Specializing in multi-track mixing for Rock, Alt, Prog, electronic, and other genres. Also providing live drum tracks for your song played by a touring drummer with 15 years of experience. Previously worked for internationally renowned rock Producer/Engineer, Ed Rose (The Get-Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, Reggie and the Full Effect).
Clockwork Audio Production is owned and operated by Mike McDonough, a Kansas City native and gigging musician. Mike has been a recording engineer for the past 10 years at various project and professional recording studios and has worked with many indie artists and bands across multiple genres.
Remote Mixing - taking your multi-track song files and adding PUNCH, Warmth, Silk, and mixing them to make the song sound as good as possible. Then I bounce to a stereo mix ready for mastering.
Live drum tracking - adding live drums to your song recorded in an acoustically treated room with great gear, played by a gigging musician.
Recording Studio - located in Kansas City, contact me for inquiries about booking a recording session.
In-The-Box Mastering - Digital mastering using some of the best mastering plug-ins by Avid, Waves and Slate Digital.
Editing/Quantization/Pitch-Correction - Includes beat correction and drum replacement; removal of pops, plosive vocals, and clicks from tracking; as well as vocal pitch correction or auto-tune.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
Interview with Clockwork Audio Production
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common type of work I get to do for my clients is recording of live instruments and vocals and then mixing that song or album. I also get a lot of work where the artist will record their tracks at their home or at a friend's house and then send the tracks to me to be mixed and/or mastered.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: When I was a steady freelance engineer for producer Ed Rose, I received a lot of inspiration from him in the studio. I got to study firsthand his methods of recording a song and I really listened to and broke down his mixes. It opened my eyes to the importance of getting a great backbone to a song as soon as possible, like the drums and rhythm section. If they aren't rock solid and sounding great, the whole song can fall apart. I'm also inspired by a lot by the musicians I get to work with and my peers who are fellow engineers in my area.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is built off of my house, totally surrounded and isolated by concrete walls so I can really keep the distracting outside noises out and the kick-ass music in. It's an acoustically treated space, great for getting accurate, focused sounds when recording, and really being able to hear fine details when mixing without the room acoustics getting in the way. That's super important. My gear is centered around an 8-core Mac Pro and I use Pro Tools mostly, but also have Logic Pro on hand. All sounds get converted by a Black Lion Audio converter. At the moment I'm mixing mostly in the box. Plug-Ins have gotten really good in the last couple of years and I'm seeing a lot of studio's selling off their old analog gear in lieu of their digital versions. I still plan on expanding into some analog stuff in the near future though, just for some different flavors.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: That depends on what I'm doing that day. If I'm receiving a song to mix from a client, I typically start by listening several times through the rough mix (if there is one) to get an idea of what is going on in the song and how the artist might have envisioned it to sound. I'll then open the session and make some initial mixing moves to get it balanced and take care of any major problems that jump out at me first. Once the mix is generally balanced and major problems are dealt with, I'll start EQing and compressing different elements to get them pieced together nicely. Opening the low end up for the bass instruments and making sure there is room in the mids and highs for the melody and/or vocals to sit. After that comes automation and effects to make the mix exciting and enhance certain things for emotional impact on the listener. At this point when I'm about 75% done, I might bounce the mix to send to the artist to make sure we're on the same page with the song and take their feedback in case any adjustments need to be made before the final touches.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I always try to think of what I do as revealing a song for what the artist originally intended it to be, and in some cases, maybe even more than they envisioned. I don't think of it as my job to bring something to a song, but to reveal the best aspects of any song in the best way possible and hide any aspects of the song that might distract the listener from the emotional connection that they should experience when listening to it. The music should have energy, life, and emotion. The mix balanced, pleasant, and out of the way.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is that i myself am a performing artist and I can understand a lot of what an artist goes through when putting their music into the hands of someone else to work on. Because of this, I always work WITH the artist to get their vision to come out of the speakers when someone hits play. A lot of engineers and mixers I see will try to tell the artist how things should be done and how their song should be treated and they seem to have this "don't tell me how to mix your song because I'm the mixer and I know best" attitude. I just think that's the absolute wrong attitude to have.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I most often work on varieties of rock, hip hop, R&B, and instrumental progressive music. I can work within any genre and I really like getting different genres of music to work on because it offers a fresh perspective.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Sure! A lot of people may know this already, but high-pass everything that isn't a bass instrument in the mix! Bass guitars, sub-synths, kick drums and the like should be the only things going on down there. Otherwise you lose valuable headroom and create muddiness when frequencies that you may not even hear are fighting for low end space.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Pharell - Because I think he has great taste, is genuinely interesting and talented, and having my name in the credits of one of his songs would really boost my career!
Q: How would you describe your style?