I really appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts and techniques. Many thanks.
My question is regarding your technique, or, your procedure for making room in a mix. Especially when arrangements get big and thick.
I find that as my mixes get bigger and thicker, I start to lose reverbs/space around vocals, percussion, etc...Yes, the arrangement/mix becomes big, but, with less dimension...if that makes sense ?
How do you make room without emasculating the dawg gone thing ?
Humm, Great question.
I had a teacher back at Berklee; Robyn Cox Yeldham, who was adamant about us learning subtractive eq'ing. It took me many years to grasp the concept, but it works on so many levels... especially in our finite-headroom-digital world.
Now I spend more time removing the things I don't want or that are 'clouding' up my mix than I do adding frequencies. I do a lot of notching at lower mid frequencies (240-580hz) this keeps a open hole for the vocal. Many times, I find I've gone too far and have to add some back. That's okay. There's a lot of massaging that goes into a final mix.
Also; the cummulative effect of tracks has to be looked at very closely. Start by listening to the track with selected instruments in. Then boost the frequencies you thing could be the problem from a particular instrument. Then maybe, go into solo to refine it, listen again with the track.
Don't forget phase! Listen in mono as much as you can. Mix in mono, esp for background vocals and 'wide' tracks.