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Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

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Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:41 pm

Just that I was quoted that time scale for a 20 stem mix and was wondering if it's a realistic proposition before I splash the cash! They are an established quality local studio just wanted to get people's thoughts.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby BJG145 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:51 pm

There are people I'd trust to mix a song in that time if they said they could do it. Depends on expectations and the current state of the track really. (Eg it's going to have to be in pretty good shape to start with. Have they heard it?)
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:08 pm

I think that's the critical thing. Has it been fully prepped, multed, trimmed, tidied, laid out etc.
I.e. is it just mixing, or is there any fixing and editing to do too?
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:14 pm

It is simply a mix everything else is fixed, nothing in terms of timing or anything just consolidated WAVs to go straight in their DAW
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:58 pm

I'd say yes - that seems to be a typical amount of time that I'd spend on a mix that didn't need anything too creative doing to it. If you are expecting the mixer to add to what you have already (like adding extra drum samples to enhance the sound) or massively change the sound of a part then it could take longer.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby CS70 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:36 pm

If everything is well recorded and in good shape, yes.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Hazer » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:00 pm

This is utterly ridiculous I've been royally d****d about by a remote engineer whose first version took seven days and subsequent revisions were 2-3 days ending up almost a month and I wasn't even happy
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Sam Inglis » Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:02 pm

I think four hours is reasonable if it really is literally just a mix. As soon as you involve things like vocal tuning or timing correction then you're looking at a much longer time frame.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Ramirez » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:59 am

Hazer wrote:This is utterly ridiculous I've been royally d****d about by a remote engineer who's first version took seven days and subsequent revisions were 2-3 days ending up almost a month and I wasn't even happy

Did she/he charge for 10 days’ work?! Maybe it still only took a few hours, but she/he had a lot work to get through?

It’s common to not be able to start a job immediately. It doesn’t mean the mix actually takes that long!
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:50 am

Hazer wrote:This is utterly ridiculous I've been royally d****d about by a remote engineer who's first version took seven days and subsequent revisions were 2-3 days ending up almost a month and I wasn't even happy

Very few of the projects I see are in a shape to require just mixing. Unless you have done the assistant work, there’s always loads of cleaning up to do even if things are recorded well.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby VOLOVIA » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:52 am

With all the love and affection that I can muster for SOS, I think at least for the less experienced reader, a wrong impression is given by the remixed, or 'fixing tracks' articles.
Of course, they are great to read and most useful but they blur the difference between "mixing" (balancing tracks and improve the sounds, in essence) to full production.
It is usual to find one of the SOS 'boys' adding instrumental parts (I don't know, sub-bass on a weak bass guitar), but also much more radical steps such as cutting one of the guitars out in the first chorus, shortening the ending etc. Let alone fixing timings and tuning of everything...

Another potential problem for the mixing engineer is that nowadays most of us record the instruments 'dry to the bone' because "the sound will be made in the mix". It seems ideal, but this means a LOT of responsibility on the eng. shoulders to create, literally, a vocal sound, a guitar sound and so forth. Four hours?

Sure this is nothing new. When again we read about 'name' eng.s who worked on classic tracks, we read that they stripped the songs down, taken the rhythm guitar out, added a tambourine in the chorus, double the vocals, etc. (let alone getting a new drummer...).

So, what the 'amateur' recording artist (from his spare bedroom), such as me, nowadays looks at the mixing stage is at least to a co-producing role, hoping that the eng. will sort out his/her 5 tracks of clashing guitars and choose the best bits, i.e., producing it. Am I wrong? Of course, if then the engineer is called upon a kind of co-producing role, he is never going to get it right, unless as I wrote, s/he strips the song down and makes it sound like a TOP 10 records. In this case we are looking at 4 days work, not hours. And how much would you charge for that??
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby desmond » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:44 am

Hazer wrote:This is utterly ridiculous I've been royally d****d about by a remote engineer who's first version took seven days and subsequent revisions were 2-3 days ending up almost a month and I wasn't even happy

Just because it took 7 days to turn it around doesn't mean the mix itself didn't take four hours. There just may be many mixes ahead of you in the queue, existing priority arrangements and so on. Busy people are, well, busy...

As far as being happy with the mixes go, it's difficult to comment. Sometimes it's difficult for people to match expectations if they are unrealistic, for example - people can only work with what they have. Sometimes the communication between the artist and mixer isn't good, so the artist isn't really getting across what they want - and the mixer, from listening to that track, might be hearing a different vision of what the artist was thinking, and went more in that direction. Some of these things can be sorted out by better communication.

And sometimes, collaborations just don't work out, for no particular reason.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby desmond » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:51 am

VOLOVIA wrote:It is usual to find one of the SOS 'boys' adding instrumental parts (I don't know, sub-bass on a weak bass guitar), but also much more radical steps such as cutting one of the guitars out in the first chorus, shortening the ending etc. Let alone fixing timings and tuning of everything...

There's a line between "mix decisions" and "production decisions" which every person has a different idea of what they think is or isn't their responsibility. Some mixers absolutely will not do anything to the track to change the arrangement, or to replace sounds - just what they can do on the mixer (of course, you *can* make arrangement changes on the mixer alone). Other people will do whatever they feel is necessary to make the track good, "commercial", or more pleasing to the artist. Andrew Scheps has talked quite a bit about this in various interviews etc.

All these things are judgement calls, and if in doubt, you'd probably want to check with the artist if you have an idea you think might be questionable - "Hey, is this ok to do...?"

But the bottom line is today, pretty much *every* job in the process of making a record is blurry and the edges and overlaps with other processes, particularly now that everyone has all the tools and budgets are lower and people have to do more jobs themselves. So I don't see any particular problem in articles that illustrate some problems that SOS readers might be facing, and talking through how they were dealt with...
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:14 pm

Well said, Desmond. Which brings the question back to the OP... in

Hazer wrote:Just that I was quoted that time scale for a 20 stem mix and was wondering if it's a realistic proposition

it all depends on the meaning of "mix" that was quoted to him.

Honestly, 4 hrs seems very strange for a job from outside with tracks never seen before.
CLA famously does about a song a day, and even a musician's day is more than four hours.
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Re: Can you mix a song in 4 hours?

Postby Hazer » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:21 pm

Ramirez wrote:
Hazer wrote:This is utterly ridiculous I've been royally d****d about by a remote engineer who's first version took seven days and subsequent revisions were 2-3 days ending up almost a month and I wasn't even happy

Did she/he charge for 10 days’ work?! Maybe it still only took a few hours, but she/he had a lot work to get through?

It’s common to not be able to start a job immediately. It doesn’t mean the mix actually takes that long!

I expected that he would not start immediately and would probably be working on other stuff simultaneously, but the way it strung out over an extended time period for really minor revisions is what got on my wick.
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