How to Ask for Mix Revisions
When one of the Sweetwater Studios engineers mixes your project, we try to capture your vision of the finished song while letting our own knowledge and experience guide the way the individual pieces are assembled to create the finished mix. Sometimes we nail it the first time, and sometimes we don’t. This is why mix revisions are an important part of the recording and mixing process; your input lets us fix the things that don’t make you happy.
The process is pretty simple. After we send the mixes to you, listen to your mixes on different systems, through headphones as well as speakers, and in the car, both loud and soft. You should be listening to the overall sound of the song, to see if you think the drums are at the right level, if the effects get in the way of the vocals, or if the piano interferes with the bass. Then listen at a detailed level: are there any places where you can’t understand the words, or is there a point in the song where the electric guitar can’t be clearly heard? Make notes about what you don’t like, and after a few days of comprehensive listening, send us the notes about what you want to change.
The best mix revision notes are detailed and very specific. The more general the note, the less likely we are to be able to act on it. Color or emotional references, for example, don’t give the engineers a lot to work with: “The vocals sound too purple, they need to be more lavender,” or “Can the guitar be more cheerful?”
Writing, “I don’t like the vocal on the second line of Verse 2” doesn’t help much, because it doesn’t clearly specify what you don’t like or what you’d like us to change. “The voice isn’t bright enough and needs to be a little louder in the verses” is more helpful because it tells us what the problem is, and where you noticed it. But “Please add 2.5dB at 1K on the lead vocal, and turn up the vocal on the second and third lines in Verse 2, at 1:12 into the song” is more helpful, since you were able to be more specific still. In other words, the more detail you give us, the closer we can get to what you want.
Sometimes the changes may be as minor as “I wish the fade was a little faster,” or “Can you turn the reverb down in this song?”. And occasionally we get notes saying, “I need to sing this again because my vocals sucked!” or “Let’s leave this one off the album,” but they’re rare. Most mix revisions are less dramatic than these examples. We have added a cymbal crash, replaced wrong bass notes, flown a better sung chorus in place of one that wasn’t as good, turned off a guitar part in one part of a song, and removed breaths that were unacceptably noisy; these are part and parcel of a mix revision.
It’s not uncommon for clients to give us a page (or multiple pages) of specific changes to their mixes, and that’s great — it means when we go through each song and make those requested changes, you’ll be happy. So, when you’re listening to your mixes, grab a pencil and start making notes. Your mixes will be better for it!
If you have any questions, give us a call at (800) 222-4700.