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What's your mix mindset?

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Paul Walters:
My mix mindset generally goes in one of two directions: change everything, or do as the B.E. is doing with personal touches/ improvements if required.

I have the misfortune of mixing on underpowered Guitar Center rigs staffed by novices more often than not, so the first thing I do is fix whatever gain staging issues are present (for example I'm playing in a show tonight and I'm going to have to show up early to fix everything that was wrong at the same place last night, such as making sure they know the difference between line and pickup switch positions on an active DI) and ring out the wedges and room. Next I fix mic placement, patching and so on. Essentially I have to start from ground up and make the show work on the rig they have.

The second philosophy kicks in when I'm mixing on a properly configured rig (I know it's properly configured because either I set it up, or I know the system tech or house guy). This is quite a luxury, unfortunately, but it's very relieving to have a rig with good gbf, headroom, and sound quality. In this position I'll be able to do my own thing within the guidelines of the band's needs, ie: if they have to have it stereo, it will be stereo.

If mid-show I am handed the reigns of the first system, I'll refuse. If I'm handed the reigns of the second system, I'll take them gladly and avoid radical changes, unless something was really bugging me before I stepped in. In that case I'll fix it.

Nick Aghababian:
As long as get to place the mics, I really don't care about anything else if all I'm doing is mixing. Especially with digital consoles, I have all my control as a BE right there.

If its a true throw and go situation and I don't have time to even listen to the pa, what else can I really do?

Jasen Jacobsen:

--- Quote from: Chris Hunt on January 20, 2011, 02:30:09 PM ---Here is the situation: you're mixing on a PA you've never mixed, a room you've never mixed, a band you've never mixed, auditioning for a FOH position to come in and sub for the main guys.  How far do you take it?  Do you simply ride faders and make the best out of what you started with, or do you tell the engineer about how you would change everything and throw out a massive list of what you would do to change the show?  Also, would you mix more from your ear or go at the console setting up all your go-to comp and eq settings without hearing the PA or the band?

--- End quote ---
Assuming the show is already set up and tuned how the original engineer (OE) & band are used to, I'd just ride faders. That's making the big assumption that the OE has already set everything up, e.g. It's a band playing a multi-night gig, or a church band in their usual venue.

I'd take a quick look through all the board settings, though. How's EQ set? What's compression look like? Doing so might give me a feel for what to expect and maybe give a clue as to how competent the OE is. But I likely wouldn't change anything until I could sound check (maybe). That is, I'd study what's there and get ready to hold my nose/ears at what came out.

IF what came out was really offensive, I'd try to find someone (with a clue) who knows what the show usually sounds like and ask if it sounds "right". If they are happy with it, I'm not messing with it; it may be terrible, but it's their show and I'm just dropping in to keep the show on.

Now, if it's an audition and I'm expected to provide my opinion and show how great I am, that's a different story. Then, I look at the settings and take notes of anything I think looks off. During the show, I listen and take notes on what I think could be adjusted. During the show I ask to make a few adjustments that I think will improve the sound. AFTER the show, I discuss how the show went and offer my opinion on what could use improvement, e.g. "I think if you turn off the 200Hz HPF on the bass you'd get better bottom end." And if it's a sub job, i.e. I'm not going to be the main guy, but just sub now and then, I really bite my tongue; if the current set up is too offensive, I decline the job.

- Jasen.


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