What instrument do you play?

I play the mixing desk. I’ve slowly been realizing over the past couple of weeks the importance of performance. Obviously the most important part of a recording is the musicians themselves (I think us engineers/ producers can forget that sometimes, we’re not supposed to be the centre of attention). But our performance is also incredibly important.

I know it is very easy in the world of Pro Tools to manually draw in our automation, changing levels only a small amount from 3-6dB or what ever. But i think we’re falling into a trap. Why do we have mixing desk with real faders? Why not use them properly. Get your track rolling and record down to a stereo track. Grab hold of those faders and play that desk like it’s supposed to be. Maybe your plug in automation can be done with your mouse, but man, those faders deserve some action.

But saying that, I’ve also been thinking alot about the old “There is no wrong way” in regards to recording. It’s said over and over again throughout the many colleges and universities teaching recording. But what they should say is there is no right way. Nothing you will ever do will be perfect. Accept that. But you can make something spine-chillingly  awesome while not being “perfect”. But I think there is a wrong way. Some things don’t sound good, people can do a really shit job sometimes. We can’t hide that by saying it’s art, shit is sometimes just shit.

The beautiful thing is there are many ways to get it right. For example, mix engineer extraordinaire Chris Lord-Alge mixes out of protools into a bloody Sony 3348. A 48 channel DASH digital tape machine tape. Some people own a studio, some record in their garage and some people stick to a laptop and some plugins. As long as we have creative thinkers and great musicians we will get great records. The best bit, is every records journey is different.

Thanks for reading,

Liam.

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