Mixing as a producer

Hi Andrew,

As a producer, i do a lot of the cleaning up/mixing of my own tracks, but I still like to send in the track to get full mix down when I have gotten it sounding the best I possibly can. What are the main tasks that you think a mixing engineer should handle and that a producer should leave alone?

HI Ramsey,

That’s a really good question, and one that’s a little hard to answer. As always the answer is “it depends”. First of all, you’re doing exactly the right thing, take it as far as you can (with tying the mixer’s hands behind their back) before mixing.

For me a lot of what it depends on is the relationship I have with the producer/artist. And I don’t even mean a long term relationship, it could be the first time I’ve worked with them and only have exchanged a couple of emails. I’ll come back to this in a sec.

The first thing is that I won’t mix anything that doesn’t have a rough mix. If there’s no rough, that means they have no idea what they’re going for, and probably means that there are lots of decisions that haven’t been made. It’s not my job to balance guitar amp mics, comp and arrange vocals, etc etc etc.

I also always ask that all vocal tuning is committed and all samples/instruments are printed. While mixing I might want to tweak some tuning or add a kick sample, but that is just part of me mixing that nobody else needs to even know about.

All that said, to come back to my first point, if I like the people I’m working with I’ll go ahead and, for instance, do vocal tuning (I actually think I’m good at it and can keep things sounding the way I like them). If I don’t, I won’t. It’s as easy as that. And I don’t mean like them so I would want them to come to my birthday party, but is there mutual respect that makes me want to be more collaborative than just mixing (which is pretty collaborative in the first place).

Hope this helps,
Andrew

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This helps a lot, appreciate it!!