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Mixing Equitte (producer vs mixer)
Old 25th June 2005
  #1
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Mixing Equitte (producer vs mixer)

I just finished producing a song and took it to a professional mixer to do the mix. Since he is local, we both thought it would be good for me to be there while he loaded it into his system, listened to my rough mix, etc.

There were about 5 or 6 tracks that had some volume and panning automation that I thought were really cool and wanted to keep. He gave me major attitude and said that because of his gain structure it would be hard to deal w/ any vol automation. I had him bounce one track, then gave up trying to preserve anything else. I had some delays (one in particular on the lead vox) that were very crucial to the instrumentation... Gone, since he deleted all the auxes. When I tried to call it to his attention, he accused me of being "married to the demo" (by which he meant the rough mix).

Is this standard practice to strip all fx and automation? I certainly wasn't going to print a delay to the lead vocal. He said he could approximate everything by listening to the rough. (Although this was a big pop production w/ around 100 tracks.)

The mixer does do some major label work, but his last name definitely doesn't end in -Alge. I've heard a couple of mixes this guy did that sounded awful to me. But I heard his most recent work and it sounds very good. The reason I am using this guy is because the artist (who is funding the project) chose him.

He is going to be calling me in later tonight, and I have a feeling it could be a power struggle. Assuming the mix isn't 100% perfect when I get there... does anyone have some tips on how to get the best mix out of him and dealing with this sort of personality?

This is an all Protools/Dangerous 2-bus mix, by the way.

Thanks for any info and suggestions!
Old 25th June 2005
  #2
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paultools's Avatar
 

He should do 2 versions:
FIRST AND FOREMOST, he should do YOUR mix with YOUR FX if you ask since you are the CLIENT.
If he wants to do something else on his own time to present to you, he can do so after you are satisfied with your version.
As producer, you call the shots. I would seek someone else to work with regardless.
Old 25th June 2005
  #3
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamine
Assuming the mix isn't 100% perfect when I get there... does anyone have some tips on how to get the best mix out of him and dealing with this sort of personality?
I don't know what size/funds level we're discussing here, meaning that in some situations you WILL have to go the financers choices or else.

But since the artist has chosen YOU as his producer: Isn't it your job to know what's best for the project? I see the producer's job as having to make sure you're doing the best you can with the material.

This could mean mixing it yourself or suggesting a mixer you trust.

A lot of it is psychology. Talk to the artist and convince him why, for the music's sake, it's best to go with your choice.

From what you describe, this 'specialized mixer' doesn't sound too easy-to-get-along-with. I wouldn't take any of this attitude for a minute, after all you as producer are responsible for the final outcome of the project.

It would be o.k to 'fight' over some aspects of the mix with the artist but it would be stupid to fight a 'mixer ego' too.

Chanches are that the guy in question is a 'producer in mixer's clothes', so to say and that he's trying to take over. I may be wrong.

Good luck

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 25th June 2005
  #4
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Let me know if you need references for mix guys in Miami. It seems to me the guy you are working with is as UN-professional as they get. PM me if you like.
Old 26th June 2005
  #5
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Thanks for all the feedback. I am, obviously, young in my career as a producer. (i have a background doing underground electronica and working as assistant engineer.)

I had a feeling he was out-of-line, but the artist thinks it is worth putting up with his attitude for the possibility of a great product. I worked w/ another mixer last month and the experience and final mix was great, as was his rate.

I should also add that I co-wrote the song, worked my ass off on it, and have a major emotional attachment to it.

Who knows.. maybe he will 'knock our socks off'.
Old 26th June 2005
  #6
if you're the boss he should be instrumental in getting your vision, if he can contribute something then great but it sounds like you're dealing with a ...

screw this, I just re read your post, just fire the mofo
Old 26th June 2005
  #7
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i've been on both sides of the fence as i'm sure many slutz here have. there are times you give orders, and there are times you take orders. when i run into this type of thing i usually say: 'why don't you play engineer, and i'll play producer?'

my experience is the better the musician/engineer or producer, the more humble and likely he is to take suggestions.

Quote:
I should also add that I co-wrote the song, worked my ass off on it, and have a major emotional attachment to it.
so you could probably use a little objectivity, which this guy may be able to give you - but his attitude is a no go.

(edited my post as mario-c pretty much just summed it up)
Old 26th June 2005
  #8
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quote: "just tell the guy: "why don't you play engineer, and i'll play producer?

That's a good one!
Old 26th June 2005
  #9
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hi Dopamine,

I was getting ready to rant a little until I came back to the thread and saw you had added that you were the co-writer. That should give you a stronger say in the final outcome.

