The Mixing Studio Sessions

Recordings are done… and the actually hard part comes… MIXING ALL OUR SESSIONS!

Most of the songs consist of around 80 channels (single ones…) and probably they will be double in the end. So that gives you a first idea of the difficulty factor.

Longing for the first day…

The Mixing Studio Sessions #1: Clouds

One week ago I was happy as an 8-year old child that receives their birthday presents. Happiness was taken from me though on Monday, 22nd of December 2008. I was not the one though.

After a week or two I returned to the studio to – finally – begin the mixing process. Delighted to the thought we would put down all the recorded material I headed to the Fab Liquid.

Unfortunately, due to an unknown cause, there was something terribly wrong with the mixing desk. Long story made short, after 30 nervous breakdowns Ottomo decided to open up the console and find what’s wrong: a couple of resistors were literally baked so he decided to change them, but that made it all worse.

After a week now, the guys at the studio are still trying to work it out through online and phone services via the US… And that’s the bad news.

The good news is that after all this stress Ottomo made a great effort and managed to pull out a home-made-mixdown. I need a draft mix for the record label (to seal the deal ;)) and he made ends meet: replaced on his PC windows Vista with XP as Nuendo is not compatible with the latest Microsoft products… he mixed all the channels (about 80 in each songs) and produced a first mix without any plug-ins or effects… in other words… raw songs, rough mix.

Ottomo mixed three songs for a start: “Sin”, “X” and “The Rapist”.

Sin sounds as it should. Proper feeling and atmosphere, it really sounds as the CD’s introduction. It introduces the listener to the “Potentially Infinite” world elegantly. In my opinion, we need to add more “ambience” to the cello and violin; we’ll have to see about it. The drums are great, the Beast is always remembered when I listen to the rhythmic patterns combined with sensuous performance! I love the final part where everyone gives their best (it may sound too post-rock but it’s fine by me).

“X” needs some more work to be done. However, the part I was scared of, that is, the instrumental one, is… worth of all the waiting J Ottomo needs to add a couple of instruments, I’ll be waiting for the final mix.

It’s a bit harder with “The Rapist”: there were few mistakes (lost violin parts, absent cello and backing vocals) but we shall work it out…

In all, I’m pleased with the outcome. I’m sure in the end, it will rock hard…

The Mixing Studio Sessions #2: It’s been a long time

I sense the end is near (metaphorically speaking). 

Three more songs are on the way!

Death in the family: Lovely guitars, crunchy bass, tight and concrete vocals and then, strings’ paranoia… awww… you have to love them! 

Down on my knees: amazing we recorded this song without any metronome ticking… I’m proud of this actually! Vocals need more work, strings need a spice, guitars need more balancing. Overall, it shall progress structurally 🙂

Clink: a hell of a song. It took ages for everyone to record. I love the drums, strings and oboe. They are the song’s spine.

I hope I can get my hands on “You break it ” and “Heaven’s lie #3” soon… I’m over-excited!

The Mixing Studio sessions #3: Long time, no see, however I still remember my songs. (11/2/09)

The date was set for today. Of course, I was late as expected. I always set up people when I’ve got a great reason to do it. I only slept 4 hours as I have to turn in a paper soon, and I woke up late-ish (about 10) but I stayed in bed until 10:30 so there was no way I could get to the appointment by 11. 

But Mike was waiting at the studio, patiently (as always); but he didn’t know what was going to happen…

We started editing and mixing “Sin” at 11:30 and we had a break at 2:30. Non-stop listening and editing… We had to re-arrange the strings at the end, as there were few mistakes; then we added several effects on cello, vocals and violins; worked out the bass line; fix rhythmic parts on cello; and so many more details that cannot be described. I went out wanting to shout loud and never listen to “Sin” again. This was a great sign, it meant we’re almost there! You can listen to a preview version on and on myspace (check main page). 

Then it was time for “X”, aka pain in the ass for everyone: re-arranged cello, violin and oboe; altered vocal effects and space; added synths; removed unwanted string parts at chorus; removed reverb from cello parts; added chorus on cello parts; added delay on cello parts; removed all the previous because we didn’t like it; mixed the oboe part that was for some unknown reason decayed; added effects on my backing vocals; trimmed the drums at the end so they would finish appropriately. And the list of changes goes on…

Funny day for “Heaven’s Lie #3”. For an hour or so, we were stuck all together, Mike, Ret (extremely helpful to have her around the studio!) and me a specific part where nothing happens but guitars. I think we pulled through a quite good version. However, I’m appalled by the lack of effect plug-ins at the studio. I didn’t like that at all. Anyway, we had an argument about oboe and cello melodies at the end. In all, we did what I wanted :P. 

At 8 in the evening (yes, that’s nine hours in the studio so far) we started editing “Death in the family”. We fixed the “classical” part (when you listen to it, you’ll know which I mean) and also we re-arranged strings. Lovely work today! More on Friday (supposedly): “Death in the familiy”, “The Rapist”, “Clink”, “Down on my knees” and hopefully, “You break it” to end it. 



During these two days we had the chance to finish mixing “Potentially Infinite”. 

“Death in the family” was an easy thing to do, we didn’t really change much. Same thing for “The Rapist” and “Clink”; it went like a charm! There were few difficulties with “down on my knees” as I decided to make many changes at the end, so we had to edit everything, from drums to vocals. But now it sounds much better… “You break it” was a real pain in the ass. We couldn’t figure what to do with the guitars. In the end, we added delay, extra chorus and reverb and doubled them and they are as good as new!

Well, you know they say that mixing never ends. And that’s actually so true. If I could turn back time, I’d go back to mid December and push things in order to finish mixing then. It took 2 months to finish the CD, that’s not acceptable. Indeed, there was work that needed to be done, but we should have had better organised our schedule (all of us). I am pleased with the outcome and I think it’s ready to be mastered and then, to be published. Time to promote… 


One thought on “The Mixing Studio Sessions

  1. Pingback: Mix update « Christabel Etheriel’s musicblog

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