Q1: What do you charge to do a mix?
A: To view my rate sheet click here.
Q2: You spend more time on a mix than other engineers, and your rate is high... can you just do a quick-and-solid, and call it good?
A: For me, the artistry of the craft is not just in good sounds and balances, but it is in the sense of spatial relationship and the emotional atmosphere each mix invokes. I approach each mix like it is a painting. Your tracks are the colors and shapes, and the speakers are the canvas. The pleasure of the mix for me is in the massaging of those colors and shapes. I work hard, and take the time necessary, to get the tracks out of the 2 dimensional plane into the 3 dimensional, pushing beyond the boundaries of the speakers--both vertically and horizontally--to get the music to wrap around you for a fully immersive experience. I'm also a detail freak, and comb over and over the tracks to try and get the most out of them. Yes, this takes more time, and costs more, but it's how I love working. I'm not a good fit for everyone, but If you like what I'm writing here, and can hear it in my mixing, I'm your man. ***If you want to save money, click here to see how***
Q3: Describe what you do... what is your primary service?
A: I think of myself as a mix-engineer. Music-mixing is really where my heart is at, and where I get the most satisfaction, both as a skilled craftsman and creative collaborator. Music-mixing constitutes 98% of my daily work. It's what I've spent the most time developing over the years. As of late, I'm getting more requests from my clients to play more of a producer's role, by inserting production ideas as I mix. I've really enjoyed this, as it calls more on my creative input.
Q4: I know you think of yourself as a mix-engineer, but would you consider doing only my master?
A: I'm a mix-engineer who masters his own mixes, rather than a mastering engineer. The majority of my sound happens in the mix. I'm not opposed to mastering only, and on occasion will do so. When I do, I usually like getting stems, which gives me more flexibility and allows me to do more. However, I am not opposed to just mastering either. Keep in mind that a two-track gives me the least flexibility, and may limit what I can actually do. In some extreme cases, when something has already been over-compressed, over-eq'd, and over-limited, I simply/politely inform the potential client that I can't help them.
Q5: I often see you credited as mix engineer as well as mastering engineer. Does this mean your mixes are delivered already mastered?
A: Yes, all the mixes I deliver to you will always be mastered, so you won't need to schedule time at a mastering house. My music mixes run through a mastering chain of world class pro-audio outboard gear and state-of-the-art plugins as I mix. That is right, I master at the same time as I mix. I have discovered this approach to be enormously advantageous, as I'm able to make fine adjustments in the mix to offset or compensate for any adverse effects brought on by raising the mixes to commercially competitive levels; such as lost transients, excessive reverb and delay, dulling of overall sonic curve, relative balances, etc. This also works out well for my clients, both in terms of finances and convenience... a one-stop shop, if you will. You walk out of my studio with a ready-for-duplication disk or file.
Q6: But, I've always been told that I need to get another set of ears on the project. Why do most engineers still send their mixes to a mastering house?
A: Historically, mixes for a project typically came from more than one facility. Mastering houses were created to bring continuity of overall eq curve, compression, limiting and relative, perceived loudness from one studio mix to the next. Knowing that they would be the last stop in the production line, mastering houses invested in expensive Hi-Fi speakers and superior/accurate acoustic environments. It was their responsibility to deliver a product that would translate into the real world. For years and years, NS-10's were the industry standard for mixing monitors. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a Hi-Fi mix on a pair of NS-10's. Lo-fi speakers are not able to accurately reproduce the details required to make fine tuned choices. It was therefore up to the mastering house to assure that mixes were delivered to the end user fully balanced across the entire audible bandwidth of the human ear. Mastering houses invested in expensive reference monitors and paid top dollar to have their rooms designed and tuned by the very best acousticians. Recent trends have mix engineers migrating away from old standards, and more and more have embraced Hi-Fi, full bandwidth monitoring... and some, like me, enjoy the advantages described in the answer to the previous question (Q5), and prefer to master while they mix. I was fortunate enough to be ahead of this trend by purchasing the NY AES demo surround set of ATC 110's ten years ago, accurate from 10hrz to 30k. In preparation for those speakers, I spent five years designing my room, and built it myself to assure that the extremely sensitive tolerances of the design were properly implemented. It takes a lot of confidence to send a product out your door, knowing that you're responsible for not only an exciting mix, but also one that is sonically balanced and plays back at commercial levels. Buying my ATC speakers and investing in an accurate room was one of the better decisions in my career.
Q7: Do you mix in or out of the box?
A: Both. In terms of quality, I don't think one approach is better than the other, just different. I've gotten great results both ways. However, for some time now, I have preferred a hybrid approach. I like juxtaposing the vibrancy, purity and clarity of digital hi-resolution to the gritty, textured, and colored tones of analog. I have discovered that you can get a lot more depth and width in your mix with this approach. Leaving a certain element in the digital domain with minimal digital processing, such as a lead vocal, while smearing another element, such as a harmony vocal, with harmonic distortion by driving it aggressively through an analog chain, pushes the pure element forward and sets the processed element back, creating more dimensionality for both elements. I have found outboard analog compressors to do this best. All of my outboard compressors have been carefully selected for the texture, color, character or tone they provide to a particular element in the mix. For a list of my equipment, click here.
Q8: How would we work together?
A: To see how I like working with my clients and how I would like tracks to be prepared and delivered for mixing, and other details of workflow, please click here.
Q9: How do you handle working with long-distance clients?
A: My studio gets a full gig of fiberoptic bandwidth, and I find that working over the internet is very practical these days. Even my local clients deliver most of their projects via internet. Regarding delivery platform: as of late, I have been using https://www.wetransfer.com. I like the simplicity of the interface, and the email confirmation of upload, and download of mix sessions, mixes, and final deliverables. However, anything over 2 gigs, please contact me for more specific instructions.
Q10: "How did you get that particular sound for such and such song?"
A: I'm happy to share any knowledge that might inspire you to do your own thing, including telling you what I used for a given song (if I can remember). Along with passing on any techniques I use while mixing, I also encourage young engineers to think of sound as an endless frontier, with endless possibilities. In my humble opinion, the job of a good engineer is to explore as much of those potentials as possible. In my experience, the best way to learn, and to forge your own unique mixing style is to spend the hours and hours of experimentation and exploration necessary to hone in on your emotional and physical relationship to the sonic world.