Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being Prepared 101

Last week our local Recording Academy (NARAS, Atlanta) held a "Meet and Greet". The purpose was to give our student and non-voting members a chance to meet the people who are on the board, voting members and other industry folks, as well as to get new-comers interested in joining. I drove down there with another producer friend of mine, Dan Hannon. Now Dan's a real straight shooter and he is going to tell you exactly what he thinks. At one point during this event I walked up to him as he was talking to some youngster and heard him say "Well that's 2 strikes against you! First you don't have a cd of your music. Second you don't have a business card and there is going to be a third if I don't have a drink in my hand in 2 minutes!" He was only kidding about the drink, but his experience was not uncommon. We talked about it on the drive back and we'd both noticed that there was not one single person there (that we'd talked to) who had their music on a cd or flash drive. Only a few had business cards, and almost all of them tried to get us to memorize their myspace address! This is something I've been noticing more and more the last couple of years. I get cd's sent to me with NOTHING written on them! I've had people hand me cd's at shows with NOTHING written on them! Are you kidding? One of the most basic rules I was taught as I came up in the business was that you always had your music with you and you put your name and contact info on EVERYTHING! Be prepared!

Now let me tell you about Ricky. Ricky is 8 years old. I first met him a couple of months ago at one of my son's birthdays parties that we had at my studio. I had all the kids in there wearing headphones and banging out some crazy music. After they had finished with that Ricky came up to me and said he wanted to record a new song on piano. I hooked up my midi keyboard and he played out a couple of A and B sections, not too bad actually. I thought it would end there, but no, he then wanted to add a bass. I got him a bass sound on the keys and he laid that down. Next he wanted drums and strings. After those were done he wanted to start editing and had very specific ideas about when certain instruments should come in and out. I asked him what the song was and he said it was his version of a live version of a remix by Daft Punk. He then went on to describe how he gets tracks off the internet, puts them in Garage Band and does remixes. Pretty cool. I've been told he has a blog going as well.

This last Sunday I had another birthday party for 2 of my other boys and Ricky was there. I asked him if he had done any new songs. He said yes. And before I could ask him to email it to me or ask where I could hear it he told me "I have it in my pocket!" He then pulls out his iPod, hands me the head phones and says "Tell me if it's too loud". Now talk about prepared! This 8 year old was more prepared than those 'producers' at the NARAS event of the previous week!

I don't think he was thinking that he might run into someone in the music industry that he might want to play music for. He was just keeping what he loves and is passionate about close by. If you're not that prepared and that passionate about music, then you shouldn't be doing it for anything more than a hobby.

Be prepared.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Audio Hallucinations

Audio Hallucinations

25 years ago I ran sound for bands on the road. I cut my teeth in audio during those couple of years. Once I dealt with the obvious problems that every live mixing engineer deals with, my biggest problem was typically the club owner/manager. There were the usual complaints about volume, but often the owner would have suggestions about my mix. I would always consider the suggestion first, but often they were just plain wrong. In those situations discussion is not an option, so I started to keep a few idle faders pushed most of the way up so I could make a show of lowering them for the owner. Every time I did this the owner would be very happy, convinced that his change had been made.

Years later when I started mixing and producing major label work I would often get input from an A&R or even the label head on a lot things, but mostly the mix. I know these guys want to feel involved and have some sort of creative input, but the fact is that usually it was just plain bad input. Once again argument and discussion will get you no where except not getting hired again. So what did I do? Just sent them the same mix again and thank them for their input. They would hear it and give me the thumbs up convinced that the changes had been made.

It’s funny how people can be convinced about changes in sound and how much we imagine that what we are hearing is changed or better or different. But can we fool ourselves?

