• Alberto Icaza

Why Should You Hire a Mixing Engineer for Your Songs?

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Well, lets go back a couple centuries to when radios didn’t exist and on a Friday afternoon all you had to look forward too was going to listen to some Classical music in a beautiful Hall.  

Composers would do these complex arrangements with dozens of instruments who only had some subjective reference to how loud they should play. Some of them leaving room for interpretation or leaving vague notes of how to perform their songs. Now, imagine walking into a concert hall and all the musicians are sitting all around the place, everyone is playing on top of each other and no-one cares to work with each other. 

Then comes in the conductor, he knows where everyone should sit in a room, he directs who is playing and at what level, he points out if anyone is out of tune or if someone needs to work on their timing. Lets jump into our trusty DeLorean, set the dials back to modern times and voila! That conductor has transformed into your modern day mixer. 

He decides where every track should be in the stereo spectrum, how loud it should be, make sure all the instruments work in harmony with each other and that they are not stepping over each others frequencies. As if that wasn’t hard enough, a mixer has to divide his brain into two personas with very different skills. On one side you have a technical nerdy engineer who talks in frequencies and measurements of loudness. He is looking at the quality of he audio. In the other side you have a creative guy who has to understand the emotional value of the song and make it come across while giving it a vibe to make the music sound special, he understands music and his biggest challenge is connecting the listener with the artist’s feeling behind the song.

The question remains,

Why should you hire a mixer to work on your record? 

You recorded it and are happy with the rough mixes you got back from your producer / engineer / band member with home studio. Well, someone who specializes in mixing is going to put those tracks under the microscope and enhance what is making the song special. A Mixer will breath life into your tracks and make them pump your speakers harder than you think your songs could. Every mixer has a sonic imprint. Their own musical touch. Spike Stent has his super hyped EQ that makes everything sound exciting. Andrew Scheps has his magical parallel compressors that make things jump at you from the speakers, Rich Costey has super tight drums, Machine makes drummers shine and make you feel like they are playing in front of you, Will Putney makes the heaviest guitar tones, and I can go on and on. 

Listen to your favorite records, do a little internet digging (thanks digital tracks with no booklet with credits!), and most likely you will find there has been a mixer hiding behind some of your favorite bands. Find the right conductor to your composition and you’ll never go back to those rough mixes!


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© 2019 by Alberto de Icaza.