One of my closest friends and mentors, is legendary sound engineer Dan Wallin. Below Im posting an article I wrote for Mix magazine about Dan and his incredible life and career. He’s a wealth of information having lived through The Great Depression, fought in WW2, and been one of the most sought after engineers from the 40’s into the 2000’s.
Philosophy on Recording
The most important thing Ive learned is that there is no such thing as fixing it in the mix. It will never be perfect if you don’t record it correctly in the first place. Recordings are for posterity. Take your time. If needed, hire the right musicians to play the part if it could be done better. Recording decisions should be made with foresight in both where your own tastes will be in 10 years and where music as a whole might be. If you invest in your art the first time, it doesn’t have to be redone. Well recorded music goes along way towards mixing itself. The best records are the ones that 10 and 20 years on, you still wouldn’t change a thing.
One thing you won’t see at Pergantisonic if I have my choice, is a analog mixer in use. I have a 48channel one that sits in a case in storage. why? Because the desired, “warmth” is actually a synonym for added color. Thats a character we ascribe to a signal change that is actually being altered. One day a very intelligent engineer in LA, pointed out that if your signal degrades with every solder point, then a mixer is where purity goes to die. I’ve been lucky enough to sit at some of the largest, most expensive consoles in the world, and a lot of the mix board just simply gets bypassed these days. It gets bypassed for a variety of reasons but the main one is signal preservation. Neve mixers are World class products, but they like every mixer, add color to the signal. The color gets aded through a variety of ways. As George Massenburg said, “Giant mixers serve one purpose, to impress those who don’t know any better.”