Cut to last night. I’m mixing something and I want to automate the echo send on the vocals in this one section of a verse. Somehow I screwed up and ended up adjusting the volume automation instead of the send automation. Listening to that section several times I really thought that the 2 db boost I thought I was giving to the echo was just what it needed! Ha Ha! What I was really hearing was the vocal getting louder (and a little more echo because as I usually do my send is post-fader). Louder always sounds better. It took me a few minutes to catch what I did and not until I had done something else and come back. I’ve even had situations where I’m just tired and pushing myself and I grab the wrong EQ and start turning stuff, convinced I was doing something to the track I was targeting. Yet all I’m really hearing is something being EQ’d and my ear/brain fools me into thinking it is happening to the track I think I’m on.

I call this Audio Hallucinations. We all have them from time to time. Take master clocks for example. For a while it was the rage (Audio Fashion) amongst the producers and mixers I was in touch with to get one for your rig. I bought 2 different high priced models for my 2 main rigs based on suggestions from other engineers who said that using a particular model would be “night and day” compared to not using one. At first I thought it was making a difference. I had to! I'd just spent a good deal of money on these things! But after much A/B testing, changing word clock cables (I actually witnessed a heated discussion between 2 fairly successful engineers over the difference in tone your word clock cable makes!), re-checking the manual and phone calls to the manufacturer to make sure I was connecting and using it right I came to the conclusion that any difference it was making was so small that I frankly just couldn’t hear it. I’ve kept the one master clock in my A Room because it has a lot of pretty lights and it makes my clients feel like I’ve gone the extra distance, but it really is smoke and mirrors. I was at an industry function last night and and related my master clock story to several engineers in attendance and every one of them laughed and agreed. They had the same experience!
One of the engineers went on to describe an experience at a gear shoot out he'd been to at a major studio here in ATL. The guys that were doing the shoot out were interested in finding out how people were influenced by what they heard and how they made decisions in choosing what ‘sounded’ better. They found that when A/B’ing 2 pieces of gear or 2 microphones that if one was louder then the other by even .5 db that almost everyone would just choose the louder one. And these were all established engineers!

We all can get so caught up in sound and what we believe ‘sounds better’. We obsess over the smallest tweaks yet we lose sight of the most important thing. The one thing that you cannot fool yourself or anyone else into thinking is good. And that is the MUSIC and the VIBE.

Years ago when I started doing more hard rock stuff I had an artist that I was developing who had some great songs and a voice that just caught peoples attention. We had no decent amps or guitars. All the songs were recorded with a cheap Crate amp, played on a fake Les Paul and mic’d thru my Soundcraft Ghost console. We really struggled to get it even listenable. I was convinced that I had done at best a mediocre job on the songs. But when we played the stuff for people everyone went crazy over it. I was told that it sounded amazing and the mixes were great. But what they were really responding to was the good songs, the great vibe we had and his voice. I still put those songs on my mixer/producer reels and I’ve gotten work from those songs specifically! I have a couple of other songs that I used to put on the reels from another band I did 3 years ago that I KNOW I nailed the sound on. Truly the best drum and guitar sounds I’ve ever gotten. Probably some of the best mixes I’ve ever done. All the audio components came together perfectly. But the band was in a weird funk and the songs were weak. I stopped putting the songs on the reel because I actually got negative comments on them.

I know I’m going to get emails from engineers saying that tweaking IS what they do for a career. That those minute tweaks and differences is what makes their specialization valuable. Yes that is true, but people are buying music, emotion- the soundtrack of their lives.

I just think the subject is interesting, funny and informative. Anyone have any good Audio Hallucination stories?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Magic Pipe

Here's a quick clip of a current project. The sound is a bit over powered by his triggers, but this gives you an idea how his instrument is set up. He (he goes by the name That One Guy) invented this instrument, which he calls The Magic Pipe. It plays like a stand-up bass but also employs triggers. He is playing additional drum sounds with foot pedals.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Notes On Recording Live Drums

I’ve been recording drums all weekend for an artist named Christian Lewis. Really good stuff. I think I got some of the best drum recordings I’ve ever gotten here in my studio, The Zone. I get a lot of compliments on my drum sounds so here are a few notes on what I did:

