Frequently Asked Questions - Mixing
What is Mixing? Generally speaking it is the process of balancing the various parts of a recording to make the song feel "right"... making sure that the lead voice or instrument is prominent, and at the same time making sure that the smallest of elements can still be heard without getting washed out. Editing, and even arranging are often dealt with at the "mix" stage (typically we would define the stages: Tracking (recording), editing, mixing, then mastering. Editing and rough mixing are usually part of the tracking process too).
Do Solo recordings need Mixing? Yes in the sense that if you used multiple microphones to record, those need to be blended and balanced properly. Even if you just tracked a stereo recording, moments of greatness can be enhanced, noises reduced, reverb or other effects added and blended, EQ, compression etc. So, yes, absolutely solo recordings benefit greatly from being mixed properly.
How long does it take to Mix an album? Unfortunately, the answer truly is: it depends. Everyone is different, and therefore every album is different. I try not to employ the "drive-thru" approach where one might go "oh, this a Brit Rock song, so let's put the usual default settings up, run it through and call it good enough..." I actually listen to the song, and how it fits in the album, listen to the artists' intent for the song- what is the feel here? And use that as the starting point. And depending on how much detail it calls for, that informs how long it will take to mix. It varies widely. If it is recorded well, there is less to "fix in the mix". But this is the last stage where you have the opportunity to most accurately balance the parts and subtleties of your song.