BAM Audio School
Home
Course Index
Sign Up
Virtual Mixing
Audio Jobs

RECORDING / MIXING ENGINEER


This really belongs on 2 pages since they are like different sides of the same coin. Both are required on projects, both require an understanding of the other side in order to be good, but the jobs are still different.

I like to do both.

People often ask if I prefer to record or to mix. It is surprising how many people consider the jobs the same when they are not. While it is true that you need to be a good mixer in order to know how to record well (and vice-versa) the functions of the two jobs are different.

As a Recording Engineer, my job is to maintain an atmosphere in which musicians can comfortably create and then capture that creativity on tape. Musicians must be able to hear the subtle nuances of their instrument so they can play WITH those nuances. They must be able to hear what they are doing in a proper context so they can play appropriately (instead of hearing only themselves and playing something that may not work in the SONG). They must be able to see each other and never be allowed to feel that the session is dragging.

Then of course I must capture the musicians' nuances as faithfully as possible. When necessary I process sounds to tape, but prefer to simply augment the natural aspects of the musician's sound.

Too many engineers only think about recording SOUNDS instead of recording MUSIC. If the musicians are not comfortable then you may get good sounds but you will not get a good SONG.

As a Mixing Engineer, my job is to take the elements of the song and use them to create an illusion. The illusion may simply be that of a live performance or it may be an artificial landscape. Sometimes the illusion is already clear and needs to be "framed" so it is compelling to everyone. Sometimes it must be created, in which case I start by going through the tracks until I find the SONG and then building on that. The important thing is that the illusion must be BELIEVABLE.

Film Mixers use creative mixing techniquest to support and enhance the visual being seen.

I know a mix is going well when I BELIEVE THE ILLUSION WHILE I AM STILL CREATING IT. Mixes that properly reflect the feelings of the SONG begin to take on a life of their own and seem almost to mix themselves.