Online mixing services - worth it?

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Online mixing services - worth it?

Post by Crystaljuggler »

I'm looking into options for my gothic metal band's first proper album release(We're called Curvature, look us up as CurvatureOfficial on most sites if you're interested). Up until this point, we've recorded demos in our rehearsal room, a barn, and I've done the mixing myself, with reasonable, if not stellar results. This time round we'll have all the drums recorded in software, which will cut down a lot of the headaches, and we have a budget of around £1000 to work with. The aim is to come out with an album that's at least some way above "demo quality."

So the question is whether we do all the recording ourselves at our leisure, on my reasonable-if-not-high-end equipment, and see if we can get ten tracks mixed and mastered for £100 a track, or whether we should still look at heading into a studio for two or three days and work with a producer through the recording-and-mixing process. Has anyone tried any of the online mixing services, how were your experiences, and how would you think the two options stack up in terms of bang-for-the-buck?
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Re: Online mixing services - worth it?

Post by Phil O »

Online services are generally very 'hit and miss'. With careful research, personal recommendation and detailed guidance as to what you require from the mix, the chances of a favorable outcome can be improved.

IMO, a big part of the problem is not being able to give feedback in real-time so you may end up with mixes going back and forth over a period before you get where you want to be. This is not necessarily a problem though some mixers will put a limit on the extent to which they are prepared to do this.

In terms of priority, I would suggest that capturing the source recordings is probably higher up the order. A good room with quality mics and pres trumps a esoteric mix board for me. Do I understand correctly that you intend to use programmed drums (software)? If so, I am not so sure that will be as good as a live kit.

That said 3 days in a studio to record and mix 10 tracks sounds like a very tall order to me !!So the decision as to how to spend your budget might be made for you.
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Re: Online mixing services - worth it?

Post by The Elf »

Your budget is tight for an album. One of the studios where I work offers young bands a 'one song per hour' deal, but you've got to be realistic about what you can achieve in those circumstances. If you are a tight band, and know your songs inside out, then you can get something acceptable - and an album in three days - but you can't expect much remedial work and overdubbing.

As someone at the other end of the process (i.e. I offer on-line mixing services) I will say that it can work very cost-effectively, but I will also acknowledge that it can have its share of difficulties. The physical separation of someone at the end of an email can hide a multitude of sins and I am wary of some of the claims from some 'mixers'. I suggest you take claims of experience, gear and ability very much with a pinch of salt - and ask for examples of previous work, preferably in something representing the style of music in which you're interested.

Unfortunately I know from personal experience that expectations can be unrealistically high. I can receive tracks that sound as if they have been recorded in someone's kitchen on a laptop microphone, but the sender asks me to use a Trevor Horn production as a mix reference! In these instances I will make a quick example mix and see how far apart we are before anyone incurs any significant costs. A mix will only ever be as good as the tracking allows.

Whenever possible I'd like the artist around at various points during the mix process. The instant feedback is very helpful and it means I can take more risks, looking for a grin or a grimace! If you can travel to meet your mixer at any point in the process then do it - it's likely he'll be more than happy to meet you, since it will make his job easier.

Hope it works out for you! :D
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Re: Online mixing services - worth it?

Post by narcoman »

100 quid a song isn't going to attract anyone any better than doing it yourself. You need to be looking at £300 per song (absolute min) to start to draw in those able to get what you want.....

Why not do a 4 or 5 track EP?
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