So, in my master mixing class today, I realized that while this entire class is about professional mixing techniques and creating slick, wonderful sounding mixes, many, many of the songs that I love are mixed terribly. Take, for instance, "Sweet-Lovin' Man" by the Magnetic Fields. Everything has too much reverb, things are swimming around in there, it's muddy sounding, no definition between instruments. But it's unbelieveably beautiful.
The teacher kept talking today about drum replacement, which shows the sad state of recording, today, but also hit a nerve with me. His class last semester mixed the song that I tracked with a group in Studio A, and to see what he thought about the job I did with it, I brought it in. Now, I know that when we mixed it we had too much OH in the mix, and the vocal got lost in the 3rd section. However, he pointed out that when he and his other class mixed this, the decided to replace the snare sound on the 3rd section with a snare sound from earlier in the song, due to Dustin's decision to detach the snares to get a higher-tom sound during a U2-style breakdown.
This is where the teacher and I will have ideological differences, and I wish I had Caleb in the class to help me out with this, but to me, it's one thing to replace a bad sounding snare (which we did not have, thank you). It's entirely another thing to alter what the musician was going for. Dustin obviously wanted to have that detached snare sound in that part, and by replacing it, we have compromised the integrity of the piece. I suppose I fall into the steve albini view of capturing a performance, and not fucking it over with a fine-tooth comb until it sounds like a damned Steely Dan record from the 80's.