How To Get The Best Result from your Mixdown Engineer – Rusty’s Tip Of The Week 9

The short answer to getting the best result from your mixdown engineer is "Leave Them Alone".

But seriously, imagine setting up the drum mix while the singer and guitarists are telling you what they want, and at the same time watching out for the drummer slyly pushing up fader number one thinking it’s his kick drum?

(Note to drummers - These days it almost never is).

Recording Studios Sydney - How To Get The Best Result from your Mixdown Engineer

There’s a time for everything and I’ve found it’s so much more efficient to have time alone to sort out busses and fx, do all the patching, get all the lines up through the board, start pulling sounds and so on.

Some bands still have day jobs and find it works well to come in after work, when there’s a mix up ready for tweaks. At this time everyone can have their turn to listen and talk about what they are hearing and figure out what they would like to hear more or less of.

When mixing albums it’s so great to be able to finish 1-2 songs a day and then start a draft mix of the next song so it can stay up over night and can be listened to with fresh ears in the morning.

Mixing is a very important process and it's all on one guy to pull it the way the band and/or producer are hearing it in their heads. If it has been the same engineer tracking then it’s often easier becuase by that time he will have a very good idea of the band’s ideas and the vision of the overall sound.

It’s harder if it comes in 'cold' with maybe 20 guitar tracks for each song which have to be sorted through, 'the fix it in the mix’ approach where no one has made any decisons during tracking. This can lead to very extended times for each song, often over a bands expectations.

There are counteless articles from name producers and engineers advising people to make those descions early and commit, it really does save a huge amount of time later. It’s also a good idea for the band to listen to rough mixes and make any notes of things they are concerned about or creative ideas to try regarding FX and dynamics.

But the overall message to reinforce today is, it really will be quicker and better if the engineer is given time to simply engineer before any input and ideas are contributed - there’s a lot to be done in the purely technical realm before the creative decisions need to be made.

Russ-T-Rokk Pilling has been mixing bands on his lonesome (and sometimes with a little help :) at Damien Gerard Recording Studios Sydney for over 25 years

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