(I'm not going to get into head tensions / tuning and drum heads. That is a whole other subject)
I started by mic'ing up the drummer Andrew Faletti’s kit, and recorded some short clips for him to hear. After he approved the drum sounds we had, I started replacing his drums with mine- starting with my Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum. This model of snare drum has been called “The most recorded snare drum in history”. I don’t doubt it. Almost every time I compare this snare with whatever my clients bring in, the difference is obvious. I mic’d the top with a Shure SM57. I have a couple that I always use for snare as the SM57 can be a very inconsistent model of microphone: they all sound a little different. When using this mic it is good to try a few (if you have more than one) and pick the best one (I write on the side of the mic with a sharpie after I find one I like for the application I’m using it for). The mic was placed about 2 inches or so above the rim of the snare pointing down to just off center on the head (where Andrew was hitting the drum. I ran that mic into an API 512C and then an API 550b EQ which was eq’d at 10K + 4db and 8K +2db. From there I ran it into an Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor compressor at a 4:1 ratio, slow attack, quick release and 4 or 5db of gain reduction and then into my AD interface.
I usually mic the bottom of the snare with an AKG C 414 B which works great, but I wanted a little more snap, so this time I used something I’ve never used for mic'ing a snare: a Josephson C24, which I ran into an API 512C (remember... flip the phase on bottom mics) and then ran into another Distressor with the same settings as the top snare mic’s Distressor. The bottom mic was set at the same angle and distance from the bottom head of the drum as the top mic was from the top head.

With the toms I started by using my toms, which are Bearing Edge drums. These are some of the best drums I’ve ever heard. I mic'ed the toms with Sennheiser MD 421s which I ran into my Soundcraft Ghost console (a pretty good sounding board for the money). I usually pull some low mids out and boost a little highs and then some lows in that unique sweet spot for each tom (using a narrow bandwidth. The tom mics are about 3 to 4 inches above the heads, at a 45 degree angle to the head and pointing to where the drummer strikes the head.

The kick drum was the drummer's AHA Custom kick which is made here in Gainesville Georgia. On the kick drum I mic’d the inside with an AKG D112. I keep the mic almost centered inside the drum, with the mic pointing right at the point where the beater from the kick pedal is hitting on the other side of the head. That mic is run into an API 512C and then into an API 560 graphic EQ with 500hz pulled all the way down and a boost at 125hz and 4K. The outside of the kick drum was mic'd with something a lot of engineers call a Sub kick, which (in my version at least) is just a speaker hung on a couple of cables suspended in front of the kick, and wired to a XLR plug (a speaker in reverse, and mine is still low-impedance). This works better than any mic I’ve ever used. You can buy a factory version of this - the Yamaha Subkick, but having used their version I have to say mine gets better lows. I think the lack of a shell and all that housing lets it breathe more. It was placed about 6 inches (tho I've often placed further out) from the head and off center. The sub kick I ran into a Chandler Limited Germanium with the “Thick” button in. (I gotta thank Producer Matt Goldman for the suggestion that I get one of these. Matt knows a lot about gear).

On my overheads I used a pair of Earthworks TC30Ks. These are omni-directional microphones. I’ve tried so many mics for overheads, but something makes me keep coming back to these. They just make everything sound soooo big! I also like the way I get better coverage on the cymbals this way. With directional mics I always feel like there is one crash cymbal that isn’t as loud as the others. I placed my overheads about one drumstick height or so above the cymbals. I also make sure that they are over the edge of the cymbal and on the axis of the cymbal's rotation when they are struck (meaning that when the cymbal is pivoting or swinging after being hit, the mic is over the part that isn't moving up and down. That would be 90 degrees around the edge of the cymbal from the spot they are being struck. This gives a smoother sound).

