Day 23 - Touchup day

When I woke up Rich was already working on the last minutes of the bonus tracks. So we where almost done. That is, all first mixes where done. Now it is time to revisit those mixes with the list of remarks in hand and fresh ears. I had quite some remarks, and Rich had even a longer list in his head. So now we where getting even more tedious. Things like: “this 3rd hit in this fast tom fill at 03:14 should come up by 0,5 dB”, or “that last word of the chorus sounds a little harsh, can we EQ the first part of that word, and smooth it out a bit?”. You can imagine that it will take for ever to get through the songs like that, and indeed, it took us all day to get through only 3 songs.
When a song is finished we print it to analogue tape on this awesome Ampex ATR reel-to-reel tape-deck. That will give it an even more analogue feel, warmth and depth to it. So when the first song was done, we did a A-B test to hear if it really made a difference (as in theory it sounds good, but what about the reality of it?). And I was blown away. What a big difference. More detail, more depth, warmer sound, richer harmonics, and just a bit more smooth. The digital version sounded harsh and cold, the tape version sounded warm and lush. Yes, this is the way to go, so Rich sent Jeff to get a new reel of tape, so we can continue on this path. Awesome!!
So what we did was print all music to analogue tape, and digitalized that back through a Masterlink hard disc recorder at a sample rate of 88.2 kHz/24 bits. We would master the album at that high sample rate, and when it was time to put on CD it needs to get back down to 44.1 kHz/16 bits. Of course you loose a lot of information, so during the complete process we will keep it 88.2/24 as long as we can, before converting it to CD-standard.
Today Joe Holmes & friends came in later, so we used almost all day to get a lot of work done, and by the time we printed the third song in it’s 2nd mix state, we where able to send them off to the others for a last listen if all is to their satisfaction as well. After cooking some diner I locked myself in and worked all night until 2am in the morning for my music school. A LOT of work to be done. And in this way, the days are long. I get a lot of emails and messages from friends that think I am having a sort of vacation here in LA, but not really… I’m on my 23rd day of this trip and I hardly have seen anything of the Los Angeles area. Every day I get up around 8am, directly diving into mixing until somewhere in the afternoon, then diving straight into music school work and other things to do for Affector up until somewhere between 11pm and 2am. So a 15 to 18 hour work day. And this is the 20th day like that in a row. So I start to feel that I really need a break. But the work here is almost done, and when I’m back home, I will be able to take a few days off to relax and get my energy back. I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong. It’s just a lot of work and eating up a lot of energy, but it is worth it! And I’m loving every minute of it.Collin_Leijenaar_Affector_Blog_7

About the author
I am drummer of the Dutch post-prog band Dilemma ( and drummer and founder of the progressive rock/metal band Affector ( As a musician I made a name in the progressive rock scene as drummer, bandleader and tour manager of the progressive rock legend Neal Morse (Transatlantic / Flying Colors / ex-Spock’s Beard). With him and a lot of other acts, I toured the world and recorded many best-selling CD's. I own a music studio and label, where I record, produce and release my own music and other bands & artists. Next to being a musician, I am an entrepreneur since the age of 19. I started 4 businesses. My main company is Novae Popschool ( A modern music school with multiple locations throughout The Netherlands. As musician, producer, teacher, author and entrepreneur I work with a mission: "I help musicians create and develop their own musical singularity, through which they will have a more successful and more fulfilling life. It is my mission to contribute to a more socially, loving and caring society through the power of music and modern music education. Rock on!
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