Lu Diaz’s Mixing Engineer Philosophy
I’ve been a mixing engineer professional for over 20 years and my philosophy is still very simply, don’t reinvent the wheel “Less is More” Although I am a huge fan of technology and all that is next level, I try to always find the simplest answer to a sonic problem. Let me give you an example, I get mix session files everyday and in many cases the recording engineer has a set up for a rough mix. In many cases I get projects that need to be mixed again. In either case I’ll explore through the general approach and often find that young engineers that have not yet refined their ability to decipher between what they are looking at and what they are hearing. In other words what happens to newbie mixing engineers is they assume a certain plug ins will achieve a certain sound but are not really hearing what that plug in is doing or not doing. So what ends up happening is I see vocal chains and setups that are ridiculously over done and crowded. Now if you’re running 10 plug ins on a vocal chain and you actually achieved a sonic goal or fixed a problem then of course by all means do what you have to do, but when I disarm everything on the chain and the original vocal or instrument sounds better….. you are definitely overshooting in your approach. I always keep in mind that am here to make the song sound amazing and not here to make my mix session look amazing and complicated. I find that in 99% of the time my philosophy to mixing is always the right approach. It is very important to have the best equipment possible but with out the proper experience and mixing hours spent getting your ears dialed in, you are just going to have beautiful equipment to look at. Remember that the most important piece of this puzzle is not gear, equipment, Plug ins, converters or any other magic box. It is simply your ears and without those, you are not going to land that mix where it is supposed to sit. I know to some people it may sound cliche but if you use logic you have to wonder why some mixing engineers charge so much money while others charge peanut for a mix. I’ve worked with thousands of artist throughout my career, many big names and unsigned artist as well, and what they all have in common is they want their music to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best. These artist are not paying for the equipment I use, they are paying for the experience and judgement I will use when making crucial decisions with the mix. From simply equalizing and compression to arranging and correcting. the best tool I have hands down is my ears and experience. Its not only how many fancy tricks you may have in your arsenal or how many high end plug ins in your system, it is to know when and when not to use these tools that is truly the most important.