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Do NOT be afraid to put something on the Mix Buss. Whether it be an EQ, Compressor or even Distortion. Mixing allows us to adjust things at 3 different levels. Individual tracks, Busses and the Master 2 Buss. Use all of them. That's why they are there. Anyone who tells you to avoid this point doesn't understand what mixing is. Or more importantly, think YOU don't.
The process of making records, whether you are an Engineer or a Record Producer has always been a big reason why many of us do this. I grew up loving the idea of working in a real recording studio. Hopefully with 100+ channels and as many tracks as possible. A big huge room full of double paned glass, leather couches and wood cut on an angle on every surface.
I’m going to start this off with a story. Many many many years ago, I was producing a band name Marcy Playground. You may have heard of them as they were known for their hit single “Sex and Candy”.
And I’ll admit, we’re not an easy breed to deal with. We have tons of equipment, require a bunch of microphones, mic preamps and many inputs on your audio interfaces. Something you don’t really need for anything besides drums. We’ll leave out the unemployed slacker living on our girlfriend’s couch part for this.
These questions comes up a lot. Either people think these tools are Over-used and ruining music or they think it's Cheating. As if people are being fooled by the use of these software solutions.
These things are just Tools. Like EQ. Like Compression. They don't "fool" the listener. Not in a positive way. Not in a negative way.
This is something I struggled with for many years as I noticed that my mixes sounded very varied on every system I listened to them on yet the HIT songs from the radio seemed to translate or sound exactly the same everywhere. Why?
I understand the desire to be able to Write, Produce or even Mix like your heroes, but I can promise, it doesn't serve you. Especially NOT in the long run!!
During the learning phase, it can be helpful to study how others work. How they accomplish their sound. And it's good to have these tools in your toolbox. But if your goal is to be "Great" at what you do, then mimicking other's work will never get you there.
There’s a saying in business: “the most important client is the next one”. I have mixed feelings about this mindset. Because while of course bringing in new business is what keeps things going, you wouldn’t have much of a business to worry about if you didn’t give proper attention to your current clients.
When you have a great song to work with. I mean a song that just jumps out at you and hits you over the head. The Production ideas just flow like a fire hose. For real. You can't record them quick enough. Every idea is a great idea and they all work. In any key and in any tempo. Nothing sounds bad when it's being held up by a great song. You'd have to be an idiot to miss the musical ideas and creativity that are flying through the air right in front of you. It's a chore just to grab them all.
I have been around a lot of record producers and heard from many of them who seem to think that the job is to know more than everyone else in the room. Sometimes taking it to the extreme and actually belittling the artists they work with as they “clearly” know more than them.