Freelance remote mixing engineer based out of Chicago, IL. My training pedigree comes from Jordan Valeriote, Graham Cochrane, Joe Gilder, Chris Lorde Alge and Greg Wells. My strengths are capturing the clarity, balance, and power of each project I touch. To enhance the recording of a song in order to maximize the impact to the listener.
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Interview with Jeff Vaughn
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Workflow is very important to me as it keeps me turning out consistently good mixes. Typically, I spend some time with an initial listen through of the song, set some basic panning, gain staging, and setup the mix buss just so I have something to start with. Then it's off to the heavy lifting with EQ, compression, effects and parallel processing. Then I finish with automation and final mix buss processing. I'll send the mix off to the client for any revisions based on collaborative feedback.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work best with Rock, Hard Rock, Alternative, Progressive, etc. I like working with live drum tracks.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been mixing for 10 years. I am a musician (drummer) that played in many bands and found myself intrigued with the production side of music (recording, mixing, etc.). I wanted to be the guy in the hot seat creating slamming mixes.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Above all, satisfy the client.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: To take a raw recording and enhance it to create maximum impact to the listener!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Why don't you use Pro Tools? My answer: it doesn't matter.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That a drummer doesn't make a good mix engineer. On the contrary, drummers have incredible perspective on sonics as a drum kit represents many frequencies across the board. And, in fact, drums are the hardest instrument to mix as they are typically multiple tracks, have phasing issues to deal with, and require a ton of level adjustments and automation throughout a mix.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Do you have a rough mix of your song? Do you have a reference track of something similar you want your final mix to sound like? These are very helpful to mix engineers.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Make sure they work in the same genre of music.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Pushing the low end on the overhead drum tracks helps you hear a "ton" of air in the kick.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is serving the song. A good mix will do NO good unless you know how to serve the song. This means making decisions on dynamics, harmonies, solos, fills, and knowing what and where to sweeten things.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: My goal is to beat the reference mix given to me by the client. I have the ability to make the drums punch through and sound world dominating, vocals to have a sheen and clarity, bass to have its place in the low frequencies and sound consistent throughout, and guitars to blend and compliment each other.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I mix 100% in the box. I don't believe the type of DAW used is that important, however I use Logic Pro X and plugins from Waves, Slate Digital, and various others that help me get the desired results I'm looking for. I use PreSonus Firestudio audio interfaces, PreSonus Eris 8 studio monitors, and a sound treated room to help with reducing bass build-up or harsh frequencies.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I am hired to be the mixing engineer for the client's song, and occasionally if clients need a better drum track I can offer to record live drums since I am also a seasoned drummer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Whether they mix on an analogue console or in the box, I am inspired by Chris Lorde Alge, Jordan Valerie, Greg Wells, Jacquire King, and Joe Chiccarelli. Musicians like Gavin Harrison and Steven Wilson inspire me musically.