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How Many Times Do You Mix?
Old 8th November 2002
Lives for gear
Midlandmorgan's Avatar

How Many Times Do You Mix?

Seems some people are never happy...I have remixed the same project three times following my interpretation of the client's instructions...only to have some other 'issue' arise. And, this is being done long distance (their charge, of course) as client is on the road right now. So I do what was asked, thinking its a done deal, then "something else" comes along...

I have advised client that I will not do anything else until he comes into control room and approves each and every millisecond of the more "let me guess at what you want..." only to be told I guessed wrong (kinda like marriage, but that's a different post)

Anyway, how many times do you guys mix/remix until everyone involved gets the dead-horse syndrome?

Thanks for the input
Old 8th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
One of the last projects I worked on before I started to freelance was a major label project that had gone through at least 110 reels of 1/2". That's a lotta remixes. I usually print two, maybe three versions of each song and if I miss the boat and need to remix it I always have the client present. No if's, ands, buts or exceptions.

Why do you keep remixing this project over and over? What isn't the client happy with? That's the key to avoiding remixes.
Old 9th November 2002
Lives for gear
Midlandmorgan's Avatar

Thanks for the feedback...Seems each time they hear it, its on a different system...I'm dealing with actual artist hearing them on a lowball boom box while on the road, , while the finance/management part is listening on a very large but less than ideal for this sort of thing JBL club system...seems the real issue is that there is an ever-so-slight difference in album 'concept' in that one wants to hear a produced record (artist) while the other essentially wants a hair more than karaoke tracks to showcase the singer.

Lesson has been learned - 3rd try client no lik-ee, client come into room and approve everything before final mix record button pushed.

To really throw a turd in the punchbowl, both are VERY good friends, and I really don't want to get caught in the middle of THAT!
Old 10th November 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
The project I mentioned was similar. We would haveto recall a mix to make the first three notes of the guitar solo louder and drop the reverb on the vocal by a 1/2 dB. Nuts. Anyway, the project was on A&M and it never saw the light of day after all that time and money.

The worst one I've been at the controls for happened last year. I was recording a very average band made up of 30-something guys with corperate day jobs so they aren't exactly pros. We finished tracking the album and I ran rough mixes for them with no processing or gain riding. When I started to mix the first song only the drummer and guitar player were there, the bass players wife just had a baby and the singer/piano player was in France. At around two hours into the first song the band was asking when I would be done because they were getting bored. Both of them ended up bailing out so I could finish the mix on my own and I left it up overnight. They came back with the bass player the next day to listen to the mix and they liked the second version I had printed. We talked about how to proceed and they said they'd give me a list of notes on what they wanted effects on, some panning ideas etc. for each song and I'd mix the whole thing (12 or 13 songs) on my own. I also said that if they wanted to I would be willing to remix one or two songs gratis since they wouldn't be around.

I gave them a call when I had finished the mixes and they picked up the CD's I had burned for them and I took the next two days off. On the second day my cell phone rang while I was out driving and it was all four of them around a speaker phone. Turns out that they didn't like many of the mixes and they wanted to remix nine songs and they shouldn't have to pay for it because the mixes weren't good and the rough mixes were much better. After a lengthy discussion it turns out that the mixes weren't bad but they weren't what they were expecting. In that light I asked them to listen to everything again and if the mixes weren't what they were expecting were they at least good enough to live with since they were at the end of their budget. I ended up remixing just four of the songs that they originally wanted remixed since they decided the other mixes were good. They were present for the full day and a half of remixing which they weren't happy about but it's the only way to do it.

So, uh... what was the point? Oh yeah. Maybe your clients just don't know what they want to hear.
Old 12th November 2002
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

It's very common for bands and even label execs to fall in love with ruff mixes. For this reason many experienced producers refuse to give them out.
Old 12th November 2002
Lives for gear

Bob, I always appreciate your perspective and experience. Never a bad post.
Old 12th November 2002
Lives for gear
davemc's Avatar

Sometimes the roughs do sound better, the life can be sucked out by re mixing over and over. But then everyone likes diff mixes. Band I did before going to NZ still do not think the guitar is loud enough, although the bass and drums are now gone west.
Old 12th November 2002
Lives for gear
e-cue's Avatar

I'd suggest ISDNing the project, unless that's out of your budget. Then try sending MP3's for mix approval. I know they aren't the best souding in the world, but they are better than the cassette proofs we used to run off.
I've never recalled/remixed a project more than twice. After the 3rd time, I'd suggest some new blood because my perspective will be shoot to hell, if it ever comes up.
Old 12th November 2002
Lives for gear
Midlandmorgan's Avatar

Thanks everyone...some of these ideas have already been incorporated into the day-to-day business here...

Also, to further avoid these 'issues' in the future, I have installed (meaning placed on a small table) a boombox of questionable parentage, and a Bose 301 speaker pair, so clients can hear the product on several different playback systems...
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