I have been mixing this record for quite some time. A couple months actually, because it's so hard to put enough time in every day. I've been neglecting my friends and family, working alone in my lair to revise and recolor something that I put together myself in the first place. Going a little stir-crazy. Nonetheless, I thought it had been going pretty well.
Until I got home last night from a great meeting with Mec, who runs Rock Slinger Incorporated, and Rick, who is designing the art for If We Were, and found a CD waiting for me in the mail. I'd sent my final mix of Far Side out for a "ballpark master" from the mastering engineer I'd been planning to use, to make sure I wanted to go with him.
I popped in the CD. I put it up next to my final mix. I listened; I compared. I was not happy.
Right at that moment, as if I'd summoned him with my mind, my friend the record producer popped onto Facebook chat to tell me he liked our Radiohead cover, and I sent him the two versions. He reminded me of something I'd forgotten:
No amount of mastering can save a bad mix.
There's a relevant idiom I can't quite remember, something like: You can put makeup on a horse, but it won't make him pretty. (Isn't there something like that? If not, well, you're welcome.)
So record producer friend tells me he is going to change my life, and he makes a suggestion:
Take one song, put all the individual vocal/instrumental tracks in a zip file together, and post it on renowned sound engineer forum gearslutz.com as a contest. Throw it up on Craigslist NY and LA as well, and anywhere else I can think of. Whoever gives me the best mix of that song within a limited time frame gets to mix the whole EP with the money I was going to pay for mastering, plus some extra. But they have to turn it around in a week, so I can still make my deadline.
He thinks the promise of a nice wad of cash with a quick turnaround, given the current state of the big studio system, will entice much better engineers than I would expect. They will certainly be better than I. And a well-mixed song with passable mastering will sound MUCH better than a passable mix that's well-mastered.
I like the idea, but I'm not sure. The idea of relinquishing any measure of creative control, even to a pro who I'll choose because I like his/her work, and who I'll constantly be giving commentary to, is scary. But it seems to make so much sense!
This is where you folks come in. What do you think? Should I do this?!?!?!