One of the biggest parts of the sound is my room mic. What I’ve been doing lately is putting an AKG C 414 B straight over the snare drum up about 9 feet and run that into my Ghost console. Then I turn up the gain on the top of the channel until the red overload light is on. Then I turn it more right up until the distortion is crazy, then I dial back just a bit. I might EQ it, bit not always. (check phase!) This track gets gated and is keyed off the snare. Just a tiny bit of this in the mix will give the drums a very muscular sound and make the snare sound like you added a few inches of depth to the shell.

I used a couple of spot mics as well. One Josephson C24 on the high hat and a shure SM57 on the ride. I don’t always use them in the mix, but I get them just in case.

Here are a couple of clips I made from the session. These are the raw tracks just after we recorded:

You might notice from the sound clips that the drums are very ‘ringy’ and live sounding. I rarely muffle the heads and when I do it is very little. Many engineers will get a little freaked out by all the ring and over tones they hear as they are getting the drums dialed in, and start to muffle the drums. The problem is that by the time you add a lot of other instruments to the production your drums will actually start to sound small and thin, so you'll then start reaching for reverbs and other tricks to make your drums big again. If you just let the drums ring a bit you’ll find that you need less or no reverb in the mix.

And finally, a good drummer and good drums cannot be overlooked and in fact are the biggest part of the equation. I've had drums set up in the studio and put a different drummmer on the kit to have it sound like a whole different kit.

Well that’s about it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Filtering vocals - High Pass and Low Pass

(This is an embellishment on a post I did on gearslutz.com)

Like many engineers, I put a High Pass filter on my vocals when I’m mixing. Usually from 100hz to 150hz. (A little higher with female vocals.)
I do this because for the most part there really isn’t much down there that is useful or going to be heard in the mix (before I get any haters, let me say that if I were mixing a vocal and acoustic guitar only or a solo vocal than maybe I might approach this differently. I am mostly talking about dense mixes and production).

I do the filtering pre-compression so that any low frequencies won’t pump the compressor. This filtering will really clear up the mix a lot. For that matter I do a lot of high pass filtering on other sounds too, because low end is weird in that a tiny tiny amount of it can really screw up a mix. Even stuff you can’t hear will mess with a mix.

But here is something else I do that I think is a little unusual: I often put a low pass filter on vocals as well, most of the time using a McDSP plugin called Filterbank (F2 configuration).

I usually do this on backing vocals or on ‘adlib’ tracks in hip hop. Usually I’m taking out everything above 10khz and even as low down as 6.5khz.
I’ve found that sometimes the vocals just get so harsh and I’m putting de-essers on all the vocals, so might as well take a short cut. It’s also because so many times when I’m mixing for clients it sounds like all the vocals were recorded using the same mic with the same settings. It’s kinda hard to to get a good blend sometimes when all the vocal stacks sound the same.

I read an article about how Michael Jackson recorded his vocals. He would do his leads on a condenser mic and back-ups or stacks on a dynamic (in the article they said a Sure SM7). I think the point is to switch up the source; it gives a bigger sound. So when I’m mixing I’m trying to achieve the same thing with the tracks that are sent to me.

Here’s something else I noticed while mixing. I would often get a nice natural sounding vocal and then in one part of the song want to get that 'telephone' filtered effect. I would always be surprised that after doing that that the natural sounding vocal just sounded boring. It made me start filtering the lows out of my vocals more and being a little more extreme in my approach. I also sometimes go halfway into that telephone type sound for my leads, even boosting the mid-range on my vocals. Remember, all sound systems sound different and you can never really be sure how your mix is gonna sound. But you can be sure that all sound systems do have mid-range and your vocals will be heard there if you treat mid-range as your friend.

I hope this helps.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Identity Crisis

I’ve been thinking lately about identity. More specifically, an artist's identity or lack thereof. I think many artists have an identity crisis going on and they don’t even know it. What they think they are is often what they are not. And this is very important when we are all trying to be on the same page as far as production and mixing goes, because it all eventually ends up in how you are marketing your music. This is one of THE biggest problems I run into with new artists.

