Are there things you’d like to be able to achieve but somewhat fail every time?
For me there certainly are. Obviously there are a ton of great mixes in older music that sounds great, partly because of all this beautiful vintage gear that few of us can afford so that’s not really relevant, but I’m talking more specifically about modern mixes.
I have this example: Moving On and Getting Over by John Mayer, which I believe was mixed by Manny Marroquin. In this song there is a specific warmth that I love but can’t seem to achieve myself. Of course a lot of this has to do with the performance and the recording, and the arrangement is pretty scarce so that makes it easier to enhance frequencies that would otherwise make the mix muddy. But the mix is awesome, right? It sounds really warm yet detailed and balanced, and it sounds dry but in a nice way (not bland).
What do you think produces this result?
Do you have other examples of mixes that you love and would like to be able to copy or inspire from?
You hit the nail on the head.if you listen to moving on and getting over did you notice there is no symbols in it? no trash going on .And dont forget these tracks are tracked bt the best in the business and i f you had these tracks to mix yourself i think you would be very surprised in the result. Another example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J161D6GuJ8c Same again no trash in there , Give me these tracks to mix and i think i would get very close to what you hear here .This stuff is really not that hard to mix,its all fast attack compression and saturation.If you listen to a lot of Mannys work it all sounds similar and he also gets to pick and chose what he mixes to stay with what he does best.In my opinion there is often nothing really special about the mixes its the tracks they have in the first place most of the time,and good songs .
I’d like to achieve a similar tight low end and fullsome low mids (without getting muddy) that Tchad Blake manages to achieve on stuff like the Black Keys’ “Brothers” & “El Camino” albums, and The Arctic Monkey’s “AM”.
The closest I’ve gotten so far was kind of a happy accident with this track:
The thing is, it’s not always a appropriate sound for every track, but it is certainly a challenge!
That is often the case, but not always. For example, The Black Keys “Brothers” album that I mentioned above, was apparently recorded in a very old school, simple way, with the band initially looking to have a very retro, lo-fi sound. That is how the tracks were recorded.
However, when it came to mixing, they gave it to Tchad Blake, and he took it in a completely different direction, augmenting the one-mic drums with huge sounding hip-hop influenced samples (which he reportedly placed all by hand!). He went big and wide and pretty hifi with his mixes, and the band loved the result so much, they pushed him to go even further in that direction… of course… he is Tchad Blake!
Yes that is definitely part of it (although I think the Sansamp distortion in particular may be more to do with the lo-mid thing)… but he has some multiband stuff going on too. I suspect that may be quite significant to the low end, but I’m yet to really get a handle on that.
The level of clarity, polish, expressiveness, and detail I’ve heard from Craig Bauer and Greg Wells. There’s no one specific mix - I look at the level of work as a whole. And spending a day in the studio with either of those guys can change your life.
Well I would love to be able to do the above as well. All good goals that i would love to achieve. I think the biggest thing that I want to achieve is an edge that snags peoples attention and brings them into a song without being offensive. As @ColdRoomStudio mentioned Tchad Blake and I would say that he someone who does that so well.
Yeah, I remember seeing this. I love the way Tchad is so matter-of-fact and down to earth: “I use a sample from Drumagog: “Techno 15” and “Techno #5” - Play around with that and get it to fit”. Simple!
What I’ve come to realize is that in comparison to my skill level, these guys are 95% finished before I have moved the first knob. They instinctively hear what needs to happen and have a facility with their tools that allows them to get past the preliminaries very quickly; this allows them to get to the creative phase very quickly.
It is a combination of great ears, experience, and an innate ability to know where to take a mix to put the focus where it needs to be.
There is a big difference between the ability to emulate a sound vs. creating one.