Is this possible? After all, you might have read a lot of tutorials and forum advices to use quality plug-ins like Waves, etc. during mixing. And you have learned that plug-ins is important and extensively used to shape the sound of the mix as best as possible.
This post would look at this aspect in detail. The answer is…
Yes, If only it’s recorded well
Let me give you this example to this. Supposing you are recording a band; they play great and the sound was full/well mixed before recording.
If you are recording them perfectly and when you play the pre-mix right in your DAW; do you still need that expensive plug-ins to make them even better? I think it’s not anymore necessary. Thus, you can even mix the band without using expensive plug-ins and can settle for free ones (for very minor digital processing). You do not need to worry about the quality of your plug-ins in the mix if the recording sounds great.
How can you record the band to make them sound as good as possible?
1.) Make them sound great first before recording. This is usually the record producer and the engineer job. The producer would challenge the band to play at their best and guide them musically and creatively to produce the best results. The engineer would find ways how to capture these excellent performances live once it sounds good.
2.) This is usually accomplished by using a large analog mixing console with analog effects on it such as reverb, compression and EQ. Effects are applied before recording and while the band is playing band. To do this, all instruments are connected to the mixing console (one instrument per channel) and the engineer would adjust them until the sound is perfect. Each channel/instrument would have a direct outs which the engineer can use to record to the DAW (Digital audio workstation). See the signal flow below:
As you can see the producer and the band can monitor the sound of the mix (before it’s recorded) live because it will be routed to the main powered monitors. The engineer can apply the necessary effects on the mixing console to accomplish the desired sound before recording.
When the desired sound has been adjusted, the engineer would start recording the band together (in multi-track) which is accomplished by connecting the mixing console direct outputs to the multi-channel audio interface. This would convert the analog audio to digital audio which is then bounced to your DAW.