1. #1

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    I'm curious about how others see the following issue.

    I've been working with several musicians and a few other friends. I mix and they make detailed comments. I address their comments with a new mix and they comment again.

    It's typical for different people to make completely different sorts of comments. Occasionally, contradictory.

    Yesterday, I sent three tracks to a musician/arranger who hadn't heard any of my stuff before. I asked for comments on my newest track, but he commented also on two earlier tracks that I thought were finished. Those two tracks had been approved by all the players and critics over many iterations.

    He had as much to say about the "finished" tracks as the new one.

    I began to wonder. Is this to be expected? That, no matter what you do, you're going to get plenty of suggestions about things that need improvement. Maybe some of that is because everybody is listening on different equipment and with different hearing. I know, for example, that one way to increase the level of the bass in the mix, is to press your earbuds firmly into your ears, if they weren't already.

    What is typical for this process?

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  3. #2

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    There are always many viable ways to mix any particular song, so everyone will have an opinion about it. The more experience one has, the better equipped to make a viable decision. So musicians that work often in studios will often have strong opinions, but they will also respect the recording engineer's view.

    It's before, not after the mix, where one should discuss what style of mixing they want.

    I for one as a musician find it counter productive when asked to decide too much about a mix, especially if I'm not familiar with the studio, monitors, etc. I feel it's the engineer's job. And I've recorded enough both on my own and in studios to know the difference between amateur and pro. It's a big one!

    However, musician or recording engineer, always pay attention to the opinions of people you are working for/with. Even the greatest mix won't help if they are unhappy with it.

  4. #3

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    My mixes, the vast majority of the time, are collaborations with just one other person (let's call him Keith as that is his name).

    Keith has approved mixes and then at some later time has come back with additional changes. He forgets his previous comments and will sometimes contradict himself. I've taken to leaving a trail of mix changes and requests. Yesterday's email to Keith:

    Give her a listen.

    Bass down 2db
    Horns up 1.5
    Drums up 1.75
    Keys
    Organ up 1.5
    Piano up 2
    In general he wants less bass than I do which I think has to do with differences in our listening environments. He also wants less reverb (very close to dry on the vocals), and less drums in the mix than I do which I think is a matter of personal taste.

    For tunes that Keith writes, which has been most of our tunes, the mix compromises lean way towards his judgement. For tunes I write the compromise leans way towards my judgement. For tunes I write I get his early opinions which I consider but don't even ask for his final approval.

    Two opinions complicate things. I can see in your case with even more than two cooks in the soup it could get very complicated.

    Did you know in Reaper when you render there is the button near the bottom of the render screen, "Add rendered tracks to a new track in the project"? That's good to select and then just mute that track in the project, you can easily listen back to previous mixes that way. If you solo a muted track only that track plays, it's easy to toggle. It's good to put the date on your rendered mix also, for example, "Song Name 20201031" (or use the date wildcard function).
    Last edited by fep; 10-31-2020 at 03:00 PM.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    My mixes, the vast majority of the time, are collaborations with just one other person (let's call him Keith as that is his name).

    Keith has approved mixes and then at some later time has come back with additional changes. He forgets his previous comments and will sometimes contradict himself. I've taken to leaving a trail of mix changes and requests. Yesterday's email to Keith:



    In general he wants less bass than I do which I think has to do with differences in our listening environments. He also wants less reverb (very close to dry on the vocals), and less drums in the mix than I do which I think is a matter of personal taste.

    For tunes that Keith writes, which has been most of our tunes, the mix compromises lean way towards his judgement. For tunes I write the compromise leans way towards my judgement. For tunes I write I get his early opinions which I consider but don't even ask for his final approval.

    Two opinions complicate things. I can see in your case with even more than two cooks in the soup it could get very complicated.

    Did you know in Reaper when you render there is the button near the bottom of the render screen, "Add rendered tracks to a new track in the project"? That's good to select and then just mute that track in the project, you can easily listen back to previous mixes that way. If you solo a muted track only that track plays, it's easy to toggle. It's good to put the date on your rendered mix also, for example, "Song Name 20201031" (or use the date wildcard function).
    I did not know that! That's useful! Thanks.

    If my hearing was normal I'd just mix until I'm happy with the result. I'm not trying to win a Grammy.

    But, until I can figure out a working compensation (I've got an appointment with an audiologist coming up) I'm dependent on other opinions.

  6. #5

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    There’s no two people doing a mix or mastering exactly the same way, it’s not an exact science. Experience helps but don’t stress with too many different opinions.

    Here’s some reading that may clarify some concepts and procedures: Recording Magazine: The Magazine For the Recording Musician

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I did not know that! That's useful! Thanks.
    I should have mentioned, when Reaper renders your track and you select to add a copy to a new track in Reaper, that track is routed through the master channel which is the Reaper track default. Any processing plugins in the master track are already in the mix you just rendered, but that track being routed through the master channel will be affected by those processes an additional time which you don't want. Unless...

    If you have any processing on the master track then you should open up the router screen of the rendered mix track and deselect "Master send", select" Audio hardware outputs" drop down, select your audio interface (in my case "1. Out 1 / Out 2"). This way the rendered meix track bypasses the master channel. You should also do this if you load any reference tracks to your project as you don't want any Master Channel plugin processing on a reference track.