By Glenn Sawyer
Last week I talked about the dangers of ‘fixing it in the mix’ and this week I want to touch on commitment. Commitment means making a decision and sticking to it, and it can make life in the studio much better. The idea of commitment is equally important when you’re thinking about shaping parts and tones, but I’m going to focus on the tone side of things for this post.
At the advent of recording, committing was the only option. When you record a big band to a wax cylinder with one mic you get what you get. These days producers have a variety of tools at their disposal which allows them to change and adjust tones throughout the process so there is a lot more flexibility when it comes to ‘fixing’ things, but also a greater risk of things getting out of control.
When Rich and I are producing we always look to commit to tones. The reason for this is that every decision we make is dependent on the decisions we’ve made before. Let’s say that we’ve got the drums and bass recorded and now we’re ready to track guitars. The amount of low end in the bass will dictate how much low end we can put in the guitars. Although the guitar by itself might sound good with a little extra low end, it’s not going to jive with the bass as they will be fighting for the same space. Because we’ve committed to the bass tone we can be confident that pulling out some of the low end in the guitars is the right decision as it’s already represented in the track. This allows us to know exactly where we are at at all times and we can dial each subsequent tone with confidence because of it.
The other benefit to committing is that there are no surprises in the mix. By committing fully to each tone and part as we build the production we end up with a track that sounds very similar to what it will sound like mixed. You can hear how everything fits together and, consequently, have a very clear idea of what the finished mix will sound like. So whether you’re working with us on your masterpiece or woodshedding demos at your house, give commitment a try, I think you’ll like the results.