I would suggest that telling the mix engineer HOW to reach that final outcome in his mix is not the same thing as telling the engineer what the final outcome should sound like. You've already given the guy 100+ tracks and want him to have to match 94+ of those tracks to your existing six with automation. Have you tried it yourself?

You say, "I certainly wasn't going to print a delay to the lead vocal" but isn't insisting that he use your aux set-up with a delay precisely at the levels you chose for him doing exactly that? Did you choose those levels as part of the over-all mix or when soloing the vox and aux return?

Will anything the mixer now does be able to please you? I kinda hope you get a Grammy out of it just to see the two of you have to smile at each other on stage :-)

best,

John
Old 26th June 2005
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamine
.

Is this standard practice to strip all fx and automation? I certainly wasn't going to print a delay to the lead vocal. He said he could approximate everything by listening to the rough. (Although this was a big pop production w/ around 100 tracks.)


Thanks for any info and suggestions!
I wouldn't say standard but common.

I normally strip PT tracks bare bone no plugs or effects...but i ask first.

Especially if certain effects are crucial to the sound.

If they are its a good idea to commit them to a track(bounce them down first) and turn them over to the mixer that way.

Last track i was given to mix almost had really no untreated vocals.

It worried me a bit but after talking to the producers they just said that their chosen treatments were part of the production.

I went with it anyway and made it work.

Automation is a different animal.

Once compression and EQ's are added the balances will change so this may need to be done over.

Every mixer handles things differently.


I would say instead of taking it personally just try to pull him aside and let him know that both you guys are on the same team and you want to do what ever it takes to make the production the best.

Let him know how you appreciate having him on as part of the project and with everyone involved it will turn out great regardless.

You know the thing...i think its called encouragement.

I've never seen anyone ever be standoffish if you take this approach.

This is part of being a producer that is never mentioned.

The psychology of getting a bunch of people to work well together and to get the maximum out of it.
Old 26th June 2005
  #11
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Great advice, Thrill. I think that's what it all comes down to.
Old 26th June 2005
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamine
Great advice, Thrill. I think that's what it all comes down to.

Hey Dopa,

How did that track work out with Tom Coyne?

And of course good luck with this one. thumbsup

Looks like it will ge a good learning experience all around.
Old 26th June 2005
  #13
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superburtm's Avatar
 

In the mixers defense it is a pain to work with a bunch of automated junk right from the beginning. I mean if your hiring the guy to mix, do what it takes to make him happy and to get the best result. In your defense I've been in a situation like this and it's tricky...but my advice would be let him do his thing if you might be pleasantly surprised. And then if you still miss your moves do a recall and add them.
Old 26th June 2005
  #14
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Thrill - Tom was on vacation, but it's booked for the 29th!

i would definitely love your objective opinion on this one. Maybe I could post it.
Old 26th June 2005
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamine
Thrill - Tom was on vacation, but it's booked for the 29th!

i would definitely love your objective opinion on this one. Maybe I could post it.

Looking forward to it.

How is Miami these days?

I miss it all the time.

I keep my contacts down there.

I heard there is an all reggaeton radio station down there now.
Old 26th June 2005
  #16
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If you're working in protools it seems like he can do his thing and then if you want to get some moves or fx back, just reimport the tracks at the tweaking stage. It really is a pain to deal with automation from previous mixes in protools and usually i just delete it... I've also done projects though where the client just really liked their own mix level-wsie, but wanted to punch up the drums and have me eq/warm up the tracks. In the end I had to change a lot of the moves anyway, but it turned out fine and they felt better. This guy sounds a little less than diplomatic about the issue though.
-brian
Old 26th June 2005
  #17
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espasonico's Avatar
 

You have to trust him if he is gonig to mix it.

Usually it´s better to listen first and then decide if you clean the fx and the automatation. Nowadays it´s very easy to turn the "auto" off and make fx inactive. Manytimes, when you turn the auto off, do your levels and wanting to write, you see that the auto that is written it´s more or less what you want to do. Then you bring the auto to the same level as yours and half the job is done.

So maybe he cleared everything because he thought it was useless. Trust him.
Old 26th June 2005
  #18
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

either mix it yourself or let him do this thing. if the vox delay is so important it should be printed to a track [usually a seperate 100% wet track leaving the vox track dry] and just let him do his thing.

i always delete all FX and automation when given anything to mix...
Old 26th June 2005
  #19
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor

I heard there is an all reggaeton radio station down there now.
please don't tell me you like reggaeton thrill.
Old 26th June 2005
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
please don't tell me you like reggaeton thrill.
Its ok.

Its fun working with the artists and producers.

I especially love the girls that show up to the sessions though.
Old 26th June 2005
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney
hi Dopamine,

I was getting ready to rant a little until I came back to the thread and saw you had added that you were the co-writer. That should give you a stronger say in the final outcome.

