike Lambert's Avatar
Like a Circle in a Spiral, Like a Wheel Within a Wheel…

Anyone care to share their experiences for those times when you sank into a deep, deep groove of your own making?

Or perhaps it’s just me?:

Oh the time I have wasted because I decided to get a new reverb plugin and start using that from now on. Took me so long to realise that things just didn’t gel any more so I started re-recording with different mics, mic distance, endless rough mixes struggling with the balance, changing de-essors, wondering what ever made me think I should attempt to sing etc etc.

This is the latest case, now resolved when I finally realised and went back to the old reverb and everything is good now. In fact improved because along the way I had learned some things as my ears strained to really hear what was/wasn’t working.

From now on I will try very hard to not change more than one thing at a time!

Sometimes there are happy accidents - like doing a quick scratch vocal with a U87ai while the lo cut was on. Wow, how well it fits in the mix I thought until I realised and finally understood how much I could eq away my deep voice without hurting the track at all.

Anyone else followed a false trail that led nowhere and then find their way back safely? Maybe your experiences can save other lost souls
Old 1 week ago
Lives for gear

Ear fatigue is a constant battle when mixing. Its the main reason you mix at 83dB so you can hear everything clearly and minimize ear fatigue which is the main cause of poor mixes. Your ears try to protect themselves when the sound is too loud and they will actually try to block frequencies when they get too loud. If you know anything about mixing at all, anything that impedes frequencies from being clearly heard will cause the opposite too occur in the mix.

IE, if your ears try and attenuate the lows because they are so loud your ears are shutting down, then you may try and compensate by actually adding too much bass. In short adjusting a mic because parts are painfully too loud is not the way you want to mix. Always mix at 83dB then you can test you mix and see how it sounds loud later when you're done mixing.

As far as giving the music a groove, it can be important for example to use the music's natural groove to trigger the attack and decay times of effects in order to enhance that groove. Compression, echo, reverbs etc can all be adjusted to the dynamics and/or tempo to enhance a groove that wouldn't be there without them.

This is a far different thing from simply getting lost and space and time because your attention span sucks and you haven't got the concentration to work when it time to work. I know many people who suck at mixing because they are unable to compartmentalize the tasks they need to perform. It even goes back farther then mixing. It goes back to bands I played in where players cared more about partying then they did building a business playing full time. In most cases the musicians who over indulge wind up being where they wanted to be, out in the audience as a spectator being impressed by the sound instead of the guy in the drivers seat of the bulldozer pushing dirt around.

In short, there's a time to work and there's a time to have fun. If you are unable to work with music and keep your mind on business and getting the work done and creating a product others want to buy, then you probably shouldn't mortgage the house and make audio your career. Of course you can do anything you want as a hobby and if you get you're jollies off listening music at the bottom of a well then go for it. There are far worse things you can be doing to waste your time and spend your money on.

The way I focus on it is, when I'm in the studio its nearly all business and hard work. As I get older I spend even less time dorking around because it eats up precious time when my skills are the most acute. I try not to push it too long past the maximum window of 4 hours any more either. All it does is produce low quality work using tired ears and it lengthens recovery time as well. I get the best work done within the first 2 hours of a session so I try and target that time where it does the most good especially the final touches to a mic and mastering the recordings.

Once the recordings are done and ready for distribution go ahead and knock yourself out listening to them as and end user would enjoying the fruits of your labor.
If you know you gave the recording your best shot then you got nothing to regret. You can then plan on how you can do even better the next time by minimizing things like distractions that produce no results even more.
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