Mixing metal with a "non-metal" sound engineer?

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Akkush

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This probably happened before, but can you give me some examples?

Under "non-metal", I mean how doesn't label themselfs as such, and work mostly with pop, rap, folk, or EDM musicians.

I think it could give cool results, since they don't use the same cliche things, the currently trendy plugins, they don't follow or learn from the coolest youtube metal sound engineers, etc...

Or they would be clueless how to mix metal drums and guitars?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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Crungy

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This probably happened before, but can you give me some examples?

Under "non-metal", I mean how doesn't label themselfs as such, and work mostly with pop, rap, folk, or EDM musicians.

I think it could give cool results, since they don't use the same cliche things, the currently trendy plugins, they don't follow or learn from the coolest youtube metal sound engineers, etc...

Or they would be clueless how to mix metal drums and guitars?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks!
If you can, I'd try to meet or converse with some people like that and express that you'd be interested in getting a different take on your music for those reasons. If they're not into that challenge then I'd move on to the next person.
 

kamello

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atleast in my experience, they just don't know how to deal with the genre.

Weak bass, weak drums, messy guitars.

most pop oriented producers work with 808's and if there is a real bass, it's really present in the song in a way that doesn't work well with the usual chug-fest (think Iron Maiden)

with singer-songwritters producers, it's like they get charged by every dB of gain reduction in a compressor

edit: I think more interesting results could be had by having a metal oriented engineer mixing with limited/tools and non-metal oriented gear, kinda like what Loathe did, as IMO it sounds way more unique compared to other -Core bands that tune absurdedly low (although there is a fair ammount of sample reinforcement in their latest album)
 
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cwhitey2

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Shameless plug. Both my bands EP's were recorded with a non metal engineer. We were his first metal band. links in my sig.
 

tedtan

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The ‘normal’ process of selecting an mix engineer should be to find someone who’s mixes you like and to give them some albums as references so they know what you’re looking for.

Finding a non-metal mix engineer should be no different, though dealing with metal guitars, bass and drums is probably outside their experience/comfort zone. But there is no reason it can’t work if they are good and you provide suitable references.
 

Emperoff

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We're having the opposite problem. We're recording and the heaviest our band goes is Motorhead/Metallica, but the engineer is mostly focused in metal. We sent some reference albums of course, but inevitably the drums are sounding like they came out of a Fear Factory record :lol:

What we've heard so far sounds great, TBH, but a bit overkill. If the slower songs sound the same we will have to discuss it before the mixes progress further.
 

TedEH

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I'd be wary of picking someone to mix content that they have no understanding of. I know it's a very different space, but I've come across a good number of folks making soundtracks with "metal" as a "vibe" but who otherwise wouldn't listen to it if you'd paid them. The results are almost always the most off-balance, weak, boardroom-ass, "how do you do fellow kids" mixes I've ever heard. The kind of thing you'd expect to hear in a car insurance ad where they're riffing off of how "special goth Timmy" is a weirdo teen who can barely drive but don't worry we can get him a good rate too.

I think the trick is that these tend to come from folks who compose mostly by stacking virtual instruments up until they land on something cool and call it a day. They aren't instrumentalists. If they don't know the instrument and don't know the genre and don't know the dynamics of these things, then they're only ever guessing and won't able to identify if / when something needs to be corrected. Think of the threads that pop here from time to time asking why someone can't program good drum parts and the answer is inevitably that they fundamentally don't understand the instrument and the solution is to learn how real drums work first.

Could it land on something unique and cool? Sure, maybe. It could also land on an unintelligible mess.
 

TheBolivianSniper

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On the opposite hand, I'm a metal guy and I've been doing a big indie rock project and I think it's working out very well. I did a grindcore EP before the current stuff and that was really easy, but changing gears is fun.

Usually non metal guys do just fine since imo mixing is subjective. If your tracks are poorly recorded, you can sample replace and reamp as much as you want, but bad tracks are bad tracks. Bad engineering can't be fixed in the mix unless you don't care about replacing everything and a bad master ruins your song.

I converted a friend of mine from doing jazz and psychedelic rock to doing metal and he's killing it even on the production side. Just depends. A good engineer will make anything sound good if they do research and care.



Also a little plug for myself, I'm pretty sure SSO people would have solid music I'd be happy to mix.
 

TedEH

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I mean, rock and metal are not that far from eachother in terms of production. There's only so many variations of guitar-centric guit+bass+drum and maybe some amount of gain. As opposed to handing your metal mix to an EDM producer or something.
 

crushingpetal

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It really depends on what style of metal and what you're ultimately going for.

It could be cool: if you are open minded and the engineer is also open minded, you might get something new.

It could be crap: metal can be the most challenging genre to record and mix. I would not expect most non-metal recording / mix engineers to do a good job.

That's my 2 cents.
 

gabito

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Listen to most thrash or death metal albums from the 80s and judge the results.

Low budgets, inexperienced musicians, and inexperienced engineers (with the genre)… what a combo!
 

Screamingdaisy

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My thoughts are that even an EDM guy would listen to a few metal productions as references.

Although Reign in Happy Hardcore sounds like an interesting idea…
 

TedEH

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My thoughts are that even an EDM guy would listen to a few metal productions as references.
They might, but it's not a given. It's not like people aren't allowed to be familiar with more than one music genre, but it's also not a given that a person who "does music" just innately understands every genre. I couldn't mix EDM. I couldn't mix reggae. I mean, I technically could, but I don't think the results would appeal much to folks who have a meaningful understanding of what makes those genres tick, which I don't have. But I could probably mix a country album.
 
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