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Mike, mixing formats?
Old 1st June 2004
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Mike, mixing formats?

Hello Mike,

I have great respect for your work. Thanks again for coming to GS.

Here are my first questions.

1) Which format do you typically mix from? In other words, if your clients brought you 2" tapes, would you mix directly from that format or would you transfer the audio to another format for mixing?

2) Obviously, a lot of guys out there are mixing from Pro Tools format. IF this is true with you (or if you are typically mixing from any other DAW such as Nuendo), how much processing and/or mixing do you do in that DAW environment and how much do you do on the actual console you're mixing through? In other words, if you're playing back from Pro Tools, do you do any eq'ing or do you make any level rides in that environment or do you use your DAW simply for storage and playback?

Thanks again so much,

Mr. Truth
Old 1st June 2004
  #2
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Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Mr. Truth, I can't even remember the last time I was given the option of mixing from 2". Every record I've mixed in the past few years has been in ProTools, the odd Nuendo session and one client who likes his Radar......oops I tell a lie..I tried hard to forget this session but I did have a mix to do from analogue!!!! yes, my stomach is churning at the memory of it ..get this..the "producer" had decided to experiment (at the band's expence) by (I know this is hard to believe but I **** you not!)
having six diferent drummers,different gtr players different Bass playes etc all have a go at the same song..BUT they weren't allowed to hear what anyone elses parts were except the scratch vocal and gtr.!!!!!! Then I get the call..hey Shipley , you can mix this,your'e good at salvage job's , just take your pick and put it all together....so with 6 24track tape machines all scuttling to sync up so I could even pretend to make a go at this record.I said fu!k this , this is the producer's gig ..not mine.My gig is to mix it , not be the fall guy for some crappy experiment...suffice to say I walked....that album cost Columbia over a million dollars to make. I had to make that example of exess cos it was so wasteful but has nothing to do with your question so I will get back on track!!!!
As I said most everything comes in on Protools.
That used to piss me off when protools was a "pile o' ****e"...the original problem was just dealing with the sound and how compression techniques had to change to deal with sounds that were so angular due to the ..no tape compression thing.
I truly believe that so much of the hyper compression use in mixing over the last ..too many years , has a little to do with trying to tame digital transients and the "jagged edges" of digital and just clamp it down.but I think HD has changed that.
Anyway.....I used to always mix on an SSL ..A J or a G+...I was born and raised on those things so I love'em.
I also would treat everyting outside the box , until recently. I had tons off outboard gear so didn't see the point of using plugs etc.
Then I had to go off and do some more work with Mutt Lange where we had to stay in the box 'cos we were eq'ing syllables and consonants timing and mutating the sounds of a country artist that needed to sound different to the "pack" and the only way was heavy manipulation in Protools.
Mutt doesn't give a sh@t what any AandR guys, other producers , other AE's think about what we do...his bottom line is always what the receptionist thinks, and he is right . The number of AE's that give me a hard time 'cos the stuff we do with Mutt is always so un natural sounding , but that is the whole point. For him it's about selling as many records as possible , it's not about the classic mic pre and mic techniques...even tho we know all that stuff , it's about manipulation of sound....the "book" gets thrown out the window. we also do mixes for every market imaginable......different mixes for the U.S for Australia , for England ,for the rest of Europe.on every song!! so the market is targeted directly as peoples tastes vary everywhere. We would change the mix and the tracking depending on the country.
Now I do my share of mixing ITB and at an SSL.though I am gonna stick my neck out here and say that working in Protools (and using that dreaded word...ssssuming) I am very happy with the results after messing around with all the plugs and finding a method that works for me..I think my mixes are better now. I have experimented heavily with protools , as the last thing I wanna do is to piss off my long standing clients by suggesting to them that I mix ITB. Well I did....I mix a lot of stuff ITB now even tho I have the choice to go to the studio and mix. I just finished another single mix for Maroon 5 , who's AandR guy was a little freaked cos he knew I was a die hard SSL dude..but so far it's working out great. I tried the mix both ways, and the mix frm my studio and ITB was the one chosen without hesitation from the record company in an un labeled test. Big deal ..so what..it's just my way of working today and it might change tomorrow , but it sure is fun.
With 6 accell cards I lay my contol surface out like a traditional console first with a simmilar template to start mixing...and use out board when needed. But with URS and Eventide and Cranesong etc making great stuff it's great.
Sorry for the diatribe but I went off on a few tangents as usual.sorry !!!!!!!!!
Old 1st June 2004
  #3
Gear Nut
 
