What if I want my songs to sound a little bit better

What if I want my songs to sound a little bit better
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#1

I don’t not have the ability to make my songs shine. I can watch youtube all day, write down suggestions from this forum, but at 68, it’s just too much too fast. My question is, after I finish a song, with let’s say ten tracks, what would be a reasonable offer to someone you know is good at mixing?
I don’t know how long it would take such a person to actually hear problems and fix them? I don’t know how much money would be appropriate. Remember now, I don’t need them mastered. I just want them to sound better. They might jst be able to EQ some of the tracks (that I am very bad at) I was thinking at lets say $75 an hour, and maybe four hours of work, $300 a song? Ok, let me have it. What and insult right? All that money they have in equipment etc? But what if they are not busy at the moment? ha ha Now I suppose I have some folks pissed. Put yourself in my place. I have a ton of songs that I would like to pass on, and I can’t make them sound good. It’s kinda like I am rebuilding a car, did the engine, did all the body work, but my painting skills are just average. (not true, I can spray paint well) Is that what I want for a finished product? If I am out of line, tell me a number that would be inline for what I described.

sincerely

Paul


#2

$200-$300 usd is usually enough to get someone interested.

They can hear them right away. They can’t start fixing them until they’ve organized your session, and that in itself eats up time and resources. Actually fixing them…all depends. Just be available to answer a lot of questions if necessary :slight_smile: Most mixers can knock a track down in 2 days.

Don’t pay a mastering engineer unless there’s a clear and evident need to do so.

Your dollar figure is possible, but it will take them longer than 4 hours unless they’re leveraging interns for mix prep. Get them to commit on a flat rate.

I’ve actually had to outsource this before. Getting a general blend also had to do with compression, saturation, and printing through analog hardware. Its not just an eq job because glueing and mashing tracks is a function of more than EQ. If you intend to add automation and leveling after, make sure you communicate which plugins you have.

That isn’t the basis for what someone charges. After engineers meet a basic level of proficiency, their prices rise or fall based on their regional market and their reputation. It has nothing to do with their training, their education, their speed or their gear. Look at how recently someone placed a hit on the charts, and the number of hits they have charted in the past. Also look at the big names they have worked with.

If you want a certain engineers sound, but he’s not in your budget, find another one with a similar sound who is.

Another thing…if one engineer can’t hit your deadlines, or he’s too backed up, send it to 2 different mix engineers. Involve more than 2, and you may end up actually needing a mastering engineer.


#3

All I can tell you is what I would charge Paul - my normal studio rates, £12 ($16) per hour. I’m guessing it would probably take more than four hours, but with only 10 tracks it shouldn’t be too much more. Mastering is included as part of that deal. The rates you quote seem excessively high to me. As Jonathan suggests I sometimes commit to a flat rate per song based on the rates above, if it helps the client.


#4

It all depends on what you are expecting to get. If you want to hire a career mixer with a great facility, you can pay quite a bit. If you just need to find someone who knows how to mix and can do it from home, you can pay a lot less and still get a good product, but you do run the risk of getting junk when you get into that territory. Just make sure you choose who does it based on their work and you should be fine.

I’m assuming you don’t need CLA to mix your songs. I’d find someone who has a decent enough track record and see how much they charge.


#5

Holy hell! @feaker Paul, if you like AJ’s work, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better rate. If AJ can pull this off in 4 hours because of the simplicity of the session, that’s $64. Wow.


#6

Steady on old chap, I did say that it would probably take more than four hours. As I’m sure we all know, it depends on the content of those 10 tracks.


#7

Hi Paul,

I think Jonathan hit things spot on. You’re looking at $200-$300 for anyone with any kind of name or credibility to mix it, although you can sometimes find some really good guys that offer cheaper packages. You aren’t just paying for time with the more pricey guys, you pay for their experience as well. At 10 tracks though, they may cut you a break. I cut breaks depending on the shape of the material.

We also offer the services here, so if things don’t pan out with AJ or whoever else you go to, I have a few things here I can offer that may be of use to you in the future.

  1. Mix consultations: I do about 6-10 of these per week. You send me your best mix in wave format, I bring it into my editor and I rip it apart instrument at a time writing up a PDF document telling you what is wrong and how to fix it. I use charts, graphs, audio examples of your work and other stuff to show you what to listen for if need be…it’s a pretty in depth service. This not only helps you, but teaches you how to fix things.

  2. Video mix: Our video mix services are quite popular. You send us all your wave files of your project, we import them into our DAW and run video while narrating and showing what was wrong with your instruments, what we did to fix them, and everything is explained instrument at a time. You of course get the video in HD as well as a finished mix track. This isn’t cheap, but boy do you learn. Effects, compression use, frequency masking fixes, sound identification, retriggering or resampling sounds if they are really bad, all the stuff you want to see in a real studio as they mix and rip apart your song. And you keep the video which is made specifically for you! :slight_smile:

  3. We can mix it for you and you don’t have to do anything but listen and enjoy the results.

Prices vary per project, so I don’t really have set rates. I can give you ballpark prices, but hearing the material is what dictates how much. I don’t run a clock…I quote on the job as I have found that to be much more appealing to people as well as myself. I hope you remedy your issues and wish you luck. If you decide you need something we offer, please feel free to contact me.


