Some of us will never spend time working in a professional studio. Few have the time to devote to becoming a pro audio engineer. So we won’t get that daily experience it takes to make great records. Maybe weekly or monthly experience, instead. Won’t stop us from trying and it won’t stop us from making the best sounds we can, right now.
But we can pick up some of the lessons from the professionals that are willing to share their daily experience. We’re lucky enough to have quite a few minds in the business that want to impart their expertise to you.
Mixerman is one of the better known of these figures, and a little controversial, as well (I can’t speak to the rhetoric surrounding him). His books, The Daily Adventures of Mixerman and Zen and the Art of Mixing, have provided guidance and hilarious commentary on the recording process for thousands of home producers.
You can also check out his diaries on his website that continue to recount his adventures as an audio professional. I have to say, I was immediately engrossed by what I read and found it a fun way to reinforce the disparate chunks of audio engineering knowledge I have. An excerpt:
In setting up a session I have two main goals. First, I want to make certain that the session can move forward without a hitch. The more organized the session, the more readily available instruments and microphones are, the faster the session can move. Second, I take great pains to be sure that everyone is as comfortable as possible, including me. A little extra time, care, and effort in the setup can go a long way toward these goals-hence the early start.
Some of these communiqués from Mixerman read as impossibly difficult aggregations of recording bungles and I wonder if they could be true. In the end, it doesn’t matter – they make for really entertaining and informative reads.
It’s also a reminder that while the fundamentals of production are important, there are a thousand ways to do things. You have your way. And you can be sure that Mixerman has his.