kraftrourke's Avatar
 

party time

6 accel cards!
Old 1st June 2004
  #4
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krid's Avatar
 

Mike, I read that you also use a Folcrom into a Cranesong Mic pre (a Flamingo I guess ?), then into a Hedd with your Pro Tools system.
This analog summing is a big improvement over all ITB for you ?
What were the main differences between the 2 setups : all ITB vs analog summing ?
Did it change your method of mixing with Pro Tools ?

Thanks.
Old 1st June 2004
  #5
Lives for gear
 
not_so_new's Avatar
WOW... Between Charles Dye and Mike Shipley.. I am just out of words here... it's like we are steeling or something. I feel.... the like prettiest girl... in the whole development...

heh

Quote:
I tried the mix both ways, and the mix frm my studio and ITB was the one chosen without hesitation from the record company in an un labeled test.
This could be an interesting month... So one thing that I have noticed here is two heavyweights in two months both have embraced the new "computer revolution" without bashing it.

Please DO NOT START the analog vs. digital thing that is not my goal here. My point is this is what my view on the whole thing always has been, make music with the tools you have and be happy with life. If ITB works for you then ROCK ON, if a J or a G+ gets your rocks off then ROCK ON but good music can be done on both and so can bad. I am just happy to see others in the big leagues think the same way.

Mike you are truly the man (and I can see a very happy trend to long rambling posts with you please don't hold anything back I for one am all ears, tin maybe but all ears none the less).

Thanks again!!!
Old 1st June 2004
  #6
Captain
 
Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Krid , I'm with you about not starting an analog vs digital bash. I find both formats so interesting and useful in their own ways.
I was not very happy with the sound of mixing solely in the box , even though I had started to do more of it , primarily because we had just started a new label and I wanted to keep the costs down by mixing at home on these projects as we had decided to do a "favoured nations" deal with all our artists and for certain projects that needed a lot more work than others , so to keep the costs the same for each record I decided to forgo fancy studios and recall time etc.
The problem was that even tho everyone else was happy with the mixes...I wasn't and after the mastering..(holy crap.I hate most mastering guys)
I realised I had to try and find a solution that was more than just about saving money cos the sound was not happening for me. I had to be more happy with the results .....it's too hard to let things not be as good as they can be and Ive learnt to never settle so I started messing around with all the "summing" boxes I could find and see if there was , for me , any difference or maybe it was time to buy a console or something.
One of the boxes I tried was the Folcrom and I tried many , many mic pre's to use on the back end of it 'cos its a passive box , so I ended up using a Cranesong Flamingo and a Cranesong Hedd.
Both of these boxes have their own sound and pentode and triode harmonic and tape type saturation in them and I wwas looking for colour and cohesiveness again..for my personal taste , and I found exactly what I was looking for. The Hedd can be tweaked differently for every song and I think Dave Hill is a very smart dude .....I know I sound like a Cranesong salesman but boxes like his help me work better with digital information and help make it sound mor "natural to my ears.
I never was a fan of 2 buss compression so rarely have anything strapped across the mix. I prefer to get the individual tracks to work together , even tho it takes longer. Maybe on some songs , but I don't like the way the music stops breathing .
I'm sure it's the wrong thing to say again , but I would much rather get the dynamics right in the mix and pay close attention to the impact of the music by working longer on finding the space for a sound than to just smack it with the comp. There is enough going on in mastering and at the radio to do all that IMHO. I don't need or want music to sound that way at home also !!!! Gimme some space in that misic !!!!!!.again Ive gone off on atangent but I can't wait till someone starts talking about mastering !!!!!!
Old 1st June 2004
  #7
Gear nut
 
