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Mixing time
Old 22nd May 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
ultima's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mixing time

So how long does it take you to mix an album?

I know this will depend on the project obviously but how long will you spend on ...say 12 songs......roughly

Or an easier question ,how do you go about it?

Do you mix a few songs and then take a break for a couple of days or do you manage to do this in one go or?

the reason im asking is because im recording and producing an album and it has taken a fair amount of time (according to the band) but im trying to explain to them that while straight mixing could be done pretty easily then when they ask me to produce the record its a totally different ballgame.

I need breaks to really see what im doing to the album.

The pressure from the band has gotten me questioning my abilities (although they wanted me to do the album because of my producing abilities) even though im quite happy with the result and time myself.

Any insight into how much time you allocate for mixing /producing would help.
Any advice on how to deal with impatient musicians/managers would also help.

Cheers
Arnar
Old 22nd May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Mixing time

Quote:
Originally posted by ultima
So how long does it take you to mix an album?

I know this will depend on the project obviously but how long will you spend on ...say 12 songs......roughly

Or an easier question ,how do you go about it?

Do you mix a few songs and then take a break for a couple of days or do you manage to do this in one go or?

the reason im asking is because im recording and producing an album and it has taken a fair amount of time (according to the band) but im trying to explain to them that while straight mixing could be done pretty easily then when they ask me to produce the record its a totally different ballgame.

I need breaks to really see what im doing to the album.

The pressure from the band has gotten me questioning my abilities (although they wanted me to do the album because of my producing abilities) even though im quite happy with the result and time myself.

Any insight into how much time you allocate for mixing /producing would help.
Any advice on how to deal with impatient musicians/managers would also help.

Cheers
Arnar
How long is a piece of string?

But seriously, I would say that anywhere from 2-12 days. Unless the mix is really nothing at all (ie already running from the session) you aren't going to do it less than 2. I'm sure I read somewhere that Bob Clearmountain doesn't like to spend more than half a day a mix, I would agree with that, however there are always exceptions if things are particularly complicated. If its a full band mix (not jazz or accoustic) I would probably look to take a week.

Regards


Roland
Old 22nd May 2003
  #3
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
What Roland said; I've mixed 12 songs in a day, but that was a special case. Well, now that I think about it, I do that fairly regularly, but the musicians are all experienced session guys, and so are the singers. The arrangement is pretty well set before tape rolls, so there is no need to make arrangement decisions in the mix; you know, you don't have to decide whether muting the guitar track would be cool, because the guitarist wouldn't have played in that spot.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #4
Gear Addict
 
mitgong's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I bet they just feel that nothing's happening because they aren't as involved in this part of the process. Find something for them to do to include them in the process. Or have them come in and watch you work until their eyes glaze over from listening to THAT SAME DRUM FILL 29 times in a row.

Explaining to a band how long a mix can take is very difficult. I usually start by saying "How many times should I listen to this song to determine if the mix is album-quality? How long is the song? Should I put some time in on it in between listening to what I'm doing? Now do the math."

On the other hand, when a band is setting up to record and they ask me questions that start with "When we mix..." I usually say to them: "We are mixing."

A regular font of wisdom. That's me, boy.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
ultima's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for your advice....

I actually thought of inviting them to sit here and drool while i finish up the album but that would probably create a whole new dimension to my problems...hehe.

Quote:
I usually start by saying "How many times should I listen to this song to determine if the mix is album-quality? How long is the song? Should I put some time in on it in between listening to what I'm doing? Now do the math."
Now thats some good advice right there...

Cheers.

please keep em coming , im intersetd in how you guys deal with the politics of running things smoothly.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Simple arrangements: 2 songs a day

complex stuff (with more editing/tweaking): 1 or 2 days per song.

Of course, people rarely let me do this, but when they do, what a luxury!
Old 22nd May 2003
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
I almost forgot;

When doing a major project (in time sense rather than money) whether I'm producing or not, I do expect to see a nominated band member in the control room for feedback. If you are on your own, then you should question their commitment.

Unless they are a complete PITA, then kick 'em out and then slam the door shut just in case they didn't take the hint.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #8
Gear Head
 
Fat Cat's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I average 3 songs per day. Although, the 2nd day , I listen with fresh ears and then touch up and reburn. If the tracks are recorded nicely and not too much creative eq'ing is needed then I can do more.
Old 22nd May 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Roland's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I guess I have the luxury of nowadays not having to have clients present. More often than not they leave me to it, and just come in fresh to make their thoughts known. Of course this requires a lot of trust from clients, both on the musical side and the side of what they are paying. I tend to price for jobs these days rather than charge a hourly rate. The benefit to me is I make more than I probably could if it were just by the hour, and the client knows his/her end cost.

Having clients there can have the benefits of getting instant approval on what you are doing and they know that you are actually doing the hours (assuming your are chargiing an hourly rate).

The disadvantages are (particularly if there are several members of a band there) everyone thinking that their part should be louder (the gain game) and wanting to pour over particular parts and areas that ultimately are not really crucial to the mix. Nothing worse than a drummer wanting to hear his snare sound over and over again till he gets what he thinks he wants only to find out that it really doesn't sit in the track any more!

Regards

Roland
Old 23rd May 2003
  #10
VIP
 
mwagener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I produced/engineered the album myself, I take one day per song for a stereo mix ( mixing alone) and two days per song for a surround mix. The band (or preferably only one or two key members) come in with fresh ears around 7 or 8 PM and point out some things I missed and we make some changes if neccessary, even though after about 7 hours of mixing I won't touch any EQ, just levels. Then we all take home a CD of the mix and first thing in the morning (before breakfast) I listen on my reference stereo at home and make a list of fixes. It normally takes another half day to finalize the mix and lay down all the versions (master, playback and no vocal mix). That said, it will take probably an extra two days for the first mix until all the outboard is hooked up and the reverbs are sitting nicely, and another day at the end for sequencing and editing.

If I'm mixing something that was not recorded by me it probably willl take a little longer, because it normally involves cleaning up the tracks, re-amping stuff etc.

If we are mixing at my studio (which I prefer) I'll charge a block rate for the album mix so I can take my sweet time.
Old 23rd May 2003
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Roland
...

Having clients there can have the benefits of getting instant approval on what you are doing and they know that you are actually doing the hours (assuming your are chargiing an hourly rate).

The disadvantages are (particularly if there are several members of a band there) everyone thinking that their part should be louder (the gain game) and wanting to pour over particular parts and areas that ultimately are not really crucial to the mix. Nothing worse than a drummer wanting to hear his snare sound over and over again till he gets what he thinks he wants only to find out that it really doesn't sit in the track any more!

Regards

Roland
Oh absolutely. You've got to have someone (& I mean ONE) who has a global perspective that the rest of the band trusts to represent them on the mix. Otherwise you're wasting time going around in circles trying to please each member in turn!
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