Have your music sound like a commercial record. Do you have an amazing song but it sounds like it came out of FL Studio or GarageBand? Perhaps you have recorded live instruments and vocals but it doesn’t sound like the records on the radio. That’s where I come in. Take your music to the next level by hiring a professional mix engineer.
I have been a mix engineer for over 20 years. Mixing everything from albums, music videos, live performance shows, television, and radio. The genres spanned from EDM, Pop, Pop-Rock, Heavy Rock, Rock, Reggae, R&B, Hip-Hop, Trap, Soca, Afrobeat. Until recently, I’ve been working with clients physically present in the studio. By request, I have moved my services to be remote and online.
Why do my clients choose me to mix and master their music? After all, there are a lot of mix engineers graduating from technical schools. These recent graduates provide fast and cheap service. Interestingly, some of my clients sought out for me because they were not happy with the mix they have received from other engineers. When it comes down to it, it depends on the quality and the “sound” of the mix.
By “sound”, I mean the unique style of the mix engineer. I started mixing on analog gear, cutting reel-to-reel tapes. My “sound” is based on analog techniques. A lot of commercial records are as well. I also spend a lot of time with session prep, where most of the work to get a great sounding record comes from. Rushing through this only hurts your mix at the end. I also spend time playing the mix on different types of systems, in mono and stereo, to see how well the sonics hold up in real-world scenarios. These are not things you get with fast and cheap.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
1 ReviewsEndorse Lance
Lance did an amazing job. I really couldn't be happier. The first mix he gave sounded professional but I really wanted it to have crazy bass. He explained that the mix style was more balanced for rock. He asked for a reference track to get an idea for the bass I was looking for. The next version shook the room. He will make your track sound professional. He receptive and is proactive to communicate where he is in the process.
Interview with Lance
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Blake Eiseman
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: A project I worked on that I am particularly proud of is a track I made with a Soca artist. The song was played nationally in his island. He went on and won an award for it. I am proud of it because I am not from there and I was not sure if they would accept my mix because it may not sound like what they were used to. It was really gratifying seeing the crowd dance to it.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am working on an R&B album for an artist. I've done songs with him in the past along with music videos and live performance.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I work digital now with analog emulation with UAD products. I personally like the sound of the warmth and harmonic distortion that analog brings but having a room full of equipment is not efficient. You are also limited by the space you have in your room and on your rack and what equipment you have. In the digital world, UAD emulation sounds really good and you can have multiple instances of equipment and put it on every track if you want. With the physical hardware, you can only use it on one track. You would need to have more copies of the physical hardware if you want it on more tracks. My studio is portable. I have a field recorder so I can literally physically record and mix anywhere in the world. I do have a theory, however. My era grew up where most of the songs were mixed with analog gear. Therefore, that is what we are used to. The current generation might not be so in love with the sound. They maybe more used to a more transparent sound because so many songs now can be done digitally.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to give every project the attention it needs and not just go through the motion to make a quick buck. I spend a lot of time listening to the mix on my different speakers and compare it to similar songs to make sure it stands up next to them.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: My favorite part of the job is when the client receives the final product. A lot of my clients now make songs in something like FL Studio. They are really surprised on how professional their same project sounds after it was professionally mixed.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The question I get the most is "how long does it take"?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Mixing is subjective. Technically, there isn't really a right or wrong, it is a matter of taste, preference, genre of music. However, most music the average person consumes is "commercial". The songs you hear on the radio have certain aspects in common, similar to films in Hollywood. If you want your song to sound "commercial", the conscious effort to make the record sound like a commercial record has to be made. It is not automatic. Even with that decision, there are other variables. For example, the genre and the era plays a role. Songs from the 80's with thin synthetic snares and super wet reverb is generally not accepted these days unless it is an homage. Another misconception is that the artist have to be a well known star to have a professional sounding record. In the past, there was a barrier that only stars were able to get their songs professional record, mixed, and mastered. Now it is more accessible to everyone. Even the song recorded in GarageBand can stand next to a radio ready song.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: - Do you have your tracks bounced to individual wav or aiff files at 24bit? - Are the effects taken out of the bounced tracks? - If the effect is important to the song, can you give me a copy with the effect and without the effect. - Make sure the fader was set to unity gain zero (0) when bouncing tracks. - Do you have reference music you want your mix to sound similar to? - What is the main focus of the track (i.e. emphasis on the heavy bass, or guitar solo). - Do your tracks have everything needed within it to get the result you want? For example, a client wants heavy bass, there should be an adequate bassline to work with. - Are the tracks clean and not clipping? Mixing enhances what was there. Mixing cannot save a sub-optimal recording.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to the song samples. If you like my sound and would like your record to sound similar, hire me.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: If I had to be minimalist, I would just take a powerful MacBook laptop (ease of use, and SSD drive) and Pro Tools. I can mix with just stock plugins if I had to. It would be a lot more work to mimic certain effects, color, warmth, brightness but it is doable. If I can have up to 5 gear (Assuming Pro Tools or any other DAW do not count as a gear): - Avalon 737 - Fairchild - Pultec - 1176 - Neve Console
