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The 45 minute mix

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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:27 am

There's so much going on in this thread, really a great one!

I dont think the stuff linked is particular artificial or formulaic. "pop" implies "familiar" and viceversa. There's always a formula - I'd go as far as saying that all pop music has pretty much the same components from metal to hip hop to EDM to country,,. If it doesn't, it's not pop(ular). It's only about how you mix the ingredients.

Maybe some rare successful song in history has been such a radical departure from the past and yet become so popular that it makes sense it has established a formula... but can't really think of any. Changes are gradual, because gradual is palatable. Look close enough and you always find more similarities with the past than differences.

As of his mixing, a fascinating set of great, efficient working methods, physical dexterity and focus on the only thing that matters - what comes out of the speakers. All supported by great recording practices and skill.

Fun.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:41 am

I'd go as far as saying that all pop music has pretty much the same components from metal

Yes, Decker also mixes metal bands and, as he says, he uses exactly the same plugins and techniques as he uses for country. From the SOS interview:

"I recently had a day when I mixed three bluegrass songs in the morning, and a modern screamo metal track in the afternoon. I used the same template for all of them...

I did a presentation for the Nail The Mix web site, which covers mostly modern metal, and showed how a country template can be applied to a metal record. It doesn’t actually need a lot of adjustments. I kept all the same settings. The only difference was that I fed the compressors harder to get a more aggressive sound."
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:20 pm

That does make perfect sense, and like pink noise mixing, if it gets your mix to a good point quickly then you're still fresh for the final polishing.


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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 20, 2020 3:08 pm

I love the comment about always humming a song from the artist in the room as well! :)

The other thing that's apparent here is that he's really just talking about the mix process. All the tracks have been comped, edited, cut&shut etc already and can just be slotted into the process.
I suspect a lot of us don't work in this way a lot of the time.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:13 pm

I don't have a problem with templates, quick starting points, or workflow efficiencies.

Even CLA has the same channels and FX and FX (hardware) presets that he uses for every mix.

The bits that make me uncomfortable is just throwing away content made by the artist and blindly replacing them with his own samples - that seems a bit too much like "I can't be bothered trying to make your thing sound good, so I'm going to bin it and do my thing" and that's less a mix decision and more a production decision.

I mean, *augment* the original with samples *if you need to*, or replace them if the source recording really is too bad to use (in Nashville, that's unlikely), but just to do it automatically because it means less work for you and you can get the job done easier and quicker is the "McDonalds" part of the thing - bash it out quick.

I'm sure he knows what he's doing, and if the artist & labels like the results, then great (unless you're a drummer, I guess). I'm not criticising for working the way he works, or suggesting he should do it some other way - just that it has always made me a bit conflicted about this way of doing things from when I read the original article... It makes me uncomfortable.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:27 pm

As I said earlier in the thread, it depends on what your objective is when you give him your track to mix. If it's to get a smash hit record, why wouldn't you?

But if it's to get praise from HiFi buffs and up-their-own-ego engineers about the subtle and magical resonances of your tom-tom sound, then maybe you'll look elsewhere.

As for throwing away the real drum parts that he's given, I don't see this as, in principle, any different from adding a load of eq, gated reverb, delay or any other sonic enhancements. You're still saying 'this recording isn't good enough to go out', aren't you?

It's just a question of degree, isn't it? How about tuning vocals? Why is that any different to replacing drums if the goal is to get a hit record?

More to the point, he's still using the original performance of the drums here, which arguably is far more important than the sound, surely? (And to be fair to Decker, he does say that he keeps much more of the original drum parts if the client wants something more organic sounding.)

As a thought exercise, how would you feel if you'd played a midi part on a track, piano or drums or whatever, that you thought was fantastic and the mix engineer decided that he wanted a Wurlitzer instead of a Grand and made the instrument changes accordingly? Would you feel the same degree of discomfort?
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:01 pm

I can only say how this feels *to me*. It *feels* a little disrespectful to the original recording, and to the artists. It may be good *business*, and if it's the business you're in it for, fine.

As we're doing hypotheticals, imagine if you were the lead guitarist, and he threw away your fine recorded work with barely a thought and replaced it with a re-done MIDI guitar part which sounded more contemporary and be more likely to be a "hit".

Yes, if the "mixer" overrode my sound choices and picked different instruments, I would certainly be annoyed - they are production and arrangement decisions, not mix ones - imo. Perhaps if the end result really was genuinely way better, that might mitigate my annoyance (a bit), but I still feel it's an overreach, unless the artist specifically gives consent to these kinds of changes by the mix engineer.

