The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
I don't like mixing while clients are here!!! You? Multi-Ef­fects Plugins
Old 5th September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 
jjboogie's Avatar
I don't like mixing while clients are here!!! You?

I had a session to mix. Well my client decided to pop by and hang out while I did so. He's not my average client although he is a regular one. Happens to be a good friend however still I don't like having people sit over my shoulder while I'm working on their material.

I was self conscious the entire time and it was very distracting. In the end we still got a great mix and he really did stay out of the way but just his presence alone was distracting.

Anyways....how do you guys do when you have clients over while mixing?
Old 5th September 2011
  #2
It can be difficult with back-seat mixers, especially when they are relatively new to recording and have very skewed notions of what the process is supposed to be like. I had a client a few years ago that wanted me to simply mess with digital EQ (solo'd) on each track (directed by him) until he was happy with each individual instrument sound, and then he wondered why the mix didn't sound good as a whole (even though I was warning him about his drastic EQ boosts all along the way). I don't understand why clients would pay me for my experience and then completely eliminate my experience by directing all my actions. I've learned from the past, and while I still ask clients what they want, I don't let them tell me how to get there (suggestions? sure, but either I'm mixing this or you are).

There are times when it's nice to have them there, so I know I'm on track to giving them what they want. It's nice when a client knows what he wants to some extent so you're not just mixing for yourself or taking shots in the dark at what you THINK they want, only to find out later they want it taken in another direction. But yes, there is always added pressure when they are watching. I often like that pressure though because it forces me to make good time and be decisive, rather than when I'm not on the clock I can lose focus here and there and spend way too much time on simple things.
Old 5th September 2011
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Mark D.'s Avatar
 

I had one fall asleep out of boredom in their chair. Another studio owner (really small, low budget place) looked over my shoulder in trying to 'figure that out' (he honestly thought he could, and would save money doing it himself). He'd got up and walked out confused after about 5 edits. I much prefer working alone, and usually do these days.

I flat out tell people I'm working unattended, and that's it. Their demanding to be there means it will be nothing but trouble. I've collaboratively mixed with a friend who's also a mix engineer and it was cool since I was asked to by them, and I'd showed them a few new ideas and learned some myself. But that is not very common for indie work.

I have worked at other studios and mixed in front of clients (often the same folks I'd just recorded). That I'm used to. I've mixed live sound with people looking over my shoulder, out of curiosity or because they'd asked me to to alter something in the mix. That can have its own unique stress, but I'm used to it by now. I just focus on the task.
Old 5th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Big_Bang's Avatar
 

For those who think they know their sh!t and have no respect for your studio, the tried-and-tested trick to stand up and give them the chair for them to mix it themselves... works WONDERS.

Then THEY'RE on the spot and quite often reject the offer straight up, and just keep their mouths shut hence forth.

Having said that, I have two ways to go about this. One is the "regular" in-and-out client. Those, I simply do not allow while mixing, except maybe the last 5% for approval and creative relevance.

Then I have those that I simply WANT to be there with me. These clients come around ever so often, and even without having the foggiest idea what DAW's are all about (actually there is a parallel in this), they have a true artist's soul, ears of gold, sensibility like no other, often play or sing very very very well... these I WANT with me, because my mixes, be spot on as they might be... they seem to prinkle some fairy dust magic that only they themselves know how to conjour. Always a great learning experience. But these are generally guys who come from a specific musical genre that is not rock, pop, metal, jazz, not your usual suspect... Often I dont agree with this or that decision, while they seriously enforce their will, yet every time they listen to every word you say! Its magical. But when they stand their ground I simply let go of myself and let them have their way. Months later I might come back to that album and listen to my work and simply say

"damn...." ... and I smile!! Because I learnt something right there.

If I had more of the second kind, I would be extremely happy and I'm sure my career would sky rocket (NOT that I'm complaining!!!)
Old 5th September 2011
  #5
I like it when there is a critical listener/thinker (or two of them, but not more than that) there during the mix, but ONLY after I've finished the core balance. They act hyper and anxious while I'm doing the basics, and I have to explain ten times that there is still a lot of work to be done and its going to take a few hours to get to the point where they should even worry about about details.
Old 6th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Now I mostly work alone, but find invariably clients fall asleep or lose concentration and fade out within an hour. Than I just get them to make coffee or something.
Old 6th September 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
Yeah my biggest peeve is when they sit in at the start and start getting anxious it doesn't sound like god in the 10 minutes or less. Another one is when they want to do something and insist on their way...Like it needs to be louder and I say well, why don't you give me a chance to eq and cut boost some frequencies before we consider that and they fight me insisting the only way is to turn things up.

Another one is demos....A lot want demos on the spot and even though you tell them it's far from over, they analyze it so much by the time they come back they have so many things to bitch about and you are far from that last mix, but they still have the other so stuck in their head. And lastly if it was recorded somewhere else or the talent wasn't all that great they think it's your fault...My job is to make it sound better and tight. If that has been achieved 10 times better and they are only happy with 1,000 times better and give me attitude I go right back to the original mix. Having a rough mix on hand to pull up anytime is a great tool to keep them on track of what you are actually doing and why they hired you!