Lindell 2nd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by shipshape
.(holy crap.I hate most mastering guys)
........I can't wait till someone starts talking about mastering !!!!!!
I kinda think that the mastering could be a great third ear for my mixes. I mean after a good ten hours tweaking, you mix as good as you can. If the mastering dude makes my mix sounds 1 % better Im happy.
It´s also that limit/level stuff, I really think its the mastering guys job to set the correct levels for the right purpose of the mix, eg: promo/radio/album...

I do however agree with you that there are way to many "high level" freak mastering guys out there that competes about getting the loudest cd... (I guess its that you mean) And that suck horses arse.... =)
I got burned so many time on mastering I lost count.... Up until today I have found ONE dude with a funky hair due that master the way I want..... heh

/Lindell
Old 1st June 2004
  #8
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syra's Avatar
So summing is the way huh? What about automation though? Everything is post-fader...that must be such a PITA!
Old 2nd June 2004
  #9
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Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Summing is the way for me....not everyone.
I don't follow the "post fader" bit tho.
If I'm sending out separately the kick , the snare , the rest of the kit , Bass , gtrs, Vocals et , the whole song as separately as I can into the folcrom and do my automation ITB. Where is the PITA ?
Old 2nd June 2004
  #10
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strauss's Avatar
 

so your not using outboard between the DA's and the folcrom?
Old 2nd June 2004
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Mike,

Just curious about bus compression and limiting. Are we to assume that you send the producer and A&R guys away with a listening copy that is 6 to 12 db lower in level than comercially released records and those from other mixers? I don't know of anyone else who is doing that. Isn't that nearly suicidal? Do you print CRANK IT UP on the CD?

Or are you meaning that you do the limiting on the split outputs to your summing box, and in that case, don't you get lots of overs when you sum them on the way to the mixdown machine?

It will be great having you here a while to pick your brain.

Thanks,

Steve

PS. You must type really fast to post such long answers. Not me. I was a bass player...
Old 2nd June 2004
  #12
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syra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by shipshape
I don't follow the "post fader" bit tho.
Hey Mike, what strauss said...
Old 2nd June 2004
  #13
Captain
 
Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

No I don't use outboard between DA's and the Folcrom. I just don;t need to anymore . I can , with the new plugs , delay compensation and a very powerful HD 6acell system , get what I want out of the box. Occasionally Ill drag out some compressor like a Gates or something for something I cant get in the box. But otherwise, it's not an issue for me.
Old 2nd June 2004
  #14
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stealthbalance's Avatar
 

drum subgroups ITB with folcrom

hi mike !

the aspect about summing that has me wondering about is that i usually send my drums or drums and bass floated to another stereo aux track and do a bit of compression etc on that drum subgroup so to speak. then that of course goes to the final stereo buss. with summing , i assume that a big plus is having the bass drum go to a separate input of the folcrom , the snare go to a separate input etc. , but where do you rejoin all the drums for the drum compression after its gone separately to the folcrom - or do you never have a separate drum buss?? i think the folcrom is 16 in and stereo out. do you just group all the drums first in pro tools then just go to the folcrom as a stereo drum mix???? is there still a benefit?
any clarification on this would be most appreciated. thanks for your perspective.

s
Old 2nd June 2004
  #15
Captain
 
Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Interesting question Stealth , I have tended to use drum subs but in conjunction with the individual sounds , so even if I'm seperating the drums in the folcrom or on a board I will blend them into the original kit sound, I can still use as many exta busses with different comp and eq etc and send them to more folcrom inputs...but to do what you are asking which is to treat the drums as a stereo unit and effect that could be done if you.....get two folcroms lol. In answer to your other question about the "s" word.....even if the drums are a stereo pair, I think the added benefit of the bass and vocals and gtrs all going out seperate is still gonna help you. Please don't take my word for it!!! Cos I never take anyone's word for anything !!!!! You could always get a demo of the stuff and do your own A/B test.
The difference to me was staggering.but I was looking for a little more total sound help as well , hence the Cranesong route for me.
Old 2nd June 2004
  #16
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Mike,

Totally great posts from you. Thanks already, and it's only the first of the month!