Let me use some examples to illustrate:
I had a band a few years ago that I needed to produce a few songs for. On their rough demo cd there was this one song they'd added as an afterthought that was actually the best song in the batch. It was a mid-tempo rock ballad. Out of the 4 songs we ended up recording, that song came out the best and got the band a lot of attention. Everyone I sent it to lost their minds (even to this day if that song is on a producer reel I give someone, the first question from the listener is “Who is that?”). At the time we did these songs Creed had kind of dropped of the charts and Nickelback hadn’t hit yet. I explained to the band that there was a hole in popular music for that big ‘fake’ metal rock stuff (I didn’t quite use those terms with them but that IS what it is) and that they could fill it. They had the sound, the singer had the voice, the timing was right and the interest was there.

The problem was that the band thought of themselves as a technical rock band more along the lines of System of a Down. They had NO songs that came close to sounding like that, and the few that were technical were very weak in the actual songwriting department and weren’t even interesting in the technical department either. (The singer had some pipes, but the musicianship was very weak - another misconception in the band). What they did really well and what they sounded like was the big Creed/Nickelback thing. I couldn’t convince them to do more songs like that, and in spite of the attention the ballad was getting they wouldn’t even play it at all of the gigs! Needless to say they toiled for a few more years, actually got an indie deal and recorded another album of misdirected songs (without using any producer) and they went nowhere.

Sometimes a band needs to step away from their egos and realistically look back on what they are doing, question their assumptions about themselves AND listen to the advice of their elders.

Here is another example: I was mixing for a band and the music was kind of a pop/rock mishmash. Not recorded or produced very well, which always makes mixing so much harder. They kept bugging me to put weird effects on things that seemed incredibly inappropriate for the songs and was making everything sound worse and ridiculous. I kept asking them to explain what they were going for and was told “We want to sound like the Beatles”. Man.... how could they be more off? I had to explain that I was not a magician. If they wanted to sound like the Beatles they needed to write songs that sounded like the Beatles first, and then record and produce songs as well as the Beatles did. How could they have gotten all the way to mixing and not realized this?

More recently I was at a rehearsal for a band I’ll be working with soon that has a very powerful modern commercial rock sound. They're a very good band, have great songs and the singer can belt (very Jeff Buckley-like). During a break the singer says he wants the drums to sound very garage band or maybe like Hendrix or Led Zeppelin and explains that he has spent a lot of time playing blues and old school rock. Now I LOVE those bands, but what he doesn’t recognize is that he has grown up in the modern age and IS a product of now. I think what he really wants to do is pay homage to the legends, which is honorable, but not a true representation of what he actually IS.

This project is in it’s early stages and I have yet to see what will happen. It is very difficult to make young artists see that what they grew up listening to and dreaming about becoming is not usually realistic because the times, sounds and music business have changed and, most importantly, you must find your own voice, your true voice, to speak through.
- Do you really know what you’re best at?
- Can you accurately identify the things that are connecting with your listeners?
- Are you trying to be your favorite band from your childhood or are you trying to be what you should sound like in 3 years?

Be honest with yourself. I’m not saying don't reach and stretch who you are, but do sit back and try to be objective. Be real about the things that ARE working and have worked. Stick with what you are good at.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mix Compression: Two Approaches

I was on gearslutz.com and came across a very heated discussion about mixing compression on the mix bus. Someone had made a comment about not using it and it went on and on about whether you should, how you should use it, what gear or plugins you should use, and so on. I really don’t want to get into all that right now, but I will re-post what I posted on gearslutz here:

There is no one answer to whether you should use compression on your mix buss or not. Everyone has a different approach and I have gone through my own phases where I did or didn’t compress the mix. (Presently I’m off it, but I do happily compress about everything else and I’m using a slight limiter on the mix.)

