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Renegade Review: Mixing, Recording and
Producing Techniques of the Pros

In this review we're taking a look at a book called "Mixing, recording and producing techniques of the pros" by Rick Clark.

Now, Rick has worked as both a session and live musician, a producer, he's worked with acts like Death Cab for Cutie, The Killjoys, Osaka Pearl and Los Super Seven, and he's also acted as a DJ for radio, and music supervisor for film. He has run a music programming company, and has also written for various publications, most notably Mix Magazine.

So, what's this book all about? Basically, during his time as a writer for Mix Magazine Rick Clark collected a lot of interviews, and he has extracted all the relevant information from those interviews and included it in this book.

So, you will find a broad range of techniques and ideas for producing music, which basically comes to you from audio professionals in their respective fields. Great information from top professionals.

There are separate chapters on recording each of the following instruments, for instance bass, brass, drums, guitar, vocals, acoustic ensembles - all discussed in there.

There is also a chapter on analogue versus digital, the great old debate, and creative production and recording. Chapters on mixing and mastering, of course; there is a great chapter on engineering and production philosophy, and also studio design and room tuning, you'll find included there as well.

So, those are just some of the chapters, there are obviously many more included; that's the thing about this book, it's really comprehensive.  The author has tried to include something for everybody.

Now, that said obviously there would be chapters that you may not be as interested in.  So, if you're really just interested in music production you may not be that interested in the field recording and film sound chapter.  

So, really comprehensive but at the same time there will be things that you won't be interested in included in the book.

I think "Mixing, recording and producing techniques of the pros" is a really insightful book, it gives you basically a peak inside the minds of all these great professionals and their philosophy and their techniques and the gear that they use.

So, that's a great thing about this book, the author has left the philosophical side, the more philosophical or psychological side in as well as the actual practical techniques that you can apply and the gear talk.

It's a great book for more advanced producers and engineers; if you've been honing your craft for a while and you have all the basics down.  This is definitely a book you should check out.

Now, as I said, not all the information will be of interest to you and this is definitely not a step-by-step guide.

So, if you're looking for something that will take you from knowing nothing or knowing very little to being able to produce your first track, professional track, then this book will not really be for you. There are other publications out there which might suit you better, something that's more in a kind of syllabus style, something that takes you step by step through producing.

But this, if you know the basics, if you know the basics of compression, EQ, reverb and all the tools we use in music production, then "Mixing, recording and producing techniques of the pros" will broaden your insight.

"Mixing, recording and producing techniques of the pros" will also give you new tricks you can try in the studio, and it will also give you great insight on the various kind of standard pieces of professional gear that's used throughout the industries.

So it's not a step-by-step guide, not really for beginners, I would advise this for more advanced producers, somebody who has the basics down. So, if that's you then definitely check this out.

That said, beginners, you can definitely learn from it, you'll find something in there that will help you, but a lot of it will, I think, just fly over the head of somebody who's just starting out.

I think it's much better to, if you're starting out, get a book that teaches you all the basics and get your head around all the fundamental information that you need to know in order to work the gear, and then get some experience on your gear.

Later on, when you've produced a few tracks, and you want to expand and you want to get better, then this book is definitely something you should check out.

There is this great story told by Jeff Powell in the book that I'd just like to include for you.

He was working with a band called Neighbourhood Texture Jam and they basically needed this loud noise in one part of the song, and what they decided to do is take a very cheap Fender guitar and string it up with low E strings. So, they had six low E strings on this Fender, and they put the Fender up on a stand, and they ran it through a Marshall head, and they turned everything up to eleven.

And then what they did is they took a weed-eater, you know those edge-trimming garden tools, weed-eaters, and they put that up on a stand, and basically at the right moment of the song they switched on the weed-eater and let the trimmer run over the strings. This produced eight seconds of the most wonderful noise, which was perfect for what they wanted, and then the strings snapped, and the whole thing just blew up.

So, all that work and they got eight seconds of exactly what they wanted. That just kind of gives to me that whole spirit of getting the sound that you want and being creative and being experimental.

Now, not all the stories are just funny anecdotes, you'll find really great techniques and gear discussed in the book, as I said. So it's definitely a lot of information that you can practically apply, but also information that it's going to make you think a little bit about how you approach music production, and a little bit more of the deeper stuff, so to speak.

So yeah, I definitely recommend you check "Mixing, recording and producing techniques of the pros" out, if it sounds like you're something that you're interested in.

I'd like to thank Cengage Learning PTR for sponsoring the review copy of this book.

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