Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing For those recording, mixing, and everything else

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    ericwatkins
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      Hello everyone,

      I have a question that may only apply to a smaller group, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I do SO many things from my studio for my own music which is primarily all virtual instruments, but I also record bands and mix them. Currently, I have taken on way too much work, but am managing to keep up with the artist so far. But here's my dilemma.

      Keep in mind that some of these project stretch out for many months sometimes, because none of us, myself or the artists, are full-time musicians. We all do our recording and such during after work hours and on weekends.

      My typical workflow with a band bringing in a full album project for me to record and mix goes like this:
      1) I bring in the entire band on drum recording day. Sometimes it's more than a day, but the idea is to get solid recordings of the drums. Basically, the entire band plays live in the room with the singer down the hall. All drums are mic'd-up, and guitars and bass are going in direct to dummy tracks, either through Amplitube or just some pedal processors. Everyone, especially the drummer, has a click in their cans.

      2) After all drums are recorded, I start drum editing. It's a newer task to me but I feel like I've taken to it fairly well. I do it all manually in Cubase. I am indeed aware that there are automated features but I don't really like them. I want all the drums straightened out where necessary before I track anyone else, so that a bad performance by the drummer doesn't equal a bad performance of the next player to record.

      3) I record whatever makes sense next. If the bands bass player is really solid, I generally have him lay down all his tracks next. Sometimes it makes more sense to track the rhythm guitar(s) next. It just depends on the band usually. Right now, between the two rock bands I am recording, we are doing both of these.

      4) I record vocals last.

      5) I edit vocals with whoever in the band is really in control. I mean, many times there is a particular person, and of course often the singer, who has really written the material and it's good to sit down with two or three of us to pick the best takes.

      Now in a perfect world that would be the end of the recording/editing phase and I would then move on to mixing, and that would be it....but then there is reality.

      My issue at the moment, while working with 3 different album projects, is that I often have SO much time between these different phases or steps, that it's hard not to start making little tweaks to EQs and compressors on the drums between steps 2 and 3, or 3 and 4, or 5 and 6, etc. In the midst of all of this, there is also often sample replacement going on for most of the shells of the kit. I want so badly to not have to do that, but the reality is that I am working with local bands who often have poorly maintained kits and not at all the sense of dynamics consistent with the wonderful professional-grade recordings most of us enjoy on the radio.

      I guess my big question is;How do you keep yourself in check throughout ALL of that stuff when you are doing EVERYTHING yourself? I mean, as I track the other members past the drums, there's always minor adjustments to be made for them to hear themselves well for recording, but it's so tempting to just go ahead and highpass this, dip 300 out of that, knock back the heaviest hits on that drum, and oh, why not set up a buss compressor while I'm at it, lol.

      Do you set rules of engagement for each part of the process? Like tell yourself "I will not touch THIS until THAT is done"?

      Right now I have 18 separate songs at differing levels of completeness. Although I have successfully gotten through the first two steps of ALL of them, it is becoming increasingly difficult to not make little moves to what is already there before the rest gets tracked.

      Looking forward to hearing how anyone else deals with this. Thanks!

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