I would suggest that telling the mix engineer HOW to reach that final outcome in his mix is not the same thing as telling the engineer what the final outcome should sound like. You've already given the guy 100+ tracks and want him to have to match 94+ of those tracks to your existing six with automation. Have you tried it yourself?

You say, "I certainly wasn't going to print a delay to the lead vocal" but isn't insisting that he use your aux set-up with a delay precisely at the levels you chose for him doing exactly that? Did you choose those levels as part of the over-all mix or when soloing the vox and aux return?

Will anything the mixer now does be able to please you? I kinda hope you get a Grammy out of it just to see the two of you have to smile at each other on stage :-)

best,

John
very valid, but i personally have no time for attitude when there's a job to be done and i'm in charge. when on the other side of the fence and the producer is on quaaludes, or just plain inept, i (usually) sigh and mumble 'it's your record...' under my breath, and keep going - but i (usually) try to remember what hat i'm wearing that day. and when i do have a different opinion and choose to express it, i try to be polite as possible.

if mr.engineer would've made his point the way you just did thumbsup, perhaps this thread wouldn't even exist. i have no idea who's 'right' or 'wrong' here... but it's pretty clear to me who has el no-go attitude.
Old 26th June 2005
  #22
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update... there were actually 2 mixes we gave him today. (I didn't do any writing in the second one and am not as particular.) He said he was about 60% through that mix, and when i heard it, I thought it sounded pretty darn good.

The advice on complimenting him surely didn't hurt. I get a cd of 'my baby' tomorrow night.

Thanks for all the feedback!
Old 26th June 2005
  #23
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ok... forget everything i said.
Old 26th June 2005
  #24
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

see, sometimes you just got to trust em... im sure he listened to what you said about panning and such that you valued [did some of your things you mention end up on the mix?]
Old 26th June 2005
  #25
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Yup!
Old 26th June 2005
  #26
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Henchman's Avatar
You know how annoying it is when your producing a song, and you have to fight with any of the band members to trust you and play what you ask them?

Well, you have just exhibited the same behaviour. Even though you are the producer, he is the mixer. And just liek you, was hired becasue of HIS experience.

It's safer to let them do their thing, and if your not happy, then fix it.

I ran into a case where a band I produced, engineered and mixed then hired a pretty big engineer with big credits, to re-mix.
I decided to stay out of the way, and showed up later in the day. And I was shocked. It sounded horrendous.
I pulled the main band guy outside and asked him wtf was goign on, and it sounded like ****.
He thought it was sour grapes, becasue in his mind because it was "so-and-so" mixing, it couldn't sound bad.
So, I just left. I received the tracks later to be put in order for the release.
Two weeks later I received an agitated phonecall from the main bandguy asking me what I had done, because he was playing the tracks at home for a radio guy he knew and it sounded thin and horrible. I said "I know, I told you that when it was being remixed". And hung up the phone.

Moral of the story? No matter what you do, if a band is intent on destroying their own record because they want to use a "name" guy, let it go.
You've done your job.
Old 26th June 2005
  #27
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Its ok.

Its fun working with the artists and producers.

I especially love the girls that show up to the sessions though.
I'm sure it's all very fun and all.. but if there is a certain style of music I can't stand for more than 30 seconds is reggaeton. Seem's to be the new big artist trend now.. shakira's single, I heard ricky martin's new stuff will have some reggaetons, what's happening with the world : (
Old 27th June 2005
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
I'm sure it's all very fun and all.. but if there is a certain style of music I can't stand for more than 30 seconds is reggaeton. Seem's to be the new big artist trend now.. shakira's single, I heard ricky martin's new stuff will have some reggaetons, what's happening with the world : (

Its electronic reggae made by kids for kids.

Its fun throw away music.

Hey we were all young once.

Not everything was always serious.

Its always been about going to party,getting sweaty and hopefully going home with a hot girl. heh

You know having a good time.
Old 27th June 2005
  #29
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well, today the artist got a call that the mixer wanted full payment before he continued. The mixer said this is the deal for the rate they agreed on. The client never knew this in advance and didn't have the cash on hand.

I think we need a new mixer. If anyone can recommend someone in Miami, please PM me.
Old 27th June 2005
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dopamine
well, today the artist got a call that the mixer wanted full payment before he continued. The mixer said this is the deal for the rate they agreed on. The client never knew this in advance and didn't have the cash on hand.

I think we need a new mixer. If anyone can recommend someone in Miami, please PM me.
Sounds like you need a new CLIENT!

Did YOU get paid already?

Are you abandoning the mix because the mixer wants to get paid?

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