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Choosing Your Mix Engineer

Updated: Jan 20

You worked hard on your music, and recording can be a difficult and emotional process as well as one of the most amazing things ever - creating a brand new piece of art that will, hopefully - be around forever! There is nothing like the feeling of sharing that with others, also - it’s part of you as an artist.

mixing console

Let's say the dust has settled, the song is recorded everything’s finished, and now it’s time to mix. Maybe you recorded in a nice recording studio, a project studio, or perhaps even yourself at home like many people do these days. Yes, there are a million YouTube tutorials, courses, Facebook groups and other resources to help you to learn to mix ( it’s fun!) but there is only one way to get really good - and that is to actually mix constantly. And these days being good is just not enough. You need to be great, as there is more music released than ever, and honestly, most of it sounds at best … average and usually - worse. Most things can even sound semi-good ...until you compare them to a commercial release, and then it's game over. You need to stand out.

This is when it's decision time. Do you have time to get great as a technician, or do you want to work on being a great artist? As an artist, you probably have a dozen things to do. Songs to write, rehearsals to attend, gigs to book, Social media to update, shows to play, PR to chase, the list is endless. That’s why pretty much every successful artist works with professionals to get the job done.

Meanwhile, someone like me is mixing every day, all day concentrating on one thing - making great-sounding tracks for people just like you. It’s my passion, and my entire reputation depends on how good a job I do for you. My success is based entirely on your success - and that’s how your potential mix engineer should be thinking.

So many choices

There are also hundreds of people on the internet advertising mixing services, as let’s face it, these days - all you need is a computer, monitors, an interface and off you go! Well, yes… and no.

That’s why when you choose a music mixer for your project you should do a little research. First - what have they done? You are more likely to be successful with someone who has already proved that they can mix successful records. Anyone learning audio engineering can download multitracks from the net and make a portfolio ( you can download Bohemian Rhapsody if you want…but did Queen *really* hire you?) and what have they done that has been released? Check their portfolio first. You can be good - but still not fit!

Do they fit with your style? It’s all very well being great at heavy metal but do you really want a metal guy mixing your Americana project? Now, in the old days of working in studios, we DID work on many many genres and styles as it was our job to work on whatever came through the door, but it’s less likely that most people these days have that experience. If it’s a bigger project like an album it may even perhaps be worth asking to mix one song, or ask for a test mix before you commit to doing your whole record. Many people will do that for you if you ask - including me.

What about the process? Can they communicate with you effectively? Do they have a system or process to handle revisions? Music is art, and in this case YOUR art, so you want someone who will work with you to achieve your vision. There’s a lot of ego involved sometimes, but a great engineer understands it’s YOUR music, and they are there to serve your needs as well as provide excellent skills, and ideally, constructive input to make something better than you would have on your own - and that is the whole reason to hire someone.

Hiring the right mix engineer for your project can be a great tool to make your music the best it can be, and save you time, and even money - often far more affordable than you imagined. The bottom line is can you afford for your music to be released and sound average, or even worse not ever released perhaps because you believed wasn’t quite there?

Invest the time in finding the right partner for your project and reap the rewards. In the meantime, happy music-making and I wish you all the success in the world.

If you think you'd like to work with me, feel free to reach out anytime!

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