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Blunt Mixing Question
Old 15th August 2004
Gear Nut
🎧 15 years
Blunt Mixing Question

Hi Dave,
I have a question (sorry if it sounds a little cheeky). I've often wondered actually how good TOP guys like yourself are. Being involved mainly in sound design, Im constantly amazed by how top pro's can transform seemingly worthless sounds into something cool and 'quality'. Is this the case with mixing? Can guys like yourself resurect bog standard mixes into something 'quality'. Can YOU make that much of a difference?

How much is a mix 'you' and how much rests on the original recording?

PS. Sorry, Im not trying to be an arse, just always wanted to put this to a mixer of your calibre!
Old 15th August 2004
Lives for gear
Jose Mrochek's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I always had this question myself until I had the chance of sitting in sessions with top engineers. And yes, I do believe they are a step or more ahead. They are not the top guys because of luck or good people skills. I've noticed Dave is a very humble person and it's a good/hard question for him to answer. But looking forward for his reply on this one
Old 18th September 2004
Guest Moderator - September 08
Dave Pensado's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Will I ever get any TRUE/FALSE questions???!!!!??!

Man, you guys are giving me that carpal tunnel thing! One thing I have noticed about me (and other mixers I admire) is the WILL to make something sound great. The skill is one thing, but I have noticed that some of the staff (newer engineers) at the studios I work at, give up too quick. People ask me about width, clarity, lo end, etc. That's just the way I have always heard music, and will stay here 10 days if necesssary, until my mix sounds the way I hear it in my head. Wow does that ever sound egotistical (sic), but bear with me. Today I am working on a mix in which ALL the music is on two tracks. This mix should take about 3 hours. I am into hour 13. I have taken and placed snare and kik samples by hand for each and every kik and snare in the 2-track instrumental. This has taken me and Ariel about 5 hours. I have tried about 25 things on it from Trans X to TC Master X to Neves, Pultecs, 1070's, etc., and didn't like any of them, except the TransX. I split the stereo track to 5 pairs of faders. One I rolled off all lo end, one is just for lo with a DBX 120x on it. One has the snot compressed out of it (DBX160XT), for midrange, and then I combine all these to get the final sound I am hearing in my head. If I can't make it sound great, it aint leaving here. So, what I am trying to add here, is WANTING it to sound good is the one single thing all top mixers have in common. Also, anything you do for 10-20 years, you should be good at! Well, I guess that isn't always the case, just listen to the radio! I will expound on this more, because I think it ties into the "cliff diving" thread. Once again, let me say, you guys make me feel pretty special, and I thank you for that. But ALL of you have the ability to do UNIQUE things. That's all I do, is sell my uniqueness.
Old 21st September 2004
Guest Moderator - September 08
Dave Pensado's Avatar
🎧 15 years
what cha gunna do

A lot of producers shop their tracks. Suddenly the track gets some attention, and they realize the old hard drive it was on no longer works, or they were in a hurry and forgot to write down settings, etc. Usually it is a fact that they can't find it.

Greg, I will try to answer your thread soon.

As to who should get mix credit, that is a tought question I had not given much thought to. I guess if all I did was "master" the mix, I shouldn't get credit. When you change it as much as I do, I consider it not a 2track mix, but 2 tracks I was given to mix. Nicodemus, what do you think?

Let me give you an example of one of the songs on Surviver by Destinys. Beyonce was given a CD of the demo track. She dumped it onto a ProTools rig and recorded the vocals, and did some edits to the track. I had to have the mix done in two days, because of deadlines. I get the vocals from NY, and the track from another part of the country. They don't match. Timing is different, and somehow, the pitch is off. Well after a lot of work it was a single! It took 48 straight hours. Fun. Job security. Oh and by the way (I hate BTW), I never told anyone, just did it.

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