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How Long Do You Spend Mixing Tracks You’ve Never Heard Before?

A wide range of approaches and advice provided by an experienced community.

A discussion that began in the REP Recording Forum here on ProSoundWeb that’s packed with relevant/useful points and references.

Question posed by Andy
I’m a student and going to be taking on some mixing projects for self development, and am wondering how much time you set aside to mix/re-mix a track you’ve never heard before?

Reply by compasspnt
Good question. It’s totally relative. I’ve literally spent anywhere from an hour to a month mixing one song. But in general, for most songs, you should be able to have something decent in a couple of hours.

Many top remix engineers, in an ideal budget world, like to mix a song a day: Get it where you want it by day’s end, leave it overnight, check it “fresh” in the morning, make any small changes, print. Start the next song, get it where you want it by day’s end, leave it overnight…

Reply by jwhynot
It’s been a while since I had a day per song to mix, so I’ve gotten used to putting them up much more quickly. My rule of thumb is 3 songs a day, but those are long days. And some songs fall together really quickly.

A lot depends on the performance, and a lot also depends on the recording. Have fun! I’ve been doing it nearly 30 years and I still haven’t worn out the enjoyment of it.

Reply by amorris
It’s kind of like asking, how much to record an album? How much have you got? Budget will determine most things like this — budget in time and money. and you/they get what you pay for.

Reply by jonathan jetter
Most of my clientele consists of musicians, either unsigned or on smaller indies. so there is rarely the budget for one song a day. I usually do two per day — work for 4 hours or so, break for food, come back and do the other. This is, of course, dependent on musical style, quality of tracking, aesthetic goals of a specific artist, etc.

Reply by Brian S
I like to have 2 hours by myself, and 1 hour with the producer or artist, per song. It varies but this seems to be a pattern that works well for me. It’s nice to allow another half day or so for taking a ride in the car, listening to all the tunes in the order the project will be released, and then making the final minor tweeks if needed. This is for a typical 8-12 song project.

Reply by trock
I was wondering how much harder it is for any of you if you didn’t record the songs and were coming into the mix cold, having never heard the songs? Wouldn’t the mix be much easier if you had done all the recording also and knew the songs well and knew the artist also?

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