Chris Lord Alge mixing Muse guitars

Caught this on YouTube the other day - I loved the Tchad Blake video. Just something about seeing a master at work and seeing their hands moving at the same speed as their thoughts… Love this video and also love watching someone using analogue gear way faster than plugins! Prepare yourself for the clips of his rackmount gear - it’s pretty brutal to watch!

Interesting that he didn’t lowpass the DI sound, it was crying out for it to my ears - I wonder if he did it at a later point in the process.

The whole time this video was playing, I kind of forgot he was mixing Muse, but rather just how confident and comfortable he was with his choices. Just dialling back some frequencies, adjusting the levels, soloing stuff, and moving around that console like a superstar! I think what I’m finally beginning to realise is that like any other art form or pursuit, the goal is to achieve what you are hearing / seeing in your mind rather than following a pre-prescribed list of things.

Interesting, I didn’t see that happening. I saw CLA reacting to what he was hearing and dealing with what he judged to be issues. It didn’t appear to me at any time during the process that he was working towards any kind of goal other than to enhance what was already there by correcting it.

Watch as many videos of him working as you can. I had a giant thread of notes from when he spent a couple hours talking to the room at Gearfest several years ago. Too bad that damn server crashed.

His stuff comes pre-mixed and is usually already printed to his 48 track reel-to-reel before he even touches it. You’ll never see him editing or making corrective moves because his assistants have already taken care of that stuff.

Actually that’s what I was talking about, but from my own point of view. As a real beginner, I just question every EQ change, every compressor tweak, and level changes that I make. I’m doing it with all this “advice” I’ve amassed by listening to and watching tutorials. What I saw in the video was somebody just doing what needed to be done, but in that creative way that I aspire to

By ‘corrective’ I’m talking about EQ, compression - any kind of processing. The point I’m making is that he doesn’t appear to me to be working towards some kind of golden sound he has in his head, he’s reacting to what he hears, correcting anomalies to make it sound better.

This resonates with me because it’s the way I work too.

I wasn’t aware of anything creative at all going on. I saw someone who is clearly very good at spotting issues in a recording, and sorting each issue out quickly and efficiently, thus maximising the potential of each track. Kind of like a very good, efficient proofreader, but for sound.

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It might be worth your time and money to do a full subscription to MWTM for a year. I’m gonna pretty soon (as soon as I get my building set up).

If you get a lot of of watching CLA, some other guys you may want to pay attention to are Tony Maserati, Eric Valentine, Chris’ brother Tom Lord Alge (but its hard to find much material from him), and Tom Elmhirst. Dave Pensado too.

That’s the thing I am working towards - knowing what “better” actually is. I can compare it to the guitar, on which I’m really confident. I can play things in different ways, apply legato, vibrato, pick differently, use a different string to get that sound I want. I guess the video showed my I’ve got a very long way of actually listening to the quality of sounds, and know what sounds good and what doesn’t

Do you use a spectrum analyser? Just get rid of resonances and you’ll be 75% there.

In fact I just started to - as I said I’m a novice, and I’m kind of getting myself up to speed with what mixing actually is. Gonna get myself in front of my monitors and start listening to some great reference tracks!

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+a bunch for use of an analyzer. Voxengo SPAN is very useful (and free!), and I know AJ is a big fan of it. Another I use constantly is Blue Cat Audio’s FreqAnalyst Multi. Allows you to put up to sixteen tracks on one graph so you can see how they are all interacting. It’s not free, though, listing at US$99 when not on sale (but it shows up on AudioDeluxe for quite a bit less from time to time). For me personally, combining a visual analysis with what my ears are telling me is absolutely the way to go.

I really like CLA, his mixing style is very meticulous. I just wish he’d stop mixing hipster music.