Home Studio Owners: how did your first halfway serious mix/master for pay turn out?


This question is specifically for those owners of home studios who did not go to school to learn the trade. How did the first for pay project turn out? What were some of the mistakes you may have made?

My first one turned out average. But the methodology of communication and delivery was awful. We did not communicate on some things concerning auto-tune. And another thing I did wrong was sending too many mixes their way via email so that they got buried in confusion. I wasn't good enough with making it sound right on the first or second mix. It took 20 or so mixes on my own to get a good sound, something I would be proud to put out. I'm including the first mastered mix and the last mastered mix below (which I worked on my own long after the project was over). I was charging $15/hr, which is very reasonable, but it took me a long time to edit things which racked up the hours unfortunately.

The differences between these two are pretty subtle, I can't tell much of a difference between the two, except some OCD issues...

In the Pines - first mastered mix - Banjo Hangout Jukebox

In the Pines - last mastered mix - Banjo Hangout Jukebox
I am not sure how to reply to this question. The mix to me lacks a space and 'glue' that makes it feel like a live experience. Sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear. But then again, this is not my genre.

I am likely not the best guy to offer opinion here so don't take it to heart. I am likely wrong.

I dig the tune! Again, not my thing but I like it. :)

I would have to go back 30 years ago to criticize my first mix. The technology was not so good for home recording and I was young and inexperienced.

Each and every project I work on get's easier and better. Time and experience has a way of evolving what we do. It all worth the time to me.

To make this a ready for radio mix, I would suggest a bunch more work with the mix. Again, I might just be an asshole.. :)
Well, I'm glad to see Huddie Ledbetter is still inspiring to some :-)

I'd try a widener on the matering track. It sounds a bit bland but all youve got going on here is an acoustic and a banjo plus 2 vocals (i could be very wrong here) but you need to spice it up a bit. Id try and make it sound as big as possible.

My first couple "paid" jobs never equated to much. I was running low tech with a presonus firepod, a PC with a P4 proc and windows XP. It was fun though.

I think the more you move forward with things and the more jobs you score youll get a better feel of what you need to do.

What's your equipment?

The Ferry Man
The thing I remember is that asking opinion on demos and early version mixes is business wise, a really bad move. My first real mistake was in the late seventies when parody songs were really popular and for cover my back purposes I sent an early mix to the people the parody was linked to. Big big mistake. They didn't mind but revisions suggestions came fast and furious. Impossible to do without wrecking it. You also need to check the musical standard of the people you ask. If the client IS musical, then their personal preference will leak in. Bass players want bass tweaks, but a pianist wants the piano upfront. Equally they could be musically illiterate. Give them an early demo at your peril. They will assume it's the finished product because they don't understand the process. Your queries will be on tiny detail that passes them by. The usual rule of thumb is never go over a choice from more than three. If you sent a fourth exactly the same as one of the others they'd not notice.

I'm also firmly of the opinion that going to school to learn audio is a bad move and the best people I work with now are best because they are intelligent and have ears! School speeds up the process for the good ones, but gives qualifications to others that has no link to competence. The training should be on business, as in the music business. You learn audio by doing it and research but how to market and deal with clients is well worth learning properly.

I'm really not joking about sending duplicates. I sent a video edit to a client last month and by mistake sent the previously rejected one which they now loved "after the revisions I'd made" - there were none!!!

As I have got older mybattitudevis to NOT ask the client on anything other than major points. They pay you to finish the project. Don't give them too much input or they will over control. They are not partners they are clients. Some choices are your skills and experience not theirs.

Bluegrass mixes can be bland in general, unless you're playing with Alison Krauss and Union Station.. but it's a pretty traditional music with traditional blends. The mic was a Shure KSM32, going into a GAP Pre73 jr, and into a presonus interface. We recorded in 88.2kHz into a PC.

Yeah, there is a lot more to learn and experiment with.

That's how I'm feeling about it lately, not too much input is a good thing. Thanks for helping answer my question
I can't comment on the "for pay" aspect, as this is just a hobby for me.

RE: the two mixes you posted, the final one is definitely the better of the two. On the first, it seemed the guitar was too strong and boomy, which overpowered the vocals.

I would have liked a bit more sparkle on the voices. They just seemed to lack a bit of presence that would bring them forward a bit in the mix. Otherwise I think it sounds fairly good.

Did you do the mastering yourself, or have an outside house do it?
this is what I see when I click on the tracks.

a blank screen with a drop down list of a bunch of unknown selections?


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