Do I like detail? Do I like tailoring every tiny sound that I happen to have laid down deliberately or by shear accident?
Yes… oh yes!
Does it take forever to finish a mix? Does editing a track always lead to having to fix another? Does each track sound marvelous but making them make sense together is a pain in the ass?
Also… yes oh yes!
I usually start fixing bits and then get to the overall sound but recently I decided to give going the other way around a chance on a project and it seems to work quite well.
What I mean is, in the beginning, I don’t worry about the settings of a guitar track, drums or a bass sub or whatnot. I just play and pile everything together. I don’t touch the EQ or the compressors. I just adjust the gain controls of my recording and then mess with the track levels.
This way I seem to get a fuller richer sound right from the start with some flaws here and there, of course; there is no free lunch after all, right?
Next step is finding out what ARE those flaws. They are necessarily that obvious every time; you know, something isn’t happening at a certain part but you can’t just put your finger on it… yet. Then you decide whether or not you should re-record those parts or small touches of EQ, Compressor, De-Esser, etc. would easily solve your problems.
I think one can liken it to chiseling a clay or something. Pretend that you have a mass that you get to fine tune to create a desired shape, instead of combining little chunks of clay to create a whole big figure.
I' m not saying this is the best approach, per se. But it is AN option. I am very glad that I could put aside my perfectionist point of view and get some pretty good results this way because my last recording took forever and still sounded thinner than I was hoping for; I had to re-start the whole process again but that’s a whole other story that involves computer failures, etc.
Mix on, friends.