#8

Just to be clear, I wasn’t touting for business, I was just trying to answer Paul’s questions as well as I could, based on my own knowledge and experience. It always helps to get as full a picture as possible before spending money.


#9

From what I’ve heard of your stuff, that seems very inexpensive. Give yourself a raise.


#10

That is a raise - it was £10 a month ago!


#11

Some folks love the whole production process, and have the patience and tenacity to see it through until the bitter end, but others find the last bit incredibly frustrating.

If the mix is the main thing holding the songs back from reaching their full potential, then it makes a lot of sense for a songwriter/musician to outsource the mixing duties to someone who has the know-how and experience.

As far as rates go - for the total price of the song, IMO, you are right in the ballpark for someone who is an accomplished mixer, but doesn’t have any notable track record or “name” in the industry. Where you’re a little optimistic is in the time it takes… Actually, make that a lot optimistic!

It usually takes me anywhere from 8 to 20 hours to mix a track, depending on the complexity and/or the editing work required of the raw multitracks. Some people probably mix a lot faster than that, but as I see it that roughly pretty much equates to the hourly rate AJ is charging to your total mix estimates.

From my listening to various podcasts about audio, I’ve gleaned that a big(ger) name mixer’s rates start around the $500 per song mark for the “known” cheaper, super fast guys, up to around $1000-$1500 per song for somewhat well-known guys.

Apparently rates have gone down a lot of recent times with a lot more competition and ITB mixing. The super top level guys like CLA, Pensado etc still command big $$$, of course, but even they will cut their rates for stuff they really love that isn’t major label-backed.


#12

Join a collaboration website, lots around:
Like this one:
http://www.musicianscollaboration.com/forum/index.php

They do all sorts of things.

If you have some lyrics someone could write music for them.
If you have a song idea or need a bass part, etc. lots of things going on.
One of things you can ask for is if you need mixing help.
Just working with different people and trying new things might help you develop your mixing skills.


#13

Before you read anything, I come in peace. :slight_smile: Just curious, and a little off topic. I know you mentioned complexity…but I’m really surprised that something can take you 20 hours?! I’m not being facetious…I’m really curious about this and would even offer to help you try to get that number down.

Is it something in your listening environment or are you having problems making decisions or questioning what you are hearing?

Man I could never run my business if a project took 20 hours. I’m honestly not trying to down you, just trying to understand why this may be happening? I’d also love to offer alternative work flows if you’d be open to hearing them if they would help you?

The rest of your post was spot on with “name” guys. I didn’t go there because most guys on forums these days that are hobbyists, won’t even entertain anything like that. A personal friend of mine is Beau Hill who has about 90 million+ sales with 80’s bands like Ratt, Europe, Alice Cooper, Winger, Dweezil Zappa. Beau is about $1000 per song the last we talked. I did an interview with him that I’ll share in another thread. Some good stuff.

Anyway…would love to see what we can do to get that 20 hours down. If I can’t do a mix in 8 hours tops, there’s usually something wrong. Thank God I’ve not had that happen in a very long time. The first song on an album can take a little time, but once you draw up the template, you just apply it to the rest of the songs and tweak accordingly. Hope you didn’t take my question the wrong way. :slight_smile:


#14

I don’t know where to start? So many great suggestions and options. Once again I have to play that I don’t know card. I see others copy a quote and then reply directly. That would be a help because by the time I read what a forum member says, and I get back to typing, I forget half of what was said. (you don’t understand that because you are young) I will try very soon to answer and thank all those who gave input. Been busy with installing a new water softener…cutting, splitting, and piling firewood after a wind storm…etc I hear so many so called average folks on this forum have some great sounding mixes, it makes me covet a bit :slight_smile: Good to know I will be able to take these songs up a couple notches. Thank you all

sincerely

Paul


#15

Paul, can you post a rough mix? Even if its a really rough mix? As in…like…levels up and go!

Theres quite a few of us that would probably have some good ideas to throw at you, but it would help us out a little to have some context at this point :smiley:


#16

Check BTR


#17

Yes, I would get fed up with it if it took eight hours, especially if it only has ten tracks. I guess it depends on whether we’re including editing - I can easily spend four hours editing, depending on the client. But again, with only ten tracks, there probably won’t be that much editing.


#18

So are the other tracks similar to this one?


#19

C[quote=“Danny_Danzi, post:13, topic:1505, full:true”]

Before you read anything, I come in peace. :slight_smile: Just curious, and a little off topic. I know you mentioned complexity…but I’m really surprised that something can take you 20 hours?! I’m not being facetious…I’m really curious about this and would even offer to help you try to get that number down.

Is it something in your listening environment or are you having problems making decisions or questioning what you are hearing?

Man I could never run my business if a project took 20 hours. I’m honestly not trying to down you, just trying to understand why this may be happening? I’d also love to offer alternative work flows if you’d be open to hearing them if they would help you?