When it comes to sitting in the mix room and preproduction a lot of the time especially with a new client that might not be all that skilled, they get very excited and simply love it and want a early mix. They always come back a week later though and seem disapointed about something from over analyzing it, but usually it's them being really happy they have something and someone without bias shooting down the talent saying they could be better. There are a lot of mind games that come with this and you can only please some clients..Usually the professional ones that have done it before are great. I always cringe when dealing with newbies to the game and know what's coming.... Missed appointments, band arguments, constant changes, arguing, late payments ect. I set up ground rules now and choose who I work with based on background and talent,. I never really take any negative feedback straight to heart. If it's better it's better, If talent is unprepared,hard on themselves or anal that's more of a personal issue. I don't have 4 or 5 months for them to sit behind me and try to fulfill some crazy ego game for a bill or two.
Old 6th September 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 
jimmyboy7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by faramita View Post
Now I mostly work alone, but find invariably clients fall asleep or lose concentration and fade out within an hour. Than I just get them to make coffee or something.
I usually ask them to make some coffee while I get started (slow drip). I also start the process with edits etc... After awhile they get bored and leave, much like your experience.

When I get to the actual mixing, using effects etc.. I tell them to trust me, let me start with a first mix to get it about 90% there and have them give their input for the final 10%.

Ultimately, building solid relationships increases trust and the wirk flow goes much faster because they let you do your job
Old 6th September 2011
  #9
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

It has never failed, I have always did the better mix by myself, normally AM hours to.
Old 7th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjboogie View Post
I had a session to mix. Well my client decided to pop by and hang out while I did so. He's not my average client although he is a regular one. Happens to be a good friend however still I don't like having people sit over my shoulder while I'm working on their material.

I was self conscious the entire time and it was very distracting. In the end we still got a great mix and he really did stay out of the way but just his presence alone was distracting.

Anyways....how do you guys do when you have clients over while mixing?
No ****ing way!
I dont need the opinions until the final listen
Old 7th September 2011
  #11
Gear Addict
 
always_ending's Avatar
 

subscribe to the "alone" mixing, with myself and assistant if needed.

the band and whomever else should come by after I've gotten initial mixes to make sure we're on the same page... but never during initial mixing.

as others have mentioned, most of them get rather bored while watching you perform the "mundane" tasks like bouncing tracks, cut/paste-ing, fade in/out's, etc and will begin to just throw in their 2 cents on what they think isn't loud enough etc, etc to appear as if they're helping.... or maybe they want to help, either way, they rarely are.
Old 7th September 2011
  #12
I've never been a huge fan either, I can't focus on things the same when there are people around, even if they're completely quiet.
Old 8th September 2011
  #13
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 

i don't even like recording with them there.....
Old 8th September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
MikeTSH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
i don't even like recording with them there.....
^^ this
Old 8th September 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
T_R_S's Avatar
We charge by the hour - feel free to ask as many questions a you want! heh
With that in mind I find most client mixing sessions always go smooth unless they bring their mother. ( Which really has happened more than once )
Old 9th September 2011
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Lackatee's Avatar
People rarely have the attention span to sit through a whole mixing session as mentioned above. Most of them time, it's distracting and takes you out of that "zone" you can get in working by yourself and you're cranking through the checklist. Too many distractions stifle creativity and mixing is a creative job. But its also a technical job and I think this is the part that people can't deal with most of the time.
Old 9th September 2011
  #17
Here for the gear
 

I usually don't like it. If I find it becomes annoying I will start editing with cans on so they can't hear anything. I tell alot of clients from the start that I prefer to mix in my own time so they know from the onset, I will even go as far as offering a better rate for this. I will then send them the mix for their thoughts on any tweaks etc and go from there.
Old 22nd September 2011
  #18
Lives for gear
 
jjboogie's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
i don't even like recording with them there.....

LOL
Old 22nd September 2011
  #19
Gear Addict
 
audiobob's Avatar
I'm in post but the same thing applies I suppose. Sound design takes lots of experimentation which means the first, second, third or more sound you hear will not be the final. It may take an hour or more to get one effect the way you like it. Sometimes I do feel that they are glaring behind me wondering why I didn't get the sound right on the first or second try, but it's probably just me.

I find the best clients are 1) the really inexperienced ones who are overwhelmed and don't want to look bad by making ridiculous requests..(2 the really experienced ones that know the process and let me do what I do until I say..."check this out".

The bad ones are the ones in between, who think they know it all but really dilute the process by horrible decisions.

