Modern Mixing Dilemmas

By Blair Jackson
MIX Feb 1, 2006


It's a given that nearly every aspect of the world of audio production is constantly in flux, shaped by the latest formats and equipment in vogue at any particular moment. If you revisit our articles on “current issues in mixing” from seven or eight years ago, you would read a lot about format compatibility. At the time, many mixers were dealing with projects that combined 2-inch multitrack (analog or digital, and in many cases both), either ADAT or DA-88 MDM tapes and perhaps some sort of hard disk source, as well; had to love the editing capabilities of those systems, even if they didn't always sound so good. The outboard gear that was used to “warm up” the digital tapes was different from what might be needed for tracks recorded to analog tape, precisely because that medium was already warm. And the MDM tracks often sounded thin next to the 2-inch ones.

Grammy-winning engineer/producer Rafa Sardina, Spanish by birth but a longtime L.A. transplant, has a sturdy track record with many Latin and Anglo projects (Macy Gray, Luis Miguel, Angie Stone, Alejandro Sanz), as well as, from time to time, music-for-film projects. Working with files from different film composers, “You get all sorts of formats, especially Logic Audio; there seems to be a migration to that in this community of composers,” he says. “A lot still use Digital Performer, and a couple of times I've had people sending me stuff from Cubase. It can be time-consuming importing into Pro Tools, but it isn't hard.”

Sardina says that on a recent film score for Madea's Family Reunion, “We had to work on a few different locations simultaneously and the one technical advance that made it possible was the use of the Internet to send and receive files among all the people involved in the project. Regardless of the advances, the one thing that really shocks me is the fact of being at my own studio, After Hours in Los Angeles, mixing all of the music and not seeing anyone else involved during the process: Every decision, comment or change was transmitted over the Internet. I recorded the score in New Orleans, and two days later, I was already mixing at my studio. The orchestral work was self-explanatory, but the other half of the cues in the movie were so diverse that I had to use my gut and sense of the atmosphere the scenes were going for. There were full-band pieces, percussion cues and anything else imaginable. I nailed most of them, and the ones I didn't, I got an e-mail with the revision notes! I was missing that human interaction.”

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For photographs, bio or additional info contact
claris dodge/Cpr
818-990-3031 ph 818-990-3361 fx
Or Visit: http://www.rafasardina.com/