Learn how to mix EDM: http://mixingedm.com
A new video in the Ask Weiss series on the roles and workflows of producing, mixing and mastering in EDM.
More Ask Weiss videos on mixing, producing, recording and more: http://bit.ly/askweiss
Nathan asks, “Hey, Matt. My question concerns mixing in EDM. In an interview with famous mixing engineers, the producer David *** said that in his business, the producer delivers ready masters. I interpret it that you produce, mix, and master your own track as an EDM producer.
“But, I heard another big house producer say that now that he produces at such a high level, he doesn't engineer himself anymore.
“And THEN, a few days later, I saw a DVD where a well known producer mixed the whole track through an already setup mastering chain, but in your mixing EDM tutorial, you mixed just a rough, right?
“Where do all of these different approaches come from, and can the end results be that good? I mean, with every part, people spend decades to learn it. Maybe EDM is the exception here?”
Alright, Nathan. That's a great question. It's a long question, but it's a great question, and it has everything to do with the word, “workflow.” So what I'm going to do is try and explain each workflow, why it works, why you might use it, why maybe it wouldn't, and sort of pull all of this stuff apart.
So, starting with the producer that said in his business, the producer delivers ready masters. Being able to deliver a ready master, I think particularly in EDM, but in actually pretty much any genre, is really important because when you deliver it, you don't know what's necessarily going to happen with it next, and that's just a fact of the business.
So a lot of times, you'll send something to an A&R and there's no more development. It goes right to an artist, it goes right to a label contact, it goes right to a radio DJ, and the next thing you know, that record is out. And you didn't sign off on it, it just happened.
But also, a lot of times, you want a quick turn around. Sometimes, you want to have a degree of expedience, and also an ability to do it yourself without having to tap into your own budget, because a lot of times, you'll find yourself working on budgets of thousands of dollars, but sometimes you'll find yourself working on a budget of nothing, and you just need to get something out. You need to get content out in circulation, so being self reliant is extremely important.
And that's really why I made the tutorial, actually, because as an EDM producer, whether you're established, whether you're unestablished, being able to be self reliant is a very, very important factor in where your career goes.
So, then you've got the opposite side of the coin, which is this really big House producer, who says now he produces at such a high level, he doesn't mix himself anymore.
Well, first of all, he did mix himself to begin with. That's implicit in what he said, so even if he's not mixing the records, he still probably has a certain degree of input into the mix itself.
That said, he's also established a really good relationship with mix engineers that he's going back to, and he has the kind of budget and output demand where he can shop out his mixing, because it's more profitable for him to spend his time developing new music and new content, rather than spending hours mixing a record.
So, that's a specific situation where that workflow is conducive to him because there's a certain demand on his music.
Okay, then you have the guy who mixed the whole thing through an already setup chain for the master. If you don't have that budget system in place, but you need to be very fast, setting up a template can be really useful, and it can also be part of somebody's signature sound.
Now, I personally don't do it that way, but I'm a mix engineer, first and foremost. But if you're just making your own music, then by all means, setup a template if it works for you, but I mean, obviously take the time to find what works for you.
Now, in my actual tutorial, you asked, “You mixed just a rough, right?”Well, what I would say I mixed is what I would call a first pass, and when I'm working with an EDM producer, a lot of times, the way my workflow goes is I get the record in, I mix through the record from point A to point Z, and when I'm done and I'm happy with what's immediately there, I just send it to the producer for feedback right then.
I don't necessarily expect that to be the final record, I just know that it's at a point where I can get that line of communication open, I can get the feedback – and with EDM in particular, I like to do it that way, because it's a very idiosyncratic genre. So you know, there's a lot of things that can be tweaked, and a lot of nit-picky kind of stuff that goes into the overall formula.