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Visiting Mark Needham’s Studio in LA

Transcript
Hi, I’m Mark, and we’re in my studio — Red Oak Studios here in Los Angeles, and I have kind of two studios I bounce back and forth between. This is the LA one, and we have one in Nashville as well. The rooms sound a little different, and that’s one place that Sonarworks has really come to be a helpful tool for me. I’d be working on something here in the morning, then land in Nashville, and finish working on it at night, and still feel like, “Oh, this still feels like the same song” when I pop it up in a different room.

Especially for me when I’m moving from room to room, just knowing that I can walk in and the project’s going to sound pretty much the same in whatever room I’m in, and with my headphones, it’s going to sound the same from my speakers to my headphones, and from this set of speakers in LA to the set of speakers in Nashville.

It’s just reassuring. When you walk in and it sounds different, then you start doubting the choices that you’ve made, and I don’t like to do that. I like to forge ahead really quickly, and my decisions, I’m not sort of second guessing myself.

I mean, the Sonarworks was a big part of that, it made it really easy for me to get all three rooms sounding consistent without having to reshoot the room.

[mix]

You know, your speakers down a couple dB in the top end, that affects every EQ choice you make across anywhere from 80 or 30 to 200 channels, on every EQ, those things all start to build up, you know, and that might be things that I’m readjusting with my master EQ, and if I could just make those choices all along, it might make a five or ten percent difference in the end product. It might be a small difference, but overall, I mean, accumulatively, that’s a huge different to me, you know?

I just, to me, the top end, I’m thinking that upper-mid range is a bit easier to really feel when things are poking out too much, or a guitar is too gritty, or a vocal is spitting too much. You know, those kind of choices.

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[mix]

I mix for a lot of people around the world, and at the end, I’m sending my session back to them, we send a backup copy, I notice I get a lot more sessions in over the past year, two years coming back to being sent to me now with Sonarworks on, especially in the past year. So I’ll see a Sonarworks plugin coming back in because I’ve been sending out so many sessions with it. And I see more and more people using it. If I could have — working with bands, either in their home studios, or on the road in headphones, there’s just stuff we were talking about before, being able to discuss choices that we’re making, if they’re hearing something similar, it makes it easier for me, hearing two problems and getting everybody kind of on the same page. I’m understanding what they say they’re understanding.

[mix]

I like to just get into a place where I believe in my speakers, so therefore, I believe in the choices I’m making. I mean, my initial reaction is probably the same with any engineer, where you shoot your room and you change the speakers, and you go, “Oh my god, something’s wrong here! Is it them or is it…”

Because even slight adjustments to me seem really major, because this is all I do twelve hours a day. Actually, when I switched to Sonarworks, after a week, I started feeling a little more confident in some of my choices. I spend a little less time second guessing myself. If I’m really second guessing something, I might go out and listen in my car or another environment, but that’s not very often. I want to believe that what I’m hearing is what I should be hearing, and make my choices really quickly built on that assumption.

If more people could hear those — you know, could really feel those choices helping to get across the emotion of the song, that would be awesome.

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