Chris Lord-Alge and semi-Chris Lord-Alge
Updated: Apr 17, 2018
At Gearslutz there was another shootout fairly recently posted by Steven Slate. The shootout was set up as a poll to see who could identify a mix by Chris Lord-Alge done in-the-box or ITB versus an analog mix or OTB.
I unfortunately missed this one before answers were revealed but for me there was something more interesting revealed. Besides, I was never a proponent of "ITB/OTB sound" as you recall, for me only results matter. Whatever the sonic result is, that's what matters at the end of the day. As a prelude to my post below, the mixes were pretty different. To me, essentially night and day different. It was clear to me that the awesome ability of people is also a product of how they interact with their environment and the tools in which they have become accustomed. So to me it was apparent the ITB mix from Chris wasn't as ripe as the CLA sound one might be used to from his common analog set-up. It was like half way there relative to Chris. It was - semi-Chris-Lord-Alge.
Below is a copy of my post along with the original link to it.
My Original Post I totally missed this. But today I listened to the files and as some may know already, I was never an ITB vs OTB guy. I have even said, the concept is an illusion, there is only "good sound" or "good result." So listening to this wasn't about ITB/OTB for me. Instead, it was more interesting for me:
1) to hear a mixer who is good at his craft re-create his sound to a degree on a different medium
2) to see said mixer still, in a sense, in their infancy stage as far as using the different medium is concerned.
Number 2 is a bit of hyperbole lol although to be honest I don't really know how many times CLA has mixed ITB up to this point but I'm positive it's no where near the veteran status of analog mixing.
First a couple of technical things:
1) Mix A was a tad louder, about .2 dB louder
2) Mix B was leveled, less dynamic
So, to create the CLA sound, the combination of:
1) CLA's ear and approach
2) the tools at his disposal (as a snapshot of sonic, not as something better or worse)
both work in tandem to achieve "CLA sound," if you will.
So, I had picked B as the analog mix. But why? Not because analog is better. Not because digital is grainy, whatever that means. But because B is more of the CLA sound as a CLA mix than A is as a CLA mix. Specifically, what is a prime characteristic of that sound IMO? It's more upper mid range forward, some times "unrelenting." I know he's good, it's just not my taste. But I think when hearing 2 CLA mixes back to back, if one of them is consummate CLA, I will believe it's the analog mix! Because of each variable in our formula, the combination of him of course + his tools create that sound.
That's interesting! as it reinforced that it's about the operator. A particular tool will aid in the operator's goal and when they have "a sound" it becomes easier to pinpoint in comparison to another mix from a different medium, hence different tool set.
So again, it wasn't a matter of what is inherently better. There is no such thing, only best results. But those snapshots of sonic we call character bring us to a specific goal and when content with that, naturally they have a fingerprint. That's what allowed me to identify in this case.