Mixing engineers Tchad Blake and Andrew Scheps did a session at NAMM 2020 at the Mix with the Masters booth. A super interesting conversation. Scheps says he mixes mostly on a pair of Sony MDR 7506 headphones (industry standard, very cheap). So no room acoustic issues for him. Both he and Tchad are mixing in none treated rooms. And they don’t use impulse responses to correct room acoustic issues. A dead sounding room is good enough for them.
It’s the old saying they are agreeing to: if you know your stuff, that’s all it takes.
I fully agree on this one. It’s not about the tools, it’s all about knowing your tools.
And it got super interesting when Tchad talked about the two wonderful Latin Playboys records which have this amazing loose feel, cool vibes and sounds. These records have changed my life. You can find them for example at Spotify:
Here’s what Tchad had to say about those groundbreaking albums:
It was recorded (by David Hidalgo) on a 4-track cassette, and it was broken.
There was so much noise on that thing. It’s not like we thought: “let’s make this an atmospheric record with ambient sounds.” It was like: “oh my god the noise on the bass track is like GRRR$$$###SSS###$$$SSSSSSS!!! while the bass was recorded at this super low level.” So instead of trying to get rid of it, which I couldn’t, we added just more noise. Like ambience, a waterfall, or a water stream going down. So that noise became a stream going by. That’s how that came about. Wasn’t a grant design.
Here’s the whole session with Tchad and Andrew:
P.S. Here’s an additional quote from Tchad coming from a Q&A he did for Gearslutz years ago:
Most of the LP album was recorded by Dave Hidalgo on four track cassette. After we finished the Kiko album David was fired up with ideas and started recording on a very badly out of alignment four track. He recorded late nights in his kitchen using utensils for percusion and in his attic. A few months later he gave Mitchell (Froom) a cassette of rough mixes. All instrumental. We listened at the studio (Sound Factory) and just about wept. Thought it was beautiful, had a talk with Dave and Louie and decided to make it an album.
The first job was to transfer the four track audio to 24 track but the original four track machine was broken and we couldn’t re-align the new deck to the old tape. There was so much crosstalk of tracks, out of phase what-not and noise we clearly needed to camoflage.
Adding outdoor binaural ambience and re-recording stuff through pipes and adding distortion were all ways of covering up those serious problems but ultimately helped bring on the final sound.
First album 70% done on a four track.
‘Dose’ was a step up to 8 track casstte.