An empty patchbay during a recent mixing session.
“It took a few years for me to develop a sense of informed restraint…” “…this in turn led to more and more commitment during the tracking stages of a recording, compressing vocals as much as you’d expect in the finished mix, distorting the drums with mic preamps, sculpting sounds till they are as you expect to hear them in the final mix…and THAT is the sound you record. (It has helped me tremendously to sort of) Imagine I am [you are] cutting the record live to 2-track, where the recording and mixing are done simultaneously. It sharpens the senses in a way, focusing energies into getting the appropriate sounds from the instruments rather than ‘cool’, ‘exaggerated’, ‘flexible’ or whatever sounds an undirected approach might suggest. Interestingly, the less flexible I remain in the tracking stage of a recording, the better the recording often turns out. This is probably a long way of saying that there is value in narrowing the window of time in which you are critically focused, and forced to make lasting decisions (as opposed to the nearly infinite window of home-produced laptop fiddling that’s become a hallmark of the modern recording era).