TRACK IT THERE, MIX HERE!
Cha-cha-cha-changes. David Bowie had the right word. As time has changed the recording industry, we had to face the change. Good or bad, it's a fact! More and more artists and bands are doing their recordings in a self owned envoriment. Someone owning a computer with an mbox and Pro Tools Lite, can track their own music. This is the freedom of ownership, and not a bad thing.
You can really work out the parts, getting them tracked without the pressure situation ('on the clock') of a recording studio. For that reason, you have no excuse to have a flawed take...NONE. By all intentional purposes, this should be a 'masterpiece'....but it may not.
The reasons of may not are multiple and could take pages to cover, so we'll just mention the primary 3 that have killed many a good effort. Then we will offer a few suggestion to strongly consider. And then we will pitch our business to be part of the 'fix formula'. Here goes:
The first primary mistake is the use of poor quality front-end capture equipment. If you have an extremely cheap set of mic's, going into a low end mic pre, no matter the software platform, you have started on the wrong foot. I have heard very good songs performed by very talented musicians, but because of the microphone used, or the mic pre it was feed thru, got nowhere near the mark. The second mistake is over working a song and not having the clarity of judgement to realize you have reached a point of deminishing returns. Therefore, the project may well have been better to work with (when it comes to mix down time) had you stopped many, many takes ago. This is the cloud that slowly settles in, but you're too close to the individual track...you don't even feel the mist building. Soon you feel like it's a bit of a fog ...guess what? It probably is! The third problem, is when you start to mix down these tracks, and are actually 'tricked' by the speakers and room you are in. You can't be blamed, heavens knows you really worked your tail off getting these tracks to pull up nice and work together. It's not your ears, you have a set of perfectly good ears. And besides, watching all those wave files on the computer screen right in front of your face, you just know looked great! So why, when you take a copy and go to play in on another system, or a friend car stereo or home system...it sounds so different?
Now 3 steps to make the next project much better:
1. Invest in, borrow or beg, but get your hands on the best microphones and mic pre's you can obtain for the project. Rent if necessary. But start with the best you can. The added detail these items will give to your project will show pounds of improvement.
2. Record at the highest bit and sample rate your computer is capable of doing, without it dying from a heart attack after a dozen tracks. Do have other musicians or people YOU trust involved at different points during the recording and mixing process. Take their advise and include it within the work. Again, if they are to be trusted, THEN trust them and park your ego in the far corner. They may well give you food for thought and make it a better product. Also, when working in multi-track remember more is not always better. Today, just because you CAN, you DO, may not serve you well in the end. There is only so much room (in the context of decibels), for things to fit. Giving instruments and vocals their own breathing space is a secret that many inexperienced AE's don't fully understand.
3. Mix with your ears! From the start, thru the middle, to the end. Today many young bloods are just a wiz at computer usage, and can fly around a program at break-neck speed. But if I reach over and kill the video screen, they freeze in their tracks! Now the music continues to pour out the monitors, but they act like they can no longer hear. IT'S AUDIO, PEOPLE. .. please don't forget that. Try this soon, pull up a song on your computer ...start playback and turn off the video. Within minutes (once your nervous system settles down), you will begin to hear each of the parts better! Now if your mix area was only true...you would be set.
But this is where we come in. We have the Control Room that has been acoustically tuned...no, not these foam kits that are offered on the internet or thru a online music store. But an out & out 'dialed in' Control Room, that has a RFZ area that has proven itself as true many, many times on many, many album project. Once we import your tracks, we can listen to each in detail, slap the necessary EQ's or Compressors across those that need such and help reshape those tracks so we can begin to finish your construction.
By deciding to bring your work to us, we can 'blow it up' making it bigger, and put together a sound that really takes your hard effort to the next level. You bring the pieces and we'll be the glue! Still not sure? Tell ya' what...you bring just one song, book the session and we'll bet you'll return to finish more of your music. Hope to see you soon!