Tools and… TOOLS!!!

I had to mix an EP, and the producer wanted to be with me when I mix, which is OK. As we worked, he confessed that, while he is producing for over 10 years now, he never got involved into the technical details of the mixing, but now he is building a studio and he hopes to produce and then mix himself in the very near future. 

That is nothing new, so many guys are doing it, and, most of the time, for the right reasons. However, at a moment he asked me how do I decide what to use (analog or digital, as I mix hybrid), and, especially, how do I choose the plugins I am using, given that I have so many of them. The short answer was that it’s great to have options, to explore them, so you can choose the best tool for the job. 

That was actually a standard answer. But I actually did not stop thinking about it: really, why do I have all UAD’s, Waves, Sonnox, FabFilter, Brainworks, Relab, Soundtoys, Eventides, probably I need a few rows to mention all of them, way too many…I probably can restrict myself to less than 20% of what I have. In fact, 40 years ago, there weren’t too many options, so people got to get creative to get new sounds…Right?

Actually wrong… I just think that this is a bulshit maintained by some old guys in the industry… I don’t think that applies to mixing… I do welcome as many tools as possible. I had to do some fine EQ, and I wanted to go with a parallel EQ. I did reach for the Sonnoris one, however, the Clariphonics, with its Focus and Clarity was the answer. Sometimes a Center is enough for a M/S thing, but a newer generation of M/S processors - Brainworks - offer more options. 

Even more, when it comes to hardware emulations, the UAD SSL G is quite different than the waves one, or the Cytomic one. Nuff said, I understand the minimalistic approach, and kudos for the ones that are doing it. However, I do enjoy to have options, meaning tools, and some of them are so innovative, and they stimulate the creativity and, more important, they bring a sense of joy and excitement, as they help you open doors that you never knew they existed. 

While the music business has so many ups and downs, when it comes to production tools, this is the best time in history!

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