I once had the honor of moderating a panel for NARAS that had Brendan O'Brien and Jimmy Douglass on it. What a treat! I threw away the questions that had been prepared for me and asked all the things I had heard rumors about and wondered myself for years. One of these was about mix compression. When asked what each of them used on their mixes Jimmy's answer was "None", Brendan's was "YES! Lots! Sometimes 2 or 3 compressors in a row".

Now I think this shows a fault in how people ask these kind of questions- or rather, the results they hope to achieve. They want to find an answer or technique that they can just plug in to their current routine to get the same results as the one that they are getting the advice from. But it is totally out of context. Whatever Jimmy is doing in other parts of his mix means he doesn't need to use comp on the buss. Brendan on the other hand is working towards using that, and I'll bet is running some sort of compression from the start.

Mixing (and production) is like cooking. There are lots of ingredients that must be added at the right time, in the right order, in the right amounts to get the right results. Yet strangely it might come out differently the next time. And someone else might cook something equally as good, but take a different route.

* * *
A few other interesting notes from that panel:
I asked both of them how long they spent mixing a song. Jimmy: 2 or 3 days. Brendan: 5 to 6 hours.
Was it true that Brendan uses the same bass guitar that he’s had for years with the same original strings on every song? (this based on a rumor I’ve heard around Atlanta from a few people) “No!”, he laughed. While he does have a favorite bass and the strings might be old (he didn’t really know when they’d been changed, so they are probably old) he doesn’t use it on everything, just when appropriate. Again, think of the context. I’ll bet there are several rock producers who heard this rumor and stopped changing their bass strings.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Learning How to Mix

How did I learn how to mix?

Man, I can’t really say. I’ve been doing it so long and have tried so many approaches- I've had a few work out great and had an incredible number of failures. I’ve read books & magazines, I've harassed older engineers. I’ve mixed loud, quiet, with headphones, on state of the art speakers and on cheap stereo speakers. I’m still learning and still frustrated with the outcome a lot of the time. But the one thing I’ve done that made the biggest difference was to train myself to listen. And one of the best ways to do that is by comparing your mix to a great mix of a hit song that you are familiar with. Here is how you do that:

Take your stereo returns of the mix you are doing and the stereo return from a cd player (or your computer output if you can play cd’s from it independently of your Protools/Logic/DAW output), and put them side by side on your mixer. Go back and forth between your CD and your mix and check the levels on your mixer so that they are the same. Have your mixing un-muted and the CD channels muted. Now, as you are listening to your mix put your fingers of one hand over the mute buttons on your mix and your fingers of your other hand over the mute buttons of the CD channels and press at the same time, quickly switching between your mix and the mix of the hit song. Now the differences will really jump out! Your goal is to make your mix sound like the other. Just try copying it.... I dare you. It is harder than you think. Keep in mind that it helps if the songs are of a similar type, vibe, tempo and so on. The bass is very important, too- If your mix has a lot of short and fast bass notes, but the mix you are comparing to has really long notes, you will never match up because of how bass reacts in the mix, on your speakers and in the room (this is a whole other subject to be covered in my workshops or lessons).

When I first started doing this it nearly drove me crazy. I could hear that my mix didn’t sound as good but I couldn’t place my finger on what the problem was. I had to start removing elements from my mix one at a time and see how that changed the comparison process. After doing this for years I trained my ears to hear things I could never hear before.

