Why mix

Written to a friend who doesn’t like song mixing:


Now, re the au natural thang, here’s my thoughts:

I’m big on the rawness and spontaneity of the performance, less of it on the delivery medium.
The reason is, recordings themselves (vs. performance) are so much more artificial.
Stereo izza artificial construct; inna solo recording, there’s only one guitar, heard with two ears inna room.
The guitar on a stereo recording, then, is intended to heighten the the effect of that guitar, thru enhancers like delays, reverb, chorus, etc.  The recording tries to put you in the room with the soloist, by making the solo recording hyper-real.  It’s like, you don’t get the smell and the breezes and the echo and the visuals and the uncertainess and tension of the live erformance with the recording, so the recording has to give ya more than just the documentation of the performance.

A recording of a full-on rock song with vocals almost must have compression on the voc to get it audible in the mix; limiting is often essential onna two mix to keep the loud quiet enuff, and the quiet loud enuff.  EQ, panning, etc. are used to increase the discerniblity of parts, clarify the movements of melody, exaggerate the groove, control the uncontrolled excitement of the drummer’s bashing or the bassist’s popping or the singer’s scream or the lead guitarist’s lead channel, etc.

The recording is related to, but is truly a separate piece of art, different than the performance (unless you are doing a straight live recording, which is still, especially onna commercial level, “sweetened”).

The mix then, to me, is part of the performance that results in the recording, over and above the actual wielding of instruments and voice.


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