Hey Sylvia I am such a fan of your work especially your rock records ..
When mixing a track how do you approach the sound stage and placements of guitars and other elements in the stereo field ?
Could you give some pointers regarding panning and placement please..
Ps Undertow is such a killer record so thanks for that
Direct center, hard-left or hard-right can make for better instrument and vocal positioning in a mix. Try the dead center or hard pan your mix elements and layer tracks directly on top of each other, differentiating each of them through EQ, not placement. Whenever I can, I'll commit to one of these three positions. It is a trick that Rick Rubin taught me. Maybe because the old analog consoles did not have variable panning pots, only L-C-R as a choice in the monitor section. It just sounds strong and confident this way. The L-C-R panning in the mix also gives the lead vocals an important opening in the sonic panorama. Big dry vocals, right in the middle. Right in your face. That is a Rubin thing.
I use an external rack-mount Studio Technology AN-2 to widen the vocals in mixing. It is a simple box with just a few settings. I love the Rubin technique of vocals big and dry and right smack in the middle of a mix picture, and the AN-2 helps to create that effect.
During the Tool records, I panned the toms of Danny's drum kit across the L/R audio field, small tom to big tom. I might not do that today. It just seems so mundane and predictable. Better would be to narrow the field, or heck, mono the toms. When you stand in front of a drum kit and close your eyes as it is being played, you are not hearing the toms flying across the room left to right! Sometimes the perspective of the drummer sitting inside a kit surrounded by the toms is appealing, but I'd rather have the drum instrument in one position on a stage, with other instruments surrounding it.
Recording tip: When initially recording a drum kit, try balancing the toms by monitoring the returns in a mono position when checking tom mic levels. This is the best way to listen for consistency and phasing. Then no matter how you pan the toms later in your mix, they are always perfect.
There is much to discuss in mixing technique, I hope to revisit this subject again!