On a related topic...

When you are mixing in the box, do you prefer to do this with a mouse or do you work on some sort of a surface? Do you have any interest in the new Icon control surface? I saw it at NAB and was very impressed with it.

Thanks again, Mike!

Mr. Truth
Old 2nd June 2004
  #17
"Breathless" mix

Mike,

Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your insights here. Much appreciated.

I just read that you don't use much 2-bus compression. In the Coors track "Breathless" (which I think you mixed), that track is slamming, and sounds amazing. Was it mostly hit hard in mastering?

Thanks,

Kent
Old 2nd June 2004
  #18
Captain
 
Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Mr Truth , if I'm mixing in the box I use a Procontrol because I like to be able to use the faders for balancing stuff out the good old way. 'cos I'm used to faders.
Alot of the automation is mouse'ed , but I just love the feel of faders to keep balancing really.
I like to bring the controls for the eq etc back on the faders also .....for beter control. I wasn't bought up on mouse mixing so I'm not too fond of it. My asssistant does all the laborious mousework for me.


Hoop....The Corr's record was another bizzarre record to mix 'cos we started it in Switzerland at Mutt's studio and due to massive amounts of difficulties we were having with the SSL Axiom..probably the worst consloe ever built..I had to run back to L.A and start again at the Record Plant. We compressed lightly the overall mix. maybe just the flicker of the needle on the SSL.....but spent a while on riding the crap out of everything so it was another way of giving the impressoin of a lot of comression....Bob Ludwig mastered it and it sounded good to us , I know he used extra compression in mastering because we talked about it and it was cool.
I know that there is no way that a mastering guy is not gonna peak limit or compress a little.....so these days I only use two mastering engineers for anyting I do ..being Bob Ludwig and Brad Blackwood cos I know exactly how they are gonna "treat" the material. And will do as many ref's as are needed to get it right.
I got to burnt on handing in mixes that were a little harder compressed by me and destroyed in mastering so for me, a slightly quieter record is fine. Mind you this is still evolving as I see how little buss compression I can get away with .
Old 3rd June 2004
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Now I do my share of mixing ITB and at an SSL...I am very happy with the results after messing around with all the plugs and finding a method that works for me..I think my mixes are better now. I have experimented heavily with protools
Can you share with us your method and plugs used and experiments that you have done haevily in Protools etc?

Shane
Old 4th June 2004
  #20
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stealthbalance's Avatar
 

[QUOTE]Originally posted by shipshape
[B]...but to do what you are asking which is to treat the drums as a stereo unit and effect that could be done if you.....get two folcroms lol.
----------------------------------------------------------------

ships ,
you know that really might be a great idea after all. hmmmmm....

also ,off topic , amazing work as moderator here. just super big of you to so generously share your years of experience and knowledge - THANKS !!

s

Old 4th June 2004
  #21
Gear interested
 

The Shania material seems to have so much breathing room. Are the tracks recorded this way or are they full blown playing throughout and then mixed this way.
Old 4th June 2004
  #22
Captain
 
Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

A lot of the arrangements are left to the mix in some instances and other times the arrangement is pretty much their , but the blending can take a lot of figuring out.
Old 4th June 2004
  #23
Gear interested
 

With all the sales she has done has anyone approched you from Nashville asking for a similar recording treatment
Old 4th June 2004
  #24
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Mike Shipley's Avatar
 

Yes . I've mixed a record for Faith Hill called "Breathe" . I like to do more than just one type of music , and it's very easy to get labeled as a mixer who can only work in one specific style of music but I love that I get to mix many musical styles and never not get into a "routine". Record labels find it hard at first to get used to someone who works all over the place musically but it has worked out great.
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