Mixerman RULES for Making Killer Records

When I set forth to write Musician’s Survival Guide to a Killer Record last year, my goal was to really take the emphasis off of the gear, and place the focus like a laser beam on the music itself. The fact of the matter is, we all have a limited collection of recording gear, some of us more so than others. But at this stage of the technology, what you have isn’t nearly as important as how you use what you have.

As such, it should be no surprise that my list of Rules for making Killer Records today hardly focuses on gear at all. I do mention monitors, but only as they relate to the room. It’s the headphones that are the big problem today. I understand that some people just have to use headphones. But what I don’t understand is why anyone would try to do it using the stock output jack from their interface. Those are usually equipped with horrendous converters. Like worse than ADATs. Worse than the Panasonic DAT recorders. And that probably doesn’t mean much to many of you reading this, but those kinds of lousy converters can really get in the way.

The good news is, your interface itself likely has totally usable converters on the outputs. Converters in general are hardly worth thinking about these days. It’s not like when I was coming up when shitty converters could really fuck up your day. Not because the finished product was somehow unlistenable. You wouldn’t know it. Rather because shitty converters made my life more difficult, and that’s what you want to avoid.

This list that I call MIXERMAN RULES for Making Killer Records isn’t in the book, but it does follow the prescriptions laid out in the book. Consider it an addendum for now.

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MIXERMAN RULES for Making Killer Records

1. The song and composition matter most.
2. The arrangement is the production which is the mix. They are all one and the same.
3. Amazing performances cannot be ignored.
4. The song, the arrangement, and the performances define the sound. Focus on those. Not your gear.
5. If you can’t hear it, you can’t adjust for it.
6. Your monitoring includes the room.
7. Use headphones as a last resort, and with a dedicated converter/amplifier. (Nearly all headphone jacks employ horrendous converters that can actually get in the way).
8. There are no presets that work universally. Despite this, when starting out, you should use presets.
9. Do. Don’t think. Definitely don’t overthink.
10. Keep It Simple, Stupid
11. Have fun!
Enjoy, #mixerman

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Mixerman RULES for Making Killer Records


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