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> Some Mixes Come Back To Bite You
Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 13 2012, 09:57 AM
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We get sent a lot of mixes from home/project studios. The bands/producer/mix engineers all of believe that they are ready for mastering and sutable as a demo or commrical release . Of these less than 5% are ready for mastering and another 5% need a small amount of work to get them to standard. So that means that more than 90% fall short of the standard of a professional mix. Most have significant balance issues, some have editing/timing/tuing issues, some suffer from inappropriate use of effects/dynamics, some suffer from over processing and a build up of digital hash, some have unwanted distortion and clipping, some are just poorly mixed and/or recorded.

As a mastering studio we usually try and help guide these home/project studios so that they can correct and improve their mixes. Some producers/bands objectively reflect on the issues and their abilities and take the probably hard decision to get someone else to mix the audio as they lack the time/skills/knowledge/equipment. Some ask us if we can mix their track, and that's something that we usually decline to do. Instead we suggest a professional recording/mixing engineer that is within their budget* . The pro engineer then remixes and returns the track for mastering and normally there is sufficient improvement for the project to go to mastering.

Some times we never receive a remix from the band/producer and we presume that they decided to pursue their project elsewhere. Sometimes we come across the mix again again by accident andthis is the story of one.

Some time back we were sent a mix by a project studio that they wanted to commercially release. The mix and the performance lacked sufficient quality in our opinion and we spent some time suggesting to them how to improve their project. We never heard anything until this week. My daughter was watching 'Blue Peter' (a BBC children's show) and the presenters went to interview a band whose first single had just entered the UK Top 40. You guessed it, it was the same band and the single was from that same project. Now it's hard to tell from a TV broadcast but from what I heard when they played the single many/all of the issues that we raised were still there.

My daughter said that she thought the recording was 'amateurish' and couldn't understand why people were buying it. It's charted so some people obviously are buying it. I doubt that we'll ever receive anything from this Top 40 band in the future.


* Home recording/project studios usually have a limited budget and we do try to take this in to account when we recommend a remix. We normally try to walk them through a remix first as this is the cheapest option but if they need to use a different engineer then we refer them to one suitable for their budget. With a lot of bands with smallish budgets we often refer thm to an engineer called Graham Waller (www.grahamwaller.com). Graham's a professional engineer and teaches music technology - he's not some kid 'mixing' tracks in his bedroom. He specialises in rock and indie but has sufficient experience to mix other genres to a professional standard.

We've worked with Graham for a number of years now and have a good idea of his skills and knowledge. What we like about Graham is that he's objective and reflects on his work so he continually looks for ways to improve his work. He's also a nice guy and easy to communicate and work with. Anyone who's recording/mixing on a tight budget should check him out.


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 13 2012, 10:42 AM
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Interesting story Tony !

A lot of artists will just want to rush to the point of release so will want to ignore the suggestions and issues raised. I know from personal experience that it can be a real temptation to ignore certain things but you have to say to yourself, 'for the sake of a few days, why not just get those fixed and then you won't regret it when you listen back to that song in several years time'.

I can also testify from my own personal experience that I took the hard decision to ask somebody else to mix my tracks. This was after I'd had a good go at it myself. But I've got a philosophy that I stick to: I do everything myself until I meet somebody who can do the job better than me. If turning the task over to them means that the end result is greater then I would be a fool not to do so.

I can vouch for the skills of both Tony and Graham as I worked with them both (and still am) for The Reckoning stuff. Finding solid, trustworthy people in this business is not an everyday occurrence so I'm going to be hassling them for years to come whether they like it or not !! wink.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 14 2012, 10:56 AM
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Thanks for the kind words Ben smile.gif


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Todd Simpson
post Sep 16 2012, 06:57 PM
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Having heard some of the RECKONING tracks that Mr. Miro worked on, I can safely say he really does have the "Golden Ears" which is why he is able to do this mastering stuff for a living. Trying to master your own work is almost like painting your own self portrait. It's hard to be objective sometimes.

So for any project that you plan to "Release" (E.g. put up for sale, print copies, put on itunes, cdbab) it's really worth having a pro put their ears on it, and we happen to have one as part of our community that you can trust.

Todd
QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 13 2012, 05:42 AM) *
Interesting story Tony !

A lot of artists will just want to rush to the point of release so will want to ignore the suggestions and issues raised. I know from personal experience that it can be a real temptation to ignore certain things but you have to say to yourself, 'for the sake of a few days, why not just get those fixed and then you won't regret it when you listen back to that song in several years time'.

I can also testify from my own personal experience that I took the hard decision to ask somebody else to mix my tracks. This was after I'd had a good go at it myself. But I've got a philosophy that I stick to: I do everything myself until I meet somebody who can do the job better than me. If turning the task over to them means that the end result is greater then I would be a fool not to do so.

I can vouch for the skills of both Tony and Graham as I worked with them both (and still am) for The Reckoning stuff. Finding solid, trustworthy people in this business is not an everyday occurrence so I'm going to be hassling them for years to come whether they like it or not !! wink.gif



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Ben Higgins
post Sep 16 2012, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 16 2012, 06:57 PM) *
Trying to master your own work is almost like painting your own self portrait. It's hard to be objective sometimes.


That is an excellent analogy ! smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 17 2012, 12:01 PM
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Thanks for the kind words Todd.

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Sep 16 2012, 06:57 PM) *
...

So for any project that you plan to "Release" (E.g. put up for sale, print copies, put on itunes, cdbab) it's really worth having a pro put their ears on it,...


Very true Todd.

Sadly many nowadays don't do this particularly when they self-release and so the internet is full of releases that have technical issues and/or average mixes (to be polite).
It's down to lots of reason including perhaps:

1/ few appreciate/realise how much experience a professional engineer has and how much a skilled engineer really can improve their project studio mix/master.
It's like the old economics maxim where 'they can see the cost of everything but understand the value of nothing''.

2/ they're not really interested in objective critique but in adulation. You see this all the time on the internet when people post their mixes and ask for feedback but only pay attention to uncritical, positive ones.

3/ the only basis for evaluation that they have comes from others who also have little experience. Again you see this all the time on the internet. Someone says they do 'x' to a mix but all too often all they are doing is repeating some half understood idea that they read, heard or saw. It becomes the case of 'the blind leading the blind'.

Those 3 are again good reasons why Graham is a good mix engineer - he's reflective and he continually tries to improve his technical understanding and skills.


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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