Chris Lord-Alge, if you haven’t heard of him, is one bad-ass mixing engineer.
He has over 750 credits to his name. He’s mixed artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Deftones and Avril Lavigne.
He’s generally known for his hard-hitting and loud mixes. They’re punchy and compressed but still clean and pristine.
But his secret isn’t his use of compression.
Besides, you would go bankrupt in a matter of hours if you decided to buy the gear he uses.
Outboard gear and console mixing.
Talk about flat broke.
No, that’s not the mixing secret I wanted to talk about.
His secret is the way he approaches his mixes. He simplifies everything. I’ve never seen so much comping, grouping and bussing going on.
For example, in one of his mixes with My Chemical Romance he took a recording of 159 tracks and comped it down to only 44 tracks!
That’s a crazy amount of simplification.
But there’s a great lesson in here.
Essentially, he’s grouping together tracks and bouncing them to stereo tracks to use as stems.
Like he says himself:
“There were 26 Pro Tools tracks of huge marching snares and rooms and ambience, which we called the March. It’s comped down to a stereo pair.” (Sound on Sound).
Simplifying your mix by creating a ton of submixes can help you navigate your mix easier.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin with 159 tracks. At least 44 sounds doable.
If you do this you end up with a more manageable mix. And all the same principles of EQ and compression apply. Just think of it like a cross between a mixing and a mastering session. Because you’re making all the submixes sound great on their own as well as together using buss EQ and compression.
That’s the secret. That’s his professional approach to his mixes.
And wouldn’t you know, that’s exactly what I teach you in the first chapters of Mixing Strategies.
Check it out here:
Image by: Dennis AB