You're right, it is to a certain extent, questions of degree. And for me, for reasons I've outlined, it makes me uncomfortable.
You're entitled to feel differently, of course. :thumbup:
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:14 pm

As we're doing hypotheticals, imagine if you were the lead guitarist, and he threw away your fine recorded work with barely a thought and replaced it with a re-done MIDI guitar part which sounded more contemporary and be more likely to be a "hit".

If he kept my performance and just turned the audio into midi to drive the virtual instrument he'd selected I don't think I'd mind too much. It would still be my 'part'. Which is the situation with Decker and the drums.

However, iIf he threw away my playing altogether and replaced it with a brand new performance by somebody else, that would perhaps be different. But this happens all the time of course when session players are brought in to replace parts played badly by the band!
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:23 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:But this happens all the time of course when session players are brought in to replace parts played badly by the band!

As a production decision by the producer or artist, yes. Not as a mix decision by the mixer.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:11 pm

desmond wrote:As we're doing hypotheticals, imagine if you were the lead guitarist, and he threw away your fine recorded work with barely a thought and replaced it with a re-done MIDI guitar part which sounded more contemporary and be more likely to be a "hit".

A drummer, like a guitarist, hears the performance in the room. He plays the kit and the room reverb, not what's picked up by the mic, which always has a different sound.. no drummer has ears 3 meters apart and 2 meters over the drum kit.

Very few drummers would pick up reinforced or even replaced drums, because they never heard the result of the miking in the first place; and/or have learnt to assume that it wont be the same sound they heard when playing and that the mixing process will change it anyways.

Same goes for the guitar, really. Which is why if you record seriously you'll always have a DI track..

Trigger is a great tool exactly because it allows to separate the performance from the sound.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:19 pm

CS70 wrote:Very few drummers would pick up reinforced or even replaced drums, because they never heard the result of the miking in the first place; and/or have learnt to assume that it wont be the same sound they heard when playing and that the mixing process will change it anyways.

Decker says that sometimes, yes, the clients complain about the replaced drums.

CS70 wrote:Trigger is a great tool exactly because it allows to separate the performance from the sound.

Sure, no-ones denying how good the tools are. It's how they are wielded, by whom, and when in the process that we're talking about here.
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:23 pm

desmond wrote:Decker says that sometimes, yes, the clients complain about the replaced drums.

Yeah I was talking of my own experience.. I don't use templates though :D
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:32 pm

And anyway, it's not so much that he replaces drums, it's that he seemingly does it automatically, without even thinking whether it's appropriate, and without the client expecting he's going to do that.

Some clients don't mind, or don't care, but some do - that's enough for me to question whether I should do that to everything as standard, rather than just shrug and continue to do it anyway.

Seems somewhat... insensitive, I guess.

Maybe it's just me, if everyone else is fine with this... :shrugs:
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:58 pm

desmond wrote:And anyway, it's not so much that he replaces drums, it's that he seemingly does it automatically, without even thinking whether it's appropriate, and without the client expecting he's going to do that.

Some clients don't mind, or don't care, but some do - that's enough for me to question whether I should do that to everything as standard, rather than just shrug and continue to do it anyway.

Seems somewhat... insensitive, I guess.

Maybe it's just me, if everyone else is fine with this... :shrugs:

Yeah I can understand.. it's just that wearing the hat of producer/recordist/mixing man interchangeably with my preferred one of guitarist/singer, I realize way too many musicians have very strong opinions on recording and mixing found an very solid foundation of utter incompetence. Present company excluded, of course.

Saw an interview with Andrew Scheps the other day where he was saying that one of the best things about mixing in the box is that he no longer has musicians coming to the studio, seeing that he's used a compressor, stating clearly that they hate the sound of that compressor (without hearing it of course) and wanting him to change it... when of course there's nothing wrong with the compressor and it's just BS prejudice. .. the same reason the "singer button" exists on consoles :D

That said, of course, what matters is what comes off the speakers. And if you make enough mixes, you will sooner or later someone who doesn't like one and wants a change...
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Re: The 45 minute mix

Postby Murray B » Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:42 pm

Regarding the replace the performed audio with samples...

If I was the lead guitarist in a band where I felt that my playing and sound was integral to the sonic signature of the band - I might be a bit miffed.

If I was a session player and got a fee for the job - do what you wish, if you are happy with the feel and timing of the trigger track and call me back for the next job.

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