Last year, I had a great time finishing off a really fun project called Diplomat.
What was it? Here’s the official description:
“Diplomat is a solo project from Michael Murphy (Tomorrows/The Chapters) with Tony Fitz (main collaborator and engineer).
The album is a series of collaborative and experimental recordings which encouraged the musicians to create outside their comfort zone in an immediate response to the material.”
Sometimes when mixing, you’re trying to make sure that all the different sounds are cutting through clearly and the nuances of the various performances aren’t getting lost. Other times though, the challenge is getting a particular sound to sit back into the mix, so it feels connected to the rest of the instrumentation, rather than sitting on top. A lot of the time it’s because that sound is too dry, maybe due to being recorded direct, and so the disconnect comes from it not feeling like it’s in the same space as the rest of the instruments. Here’s another technique I learned from Steve Albini which uses a multi-tap delay and some good old-fashioned maths to create a stereo ambience effect that works brilliantly in that situation.
Recording a live acoustic guitar and vocal performance can be a bit of a crap shoot. Depending on the guitar and how the singer projects, you can be looking at both having too much guitar in your vocal mic or too much vocal in your guitar mics. Mic placement might improve things but you could still end up with a really cut down set of options when it comes to mix time. The EQ you need to make the guitar sound great might also emphasise a part of the vocal that doesn't sound pleasant and so on... It can be a tough balancing act of compromise after compromise. Here's a mic technique I learned from Steve Albini at his Mix With The Masters seminar, which gives fantastic isolation.
While at Steve Albini’s Mix with the Masters Seminar, I did my first ever “out of the box” mix. I’m not unused to mixing on a desk, from doing live sound, but I don’t have the luxury of a nice analogue console in my studio, so all my mixing is done “in the box” (ITB) using Logic on a Mac. Mixing a song I’d been working on using La Fabrique’s Neve console was a real perspective changer…I really enjoyed mixing in the analogue domain, with the audio routed out to the desk, and mixing without even looking at the computer. It was a really satisfying experience, and the quick rough mix I did sounded great. But back home in Kildare, I still don’t have a Neve console, so what aspects of the analogue console mixing process could I transfer to my ITB setup?
When mixing drums I’ve always tried panned toms to match where they locate in the overhead mics.
It’s worked for me, but it’s never been something I’ve thought too much about or experimented with...