Mix Notes with Mixerman

Mix Notes with Mixerman

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As most of you already know, last month I ran a successful Indiegogo campaign for a new book called Mixerman Musician’s Guide to a Killer Record. About halfway through the campaign, I was contacted by a band located in Nashville who wished to purchase the $1000 perk in exchange for some mix notes on their album. One band member Jon Gil, felt that he could deliver solid mixes if he had someone to be his backstop, give him notes (criticisms and suggestions), which he would then revise and send back to me for another round of notes, and then another until the mixes were complete.

I’ve done this sort of thing before with people online, and it’s not something that you can do with everyone. The person mixing has to have some modicum of experience and skill. Jon seemed reasonably confident in his skills, and the songs were great, so I accepted the offer.

The process went so smoothly with these guys, that I started to think that offering mix notes could benefit others. If the song is good, and the production has promise, then mix notes, could be illuminating not just to the person mixing the track, but to others as well. 

This week, I received an email from a fan who wondered if I would be so kind as to listen to a mix and offer him some advice on it. In other words, mix notes.

Well! I told him to send it right away. The song was good. The mix needed some work but was in a decent place for some notes. So, I fired up my room, set up my recording devices, and filmed my first ever Mix Notes with Mixerman. The mixer and the band has agreed to allow me to share with all of you.

The mixer, Draper Carter recorded this project 13 years ago when he was a relatively new engineer, and for whatever reason the track sat in a drawer until recently. Now Draper is mixing his early work, cursing himself in the process (who wouldn’t), and seeking some input. 

Here’s the procedure. I open the track in Logic and listen down. Sometimes I use EQ to help me pinpoint frequencies. Sometimes I pop on a brick limiter, possibly a compressor, just to get an understanding of how the balances are affected through the mastering process. This sort of thing gives me information. As I listen, I type some of my thoughts, and relay the rest of my thoughts verbally once the song has finished.

I kept the audio uncompressed on my end when making this. It will likely take a hit on YouTube, but I think that everything should translate reasonably well between what you’re hearing and what I’m saying about the mix.

If you’d like me to offer you Mix Notes on one of your songs, all you have to do is email me, but by doing so, you agree to be on my email list. So, you might as well take this opportunity to sign up to my mailing list below.

The Band was called WillBilly.

Billy Kemp- Vocals and guitar
Dave Chapel- Guitar
Justin Crown- Bass
John Thomakos- Drums
Johnnie Johnson- Keys

Pick up my newest book in advance MUSICIAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE to a KILLER RECORD Indiegogo Campaign.

Enjoy, #mixerman

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Showing 4 comments
  • Raul Tsi
    Reply

    At least he didn’t pull out something from, say 1991 to maybe 2000, with no documentation whatsoever, so you don’t know what instruments, what mic and machine were used. Or where or when you recorded it. I’m working on a track right now from that nebulous time in my past, it is barely 2 minutes long. Only in the last year or so since I began using GB (think Logic lite, hey, it came with my Mac mini) have I revisited this very rough aggregation of crystalline matter, I really hesitate to call it diamonds in the rough. It had two tracks but either it is a stereo track of a single performance or one of the best overdubs I’ve ever done in my life. No, I don’t think I’ll be submitting this to anybody anytime soon, the Geneva Convention probably applies here.

    • Eric Sarafin
      Reply

      I’m confused. Did you watch the video?

      • Raul Tsi
        Reply

        I did and my stuff made that look, well, not as bad 😀 zero compression, eq, nothing. Only whatever it suffered getting transferred to ones and zeros from the cassette tape it was recorded on.

        • Eric Sarafin
          Reply

          I think there’s some confusion. I wasn’t mixing this song. I was listening to it and offering my Mix Notes as if I were the producer of the track, and it was being sent to me by a for-hire mixer. The EQ that I’m doing in the video is merely forensic in nature, as I only have a mix from which to make my criticisms, and I’m completely unfamiliar with the intricacies of the production itself.

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