Originally Posted by ravenheart
I would actually really be interested in some of the guys here who are involved in record production/engineering/mixing etc. giving a detailed breakdown of exactly what parts of what we hear on any given album are due to which person. And what it is they do to achieve it etc.
The raw vocal, guitar, bass and drum tones were because of the engineers who tracked the sessions. They likely spent half a day just messing with their gear and the artist's equipment trying to get one instrument sound that they liked. The mix engineers took said tones, EQ them to their liking, add reverb, possibly replace kick drums with samples (that's Andy Sneap's technique anyway), and do whatever they've got to do to get a mix they like.
Now this is where it gets tricky. Some mixing engineers have been doing what is supposed to be the mastering engineer's job and crank their master fader (basically the one fader in Pro-Tools/Logic that brings every active instrument fader up or down simultaneously) to oblivion. This results in clipping, which is when part of a wave form gets effectively chopped into a flat line because it hit the "ceiling" so to speak of digital audio- that's 0 dB. We hear clipping as digital distortion. When a mastering engineer receives a mix, they're supposed to balance the overall EQ from track to track, make the songs loud enough for the market and add fades and transitions where necessary. When a mastering engineer receives a jacked mix of the kind I just mentioned, there is nearly nothing they can do to fix it. This is what happened to Death Magnetic, and Stadium Arcadium, both Rick Rubin productions. Rick Rubin has probably never manned a board in his entire career. Yes, he deserves some blame for letting these albums get pressed sounding they way they do, but he is not directly responsible for the sound of any of his records in an engineering sense.