83: The “Day Two” Recording Hack for a Better Mix

Before the days of DIY, recording music could be a more intense process. Bands were prepared to spend weeks or even months in a studio trying different instruments, different amps, different mic techniques, different arrangements, etc., – all before ever hitting RECORD. 

Mixing, on the other hand, was more about achieving balance between those carefully produced tracks. 

Today, it’s the exact opposite. We tend to throw together pristine digital recordings as quickly as possible and the QUICKLY move onto the sexy mixing phase. 

…but what if there was a hybrid approach that could be more fun and get you a more satisfying result? 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How the process of making records has evolved (and three reasons why)
  • An alternative approach and it’s possible advantages
  • A recent case study from Vadim’s studio and what he learned
  • Tips for employing the “day two” method in your own work process
  • The key mindset shift that is required for this process to work – it’s an easy one.

Where to Find the Guys
Free DIY Recording eBook: https://www.howtorecordyourband.com
Vadim’s Studio Site – Get your FREE test mix today! – https://www.calmfrogrecording.com
Benjamin’s Studio Site – https://www.dreamloudstudio.com
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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of work in front of you when you open a recently recorded session?

I’ve definitely felt this when working on my own music.

Here I’ve just spent weeks (or longer!) writing a song and then recording it to now be faced with the massive task of editing, re-amping, finalizing MIDI parts, tweaking virtual instruments, adding production elements, choosing reverb spaces, etc., – all before I can even get a static mix going.

This is what I call a “back-end loaded process” – and it’s a staple of the DIY studio.

We tend to record quickly and then rush into the “mixing” phase.

It used to be different. Back in the days of massive record budgets, bands used to spend weeks or months in the studio with producers and engineers.

They had access to dozens of instruments and amps and would even rent gear or hire session players if it was warranted.

The process was “front-end loaded”. 

They would take their time working out arrangements, trying different instruments, different microphone placements and different compressors all before hitting record with the intention of getting final takes.

Before digital, editing was more tedious and less precise so care would be taken to record excellent takes.

By the time the recording portion was finished, mixing was more a matter of blending and subtle shaping and it often took just a few hours to finish.

What changed?

For professional bands, budgets got smaller and for DIY enthusiasts…well, there wasn’t that much DIY back then!

Today 

  1. We have access to pristine digital recordings in our bedrooms.
  2. We have powerful computers which can handle a lot of DSP and precise editing down to the sample.
  3. DSP has gotten REALLY good. Plugins sound amazing!

So it’s only natural that we throw together recordings and THEN get into the business of production.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and recently tried something new. A hybrid approach.

On a recent session, I worked with an artist to get the recordings down over the course of a day.

Then, on Day Two, I tried something different.

I went through the session again, soloing each track and working it to get the best result I could FOR THAT TRACK. I didn’t worry about the mix yet.

I was focused on Solo mode. 

I committed to tones and I shaped tracks to maximize the recordings.

Then, I started a new session and began to mix. 

I call this the “Day Two Hack” and it’s what this week’s episode is all about

Ben and I talk through the pros and cons. Is it a time saver? Does it lead to a better mix? A more enjoyable mix?

Take a listen and find out!

Vadim Kharaz

Vadim Kharaz mixes and produces music through his studio Calm Frog Recording.

He co-hosts the DIY Recording Guys podcast with Benjamin Hull because he knows that with a bit of knowledge and minimal gear, it’s possible for DIY musicians everywhere to get pro-quality recordings.