Either way they are paying me by the hour so if they want to be present, I welcome them to be there.
Old 22nd September 2011
  #20
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
I prefer having the artist present, as the artist should have a unique and solid vision of the finished product. There are numerous ways to mix any song, and I never assume that my vision is the end-all.
If the artist does not have a vision, that quickly becomes obvious, and they're usually happy with mine. But mixing without them present, either way, just sets me up for trouble later.

If more than one band member is present, we work out who's the boss before we start mixing. The biggest problem is usually as simple and silly as everyone wanting their instrument to be the loudest. Once we get it straight that that ain't going to fly, we're usually OK.

If people start chatting, they're asked nicely to leave the room.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #21
Gear Nut
 
oscar gamble's Avatar
 

I try to give the client(s) a general idea of what the sound will be like by the time it's really time to mix; this way, the first mixes the band get will sound familiar, yet (hopefully) a little more focused.

I also like mixing after getting my morning coffee. Doing final mixes at night, especially after a few hours of 'just touching up vocals' is never the highlight of my day. It just feels like I'm working on the best rough mix ever.

Waking up and working just feels the best and 9 times out of 10, I'm working alone.
Old 23rd September 2011
  #22
Lives for gear
 
famousbass's Avatar
 

I really don't care. It's not time to talk. I don't ask permission of a client to do what I do in a mix. Obviously your friend had an argument at home, couldn't stay. Send them to the kitchen to make you tea. The laborious mix session must have been better then the alternative for them.
Old 24th September 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
guid0's Avatar
 

For me, it depends on the client.

Most of the time, I prefer mixing by myself since most bands that come my way are of the talent-challenged delusional type.

I've had the chance to mix for a few artists that were genuinely inspiring and actually contributed to the great vibe in which their material was mixed.

The result would have been different (read: lesser) if they hadn't been there.
Old 27th September 2011
  #24
For my answer you have to consider, that my clients are more of a co-producer, than just clients paying for a service. The songs are written, composed and mixed together. This said:

I like them to be around during mixes. This way I can ensure that the mix is also according to their taste. For example: Even if they think the lows need to be louder and I say no, I concurr just to have them find out later the lows are too loud. My disco PA system also helps to show clients how the sound will translate in the club.

Disagreements happen often in the beginning, with new clients who have little or no experiences. During time they start to trust my ears and the mixing together gets easier. When I do the mix alone, I ended up more often to redo the mix over and over again.
Old 28th September 2011
  #25
Here for the gear
 
Sub Level Music's Avatar
 

Writing, producing, mixing are all very intimate parts of the creative process. In my case I do it all. I tried for many years working with people in the room, but finally had enough. I felt that the quality of the work I was providing was being compromised due to clients looking over my shoulder and I needed my internal focus to do my best work. I also found it really hard to fathom why someone felt the need to be sitting in the room with me when I’m spending time going through drum loops, processing a single sound, designing a bass line sound etc. All very experimental aspects of music creation and requires time and focus.



I now tell my clients up front before any work begins that I work unattended and if there are any changes the client wants done, we book a time for them to come by and sit with me to finalize everything. Most are fine with it but I get the odd one who wines and moans. I find the ones who complained about not being able to sit in are usually less experienced artists or simply lack in self confidence to begin with, hence why they need to be present watching over you. I usually decline those jobs.
Old 28th September 2011
  #26
Here for the gear
 

I have mixed feelings on this as I have been on both sides of the fence. My last band had one of our records mixed at a fairly high profile engineer's studio. The mix was being done by one of his long time assistants, so we got a fairly low rate. We attended the first mixing session just to get a feel for the guy and we kept quiet the entire time unless we were asked a question. We generally felt that the project was in good hands. We left and came back a few days later to check up on the songs that were done only to find that some of the tracks had things like lead guitars and fairly prominent background vocals completely inaudible and the engineer had not even noticed. So for the rest of the sessions at least one person in the band was in attendance.

This could of just been a bad experience for me or a fluke on the engineers end. But now that I'm on the other side mixing projects on my own I prefer to do it solitary, even though if I had to option to be there if someone was mixing my own material I would do it.
Old 28th September 2011
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
The Pressman's Avatar
I don't mind mixing with clients here. I do, however, charge a little bit more. Just because it takes SO much longer to get anything done!
Old 30th September 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
 
T_R_S's Avatar
just had a client telling me how to mix yesterday I tried to give him my advice, he refused to listen to me during the entire session he rebooked today for a bunch of mix changes more $$$

some people never learn so they have to pay
Old 30th September 2011
  #29
Lives for gear
 
otobianki74's Avatar
 

I find that if the client is present it's a trade off. one huge perk is that I normally have less recall work to do when they are here. something psychological I believe about their being part of the process.

oto
Old 1st October 2011
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
just had a client telling me how to mix yesterday I tried to give him my advice, he refused to listen to me during the entire session he rebooked today for a bunch of mix changes more $$$

some people never learn so they have to pay
That's the benefit. Eventually one day, they start to trust you and and you know their taste, then the mix is done pretty fast with less or no recalls.
Top Mentioned Products
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump