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How to critique a recording and mix?

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How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:56 pm

Is there a model or unwritten rule on evaluating the quality of a recording/ mix? I understand that common sense and your ears come into it but if presented for a mix to critique how would you go about it in a technically professional manner?
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:12 pm

Remain open minded, make suggestions with justification and constructive comments, rather than dismissive or curt comment.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:31 pm

I have always favoured the Groucho Marx school of criticism.

Margaret Dumont: You can't get around me as easily as that, you know!
Groucho: No, but hear there's a guided tour leaving any day now.
Dumont: Are you implying that I am fat?
Groucho: As a matter of fact, yes, I am. Why, do you want a second opinion?
Dumont: Well, as a matter of fact, yes I do!
Groucho: OK, you're ugly, too!

Something on those lines?
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Random Guitarist » Tue Jan 29, 2013 6:23 pm

Use 'unusual' 'unconventional' & 'challenging' in place of 'horrible' 'tuneless' & 'I hate you'.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Mike Senior » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:30 pm

RhinoTime wrote:Use 'unusual' 'unconventional' & 'challenging' in place of 'horrible' 'tuneless' & 'I hate you'.

"interesting" is also a blade with two edges...
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby thefruitfarmer » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:48 am

Beyond the more obvious technical errors like "cannot hear the vocal", "instruments out of tune", "too much hiss", "the sound balance is clearly wrong" then it very quickly gets in to the area of personal taste.....

At that point you have to put the tune into public domain and see what comes back.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Tony O'Shea » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:43 am

Mike Senior wrote:...

"interesting" is also a blade with two edges...

Indeed Mike.

A Chinese phrase sometimes used for people whom you may not particularly like, 'May you live in interesting times'.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:38 am

This is an art unto itself.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby _ Six _ » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:51 pm

I'm not sure I meant how to pacify someone. I've been married. I'm good at that already!

What I meant was is there an academic approach to analysing the qualities of a mix. I know music is subjective but if you were asked to listen to a mix as part of an interview how would you do it?
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:59 pm

I think it is too subjective really, regardless of all the publications dedicated to music. In a track are the drums too quiet or are they as the artist intended? Is there a correct answer to the question, because some may like it that way, others will complain at the lack of punch or bottom end or audibility etc.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby Daniel Davis » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:36 pm

Those of you with more than a passing interest in science will recognise that it is true that there there are a great many ways of arranging matter which result in a living organism, all of which are equally valid. But there remains an almost infinitely greater way of arranging matter which do not result in a living organism.

The same holds principal applies to art: To say that because we are appraising art, and that it is subjective, so you can't judge it, is just a cop out.
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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby SafeandSound Mastering » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:31 pm

The approach depends on many factors. Not least if the mix comes from someone who is competent or a beginner. Beginner problems are often very different to professional or highly competent hobbyist 'problems' in both type and magnitude. Some appear "bang",(why is that sound coming from behind my head?) instantly, some appear when you start working and delving a little deeper. I really enjoy being able to help people out with this, otherwise whats the point ? Not always with perfect end results in the case of a beginner but hearing track after track improve is great. I prefer to be fairly direct in most instances, that approach largely seems appreciated. How you conduct an appraisal is important and it's different each time.

All of this is about memory bank references/working experiences IMO so it can never really be formulaic. The observer and the observed are a relationship so it is not a scientific event.

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Re: How to critique a recording and mix?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:52 am

It's the same as judging dogs in dog show. You are comparing to the best in breed (reference mix)of the genre he is going for.
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