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: How I got into mixing was through a friend back in high school in the 90's. He went to a studio to record a song. I never been in a studio before and I was really captivated by it. It had a dedicated recording booth that was dead silent inside. I had never experience that before. There was a mixing board, reel-to-reel, and a rack full gear. Unlike mixing in-the-box, you had limited number of gear and limited number of tracks. You had to be more conscious of what will get what effect or how many tracks you could record or if you should record multiple sounds on a single track to save space. Depending what you wanted to do, you would re-route the gear to the track. I thought it was cool connecting all the wires. Punch-in and overdubs where done with cutting tape. You also had to be conscious of how much tape you have. I was so interested in the process that I asked the mixing engineer if he can teach me how it works. He agreed and became his protege. After awhile, he allowed me to record and mix by myself. Back then, it wasn't easy to record a song and have it mixed and mastered like it is now. You had to go to a studio to get it done. We would get a lot of serious talents that usual do live shows to record their songs for radio play. In the early 2000, we started to move into the digital world. More people where making their own instrumentals in Fruity Loops which later became FL Studio. I was using Pro Tools to record but still used out-board gear for processing. Over the years, computers got way more powerful and the plugins sound quality started to be a much closer match to the sound of the out-board gear. Now, I use Universal Audio UAD. I have been fortunate enough to work with some world renowned, Grammy award winning artists. I am also fortunate to have become friends with other mixing engineers that worked on some albums I admired when I grew up. It is great to have them because I can call them up and get their opinion on how they would approach a mix and compare how I would do it.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am personally a fan of more bass heavy music. I really like mixing songs that thumps your speakers.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Justin Timberlake. I really like what he have done creatively on the Justified album.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use A/B referencing to a target song you or your client want the song to sound like.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: In the past, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Dancehall Reggae. Now I am getting a lot more request for Pop, Trap, EDM, and Rock.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Focus and attention to detail. I really make sure the mix works on many different systems.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I can make a song sound like a commercial record. It can be played next to other commercial songs on a playlist and sound like it belongs there and not sound like a demo.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Most of my work is in session prep. If you have a really clean tracks and an organized session, mixing is just a creative process. You don't have to worry about all the technical overhead. Unfortunately, session prep requires time and can be tedious. I first analyze the tracks I have and identify which are stereo and which are mono. I still believe that you get a better result if you mainly clean tracks instead of relying 100% on gates, compressors, dessers. This is where I would delete all dead-space to make sure there aren't any hidden sounds/noise. I would also adjust the overall gain and control the peaks to get a more consistant RMS. I would then bring in the tracks, gain stage, and do a general rough mix before I do any routing or effects. I want it to be the best mix possible before adding any special sauce to enhance it. I would then do a print out of the mix to use for my A and B comparison. I then do routing and corrective processing. Then I add the special effects to what I would like to stand out. During the mixing process, I have reference songs of similar styles to compare. I also toggle between mono and stereo to hear if the mix works and sounds cut through, even in mono. Depending on the genre of song, emphasis of certain elements are made. For example, trap, hip-hop, R&B, the low end (bass and kick) are dominant. They take up most of the energy and everything else have to be balanced for it to work. At the same time, the vocals must cut through. For rock music, there are a lot of guitar and percussion, which competes for the same frequencies as the vocals. Space in the frequencies must be carved out for the vocals to live. Bass is used more to thicken the song and not be the main element.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I started in a completely analog studio, cutting reel-to-reel tapes. Now, I mix in-the-box. In my physical studio, I have a recording booth. I use a Neuman U 87 microphone and either a Blue Robbie as a pre-amp or a Avalon VT737, depending on the sound source. For studio monitors, I use mainly Auratone 5C Super Sound Cube while I mix. If I can hear the mix, especially the bass, well through these monitors, the mix will translate to small speakers such as iphones/ipad speakers, laptop speakers, stock television speakers, google home speakers. These are the speakers most people listen music on. Once I have it working with that, I listen with Audio-Technica ATH-M40fs headphones to hear what the frequencies are doing. These professional studiophones offer a flat, extended frequency response for professional studio monitoring. I then check the mix with Rokit 8, and KRK 10S to hear the low-end sub-bass and punch of the kick. I have mixed a lot of hip-hop, trap, dancehall reggae and the bass MUST shake the room in a club or in cars with subwoofers. I have been using Pro Tools for years as it is the industry standard and it makes it easier to collaborate with others in the field. I use Universal Audio UAD audio interfaces and plugins. I find their plugins sound the best and as close to a rack of real hardware. My computer is pretty powerful, with 128 gigs of RAM, 2 SSD harddrives and M-Audio sound card. I also use Nvidia Titan RTX, which is the fatest professional GPU (not a gaming card) available to the world. The GPU is useful when adding a score to a film because it accelerates the video processing and does not tax my CPU.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: In terms of mixing engineer professionals that are known that inspires me: Charles Dye because his techniques helped me mix in-the-box. Andrew Scheps as well because I really like his sound and his technique for mixing out-of-the-box and translating those techniques to mix in-the-box.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mixing Engineer for genres Pop, Hip Hop, Trap, R&B, Rock.