In Tape Op #83 – ten years ago – I favorably reviewed the original Zen & the Art of Mixing book, noting that it was “ideal for someone who is unhappy with their mixes and wants to get better.” I still absolutely agree with everything I wrote, and I heartily recommend this new version – please look up my previous review for a detailed examination of this tome. Mixerman [#34] is actually Eric Sarafin, an accomplished engineer, producer, and mixer, who now operates out of his mix room in Asheville, NC. With this new iteration of his guide, there will be print-on-demand versions of this book updated for every year; a genius idea. It will also be released in multiple languages, with one in Brazilian Portuguese initially. As he notes in the introduction, in ten years so much has changed in the mixing world. Mixing in the box can finally yield decent results, plug-ins now sound better, and more people than ever are recording themselves and trying to figure out the art of mixing. This updated version takes all that into account, while retaining the important parts about mixing that didn’t change at all. I have spent the last decade doing an extensive amount of mixing for outside clients and my own productions, while advising people on their mixing techniques via attended and virtual workshops. Everything in Mixerman’s book is congruent with my experiences in mixing and educating. His breakdown of “discovery” and “framing” is a perfect way to explain the steps towards a successful mix, and there are far more insights to be had here. But, as I said a decade ago, “This book will set you in motion, but the real work will be applying the thoughts set forth here, doing the work for real yourself, and keeping your ears open.” People like Eric and I are trying to show you the way, but you have to invest the time and use an open mind to end up happy with your mixes. With help like Zen & the Art of Mixing 2021, it can be done! (Look for a new version of his Zen and the Art of Producing 2021 coming out soon as well.)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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