With the vast capabilities available to us in modern digital recording, its very easy to fall into the habit of having a fix it in the mix type of attitude. We might be tempted to think, ‘I’ll sort that out when I’m mixing’, if something doesn’t sound as good as it should do at the tracking stage.
The problem with trying to fix it in the mix
There’s one main problem with a fix it in the mix type attitude towards recording. It’s that when it comes to the mixing stage, you’re setting out with the wrong mentality towards the session. You should be aiming to take your nicely recorded tracks and using things like EQ to compliment them. Instead, you’re taking mediocre recordings and trying to improve and ‘fix’ them. This can really rob you of the chance to make a great mix.
Fix it at the time, don’t try to fix it in the mix
A far better way to work is to improve on things as soon as you see the opportunity to. If you can get a better sound by changing a mic’s placement at the recording stage, then do it. Don’t leave it until later to try and get that better sound by using EQ. If the timing is a little off, can the musicians go for another take and potentially give a better performance? That would mean you wouldn’t have to rely on editing the timing of the performance during mixing?
Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with using the vast editing capabilities that we have at our disposal. If you can’t get a better take during recording, then its great that we have the means to improve things during mixing. But if you could get a better take organically, wouldn’t that be better?
Don’t let a fix it in the mix attitude rob you of the chance to get a great sound
Unfortunately, each time we rely on being able to deal with something later, the overall quality gets a little weaker. All of these small imperfections that have been allowed to let slide during tracking might not seem significant at the time. But by the end of a recording session, all of these imperfections combine to make a fairly disappointing recording. What’s more, the mixing process will almost certainly take longer to complete when there is a large amount of editing, tuning and equalising to do just to try and get the track sounding acceptable. That’s before you can even think about ways to make it sound good.
Don’t rob yourself of the chance to get a great sound. Putting in the effort on the front end will make the mixing stage far easier, quicker, more natural and by far, more enjoyable. The end results will be much better too.
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