The AudioCooker

thought and experience crafting the perfect mix...

Frequently Asked Questions

Contrary to the norm, our FAQ page is a collection of genuine questions we frequently get asked!
"I've noticed you seem to use Cubase for most of your work. Isn't Pro Tools supposed to be the best?"
Well spotted, I do use Cubase. Here's why:

In all honesty there probably is no "best" software DAW. Which ever piece of software you have spent time learning will probably be the best to you. Indeed this is true for myself, I started using Steinberg's Cubase on the old Atari computers before Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX even existed! In those days Cubase was just a MIDI sequencer, which we synced via a SMPTE code that was usually striped to the 24th or 16th track of our tape machine. (yes imagine only having 15 tracks left to work with! It made us better at working on the arrangement!) . Suffice to say I grew up with Cubase and over the years learnt each new feature as it was added, so I know it pretty well. I do use other DAWs from time to time but there are some important technical reasons why I choose to mix with Cubase... It sounds better!

On a traditional analogue console all your individual channels are summed together at the master fader to create your final stereo mix. This is done via a circuit known as a summing amplifier. Amongst other things it is the quality and design of this summing amp that makes an expensive console sound as good as it does. Obviously in a software DAW there are no circuits and the channel summing is performed by a software algorithm. Out of all the current DAWs Steinberg's summing algorithm and audio engine in general seems to perform and certainly sound better than the others. Pro Tools has improved greatly over the last few years, there are some that will remain unnamed that sound terrible to me, but if you are mixing "in the box", Steinberg's Nuendo or Cubase are the ones to use. There are top studios around the world who may recorded and edit using Tools or other DAWs, but if they have to do an ITB mix, they'll often use Cubase.

There are other reason why I prefer Cubase but here is not the place to digress.
"Are there any limiting factors to how good you can get our mix?"
In general I can achieve a professional well balance and coherent mix with most material but yes of course there are limiting factors.

  • Badly recorded material - This will obviously limit what can be achieved. If the audio was recorded in a poorly designed studio room, in a less than ideal acoustic environment, or using poor mic technique and low cost equipment, this will obviously effect what the final results will be.
  • Musicianship - The band's rhythm section will affect the mix the most. Sorry guys but sloppy drum techniques or the bass and drums not groove or gelling together will be a limiting factor! The moral of the story here is - rehearse! Get the bass player and drumer to rehearse on their own and always be conscious of the groove and feel you are trying to create, regardless of genre.
  • Song arrangement - Too many instruments all playing the same part and fighting for space. We all get very protective of the parts we have written for the song, that second guitar riff you really love, the extra pad keyboard layer. Take away your personal feelings and try and think of the song... would it create more space and dynamics in the mix without it?
"It doesn't look like you offer full band recording sessions anymore is this correct?"
Yes this is correct. Unfortunately my time is now completely taken up mixing, mastering and providing audio system sales & design. We can however arrange location recording, if you wish to record a drum kit perhaps before finishing the guitar and vocal parts in your home studio. More details can be found HERE.

I still offer vocal tracking sessions to many clients though in my home based audio suite
"What if we're not happy with the mix or mastering you have done?"
This would hopefully first come up when we send you the rough mp3 version of your mix or master for approval. However if you are still unhappy with your final mix tell us what you are not happy with and taking into to account the above limiting factors we will happily try and fix this for you. Please remember though that you do not pay anything until you are happy.
"What genres of music do you mainly work with?"
In terms of mixing I work on most genres with the exception of those falling into the many dance categories, but by all means send me any rough mixes through first. I am always happy to listen to any material and let you know if it's something I can help you with. My 25+ years experience has been writing, producing and recording real drum kits, bass players, guitars, brass and strings etc in rock, pop, blues, funk, country and jazz etc etc.

With regards to mastering, I am happy to work on most projects.
"Why don't you have a webpage listing what equipment you have and use?"
I used to on an older website, but a list of posh gear is completely meaningless in real terms, and is usually more of an ego trip for the owner. You can have all the best toys in the world but this does not mean you have the experience or knowledge to use them. Listen to results instead of reading a gear list. If you are genuinely interested then by all means contact me.
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