The rest of your post was spot on with “name” guys. I didn’t go there because most guys on forums these days that are hobbyists, won’t even entertain anything like that. A personal friend of mine is Beau Hill who has about 90 million+ sales with 80’s bands like Ratt, Europe, Alice Cooper, Winger, Dweezil Zappa. Beau is about $1000 per song the last we talked. I did an interview with him that I’ll share in another thread. Some good stuff.

Anyway…would love to see what we can do to get that 20 hours down. If I can’t do a mix in 8 hours tops, there’s usually something wrong. Thank God I’ve not had that happen in a very long time. The first song on an album can take a little time, but once you draw up the template, you just apply it to the rest of the songs and tweak accordingly. Hope you didn’t take my question the wrong way. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

First of all Danny @Danny_Danzi … You keep talking to me like I’m a stranger… Just to remind you, I’m fHumble fHingaz from RR - I just changed my screen name, that’s all.

Secondly - thanks for the offer - much appreciated… And just to reassure you, I’m not taking this the wrong way - I know you’re a friendly and helpful dude from our many discussions back in the RR days.

Thirdly - That said, and this probably sounds a little defensive, but that is not my intention - I feel pretty awkward about having to explain why I take “so long” to do things. I know it probably wasn’t your intention to provoke that kind of emotion, but I have to be open and honest. It feels kind embarrassing, actually - not because I’m ashamed of the time I take or the results I get - but that speed of work is a BIG point of pride among many audio people…

If I’m a whimp in that regard, then so be it.

But, at the same time, having to explain myself feels a little bit like handing in a note to the teacher or something. At 48, I’m extremely sure of my own mind, & I’m well past that.

Nevertheless, perhaps because it might benefit the discussion, I will try to explain myself…

I put it down to this: I’m not a “fast” person when I do creative things. In fact, I have no desire to be. For me, it takes the pleasure out of doing creative work. This is a deliberate choice on my part… I realise this may sound strange to you, or even to most people, but bear with me…

I was (and am) a precociously gifted visual artist. I could draw with three dimensional realism, shading and perspective at an age when most kids have difficulty drawing a stick figure. From the time I could hold a pencil until I left school, I drew constantly for pleasure and relaxation. Then I started to work at a day job where my artistic skills were part of what I did each day. From that point on, I stopped drawing for pleasure - it no longer held the allure and escape it provided me when it was not assciated with work.

I now work all day in an industry that requires us to work faster and faster for less money. I’ve been working in that industry for over 30 years. We have been working with computers since 1986, and I have been using computer programs for artwork design since then, so I’m very familiar with the correlation between workflow, speed and productivity. I honestly have no desire to come home and work on things for pleasure that put me in the same “faster, faster, more, more” mindset.

I don’t run my studio as a business, full time, and I doubt whether that would ever happen at my age. I see it as more of a hobby that rewards me with a little bit of money to perpetuate it, and that brings me a great deal of satisfaction.

Regarding your questions about decisions: No, I don’t have any problems making decisions. Due to my line of work, I’m used to, & very experienced at making creative decisions and decisions of balance and proportion. That kind of experience transfers very well from the visual world to audio. My mixing environment is as accurate as possible for me in my circumstances - I’ve tested it to my satisfaction, so I don’t second-guess myself. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but that is the honest truth.

When I speak about 20 hours to mix a song, I’m including all the time editing timing, tuning etc etc. Some songs take a lot of prep before you even get to mix - Some songs you can get to work straight away. I’m including all of that time.

You mentioned that I was accurate with my estimates of Pro rates. As I said, that’s because I listen carefully to a lot of Podcasts and interviews on the subject. With that in mind, one of the other things that listening to these interviews revealed to me is that, while I’m definitely not on the fast end of the scale when it comes to mixing, I’m by no means the only person who takes my time. Many professionals mention figures of a day, a day and a half to mix. In many cases, that excludes mix prep, which is often done by an assistant.

All in all, taking an average of the professional mix community, I’m pretty satisfied with where I’m at speed-wise, especially considering the fact that I don’t do this full time.

My goal in mentioning the time it takes me in the first place was to raise awareness of the fact that a lot of work is involved in getting a mix that approaches professional results. In most cases, it isn’t just 3 or 4 hours from “go” to “woah”.

To sum up: I think we look at this thing from very different perspectives, and our goals are different. My goal is to take myself away from the pressure to perform artistically and make money in very tight time constraints. Understandably, your goal is to get to the destination as fast as possible. On the other hand, mine is to enjoy the journey.

I hope that answers your questions… & I too come in peace :grinning:

But this is not about me… Sorry to go off-topic @feaker Paul - back to the subject at hand.


#20

Hi Jonathan This happens to be a rock song. I do many ballads…weird stuff…and a couple country. I usually have a couple guitar tracks left and right. Maybe another guitar track with accents. Bass. Usually three or four vocals depending on how many harmony parts. Then EZ drummer or a studio one drum loop thangy. I don’t have any midi except of course the drums. I usually just pick out canned studio one EQ, compression (male vox 1), reverb (something like catherdral) I guess I am over answering your question. Yes

Sincerely

Paul