Here are two other techniques you can use by applying the same process:
1. Compare two mixes of two different hit songs against each other.
This requires two CD players. You will be amazed by how different the mixes will be sometimes. This is because mixing is not just a science- it is also an art. And a good mixer takes many aspects into account to get a good mix. Mixing is not just about sound but about emotion, and that has to be shown in the spotlight.
2. Use the comparison process to define ranges.
Years ago I pretty much just mixed rock music, which is much more challenging to mix than urban stuff (for me at least). I was always concerned about my low end, how loud the vocals were and how much mid-range I had in the mix. What I did was use 2 songs that were somewhat current to compare to. One was the Goo Goo Dolls song Iris mixed by Jack Joseph Puig. The other was The Verve and their songs Bitter Sweet Symphony and Lucky Man (or anything else off that amazing album) mixed by Christopher Marc Potter. I noticed from comparing them that the Goo Goo Dolls had a tremendous low end, a scooped mid-range and a somewhat lower vocal level. The Verve mixes tended to have way more mid-range and the vocals were mixed a bit louder. So I would do my mix and then make sure that my mixes had no more low end than the Goo Goo Dolls and that the vocals were as loud or louder than theirs. I would then make sure that my mixes were no more mid-rangy than the Verve mixes and that my vocals were no louder than theirs.

Of course then it was out to the car test, the hallway test and so on.

This is just one of many techniques you can use to train your ears and improve your mixing. I hope this helps some of you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vistoso Bosses- new video

Here's a project I'm working on- Vistoso Bosses, the song is "Delirious". These ladies are terrific, check them out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Mixing Doesn't Matter

I surprise clients sometimes with my attitude about mixing in that I think it is one of the least important parts of the project. Now don’t get me wrong, I will spend forever on a mix and tweak till the wee hours of the morning. But what’s often overlooked in the process is the song. A great mix does not make a great song.

I had a client in here that truly was the biggest pain I’ve EVER had in terms of mix revisions. Normally when I do a mix I will send the client an mp3 for every revision. Most of the time it never goes beyond 3 or 4. On this particular mix I had 20! And the tweaks involve minute changes to nearly inaudible sounds that frankly don’t matter because you can barely hear them and the song SUCKED! (When I am producing you are certainly going to get my input on the quality of the song. But in my role as a mixer I usually keep that to myself). What gets me is how obviously bad this song is in terms of lyrics, style, performance I mean everything. And these guys just can’t see what is so clear to everyone else. The mix at this point sounds great, but it won’t make a difference.

I mixed “Party Like A Rockstar” in 4 hours including recording the guitar part. It isn’t one of my better mixes for sure. I would have spent more time on it, but the song literally blew up in a matter of days and the label decided to just keep running with it. But it didn’t matter that the mix was so-so. The song was a hit!

I spent several days mixing “Throw Some D’s” and had countless revisions over a several month period. I thought Polow was being a little picky about a few minor things. But then Polow is a great producer and he makes hits. This was a situation where some of the changes he made later in the process did make a difference in the outcome and we would never have gotten there if Polow hadn’t been tweaking like crazy.

My point of all this is make sure your song is actually good before you invest so much time and money in it. Test it on people at clubs, performances, at work... anywhere. Be honest with yourself about your work.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It begins

Attention mixers, producers, engineers and other music professionals:

The Zone Recording Studios of Atlanta and Radiator Records are pleased to announce a new series of mixing, production and recording workshops by Billy Hume! Billy Hume has been building experience in the music business since 1977, first as a musician and later adding recording, production and mixing to his formidable list of talents. His personal studio The Zone was founded in the late 80s, and Billy Hume has used it as his secret headquarters ever since, quietly turning out some of the best sonic work available in the Southeast. For more information, check out his discography ( http://www.visualcv.com/billyhume ). Known and respected throughout the music industry, he has been asked time and again for help learning and troubleshooting from other music professionals. In order to meet this demand, Billy Hume has created these private workshops.

The work shops are designed to teach practical mixing, recording and production techniques that can be used by anyone, whether they are in a large professional studio or a home studio- though the emphasis will be on home-based studios as Billy Hume has made his career out of mixing and producing hit songs from his personal home studio. These workshops are NOT about teaching how to use a particular type of software, but about practices that can be applied to any situation. Each workshop will be 8 hours in length with a 45 min break in the middle and will be conducted at The Zone Recording Studios, just North of Atlanta, GA.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thank You

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