There are many ways to approach a mix.
When mixing live, for example, I am going to have a completely different set of goals to when I am trying to make a recording. I am going to have to compromise more. Not least because I am trying to make several different mixes simultaneously. The sound at the back of the room will be different to the sound at the front I have to take that into account. Unless there is a monitor engineer, there is the stage mix to take care of. The sound of the room will change as more 'bodies' arrive during the evening and as the bass player gradually turns his amp up to 11. The drums flood into the vocal mics when the singer walks away from it and every room has its own unique 'sound', usually terrible.
It is compromise, compromise, compromise.
In the studio there is more control. The drums wont bleed into the vocal mic if the drummer is made to play in the room next door or building next door if necessary. Out of pitch vocalists can be 'tuned to perfection. The guitarist can be made to double, triple, quadruple track his rhythm parts until they are as lush and thick as a Latvian Hooker's Pubic Hair. Tracks can be edited, offset in time, compressed, ducked, gated, chopped into tiny bits, sampled, reversed, lost, found again and finally put back together in a random order.
In the studio, the mantra is... Perfection, perfection, perfection.
But hang on....
There is one factor that is common to great live shows and studio recordings that stand the test of time: A great performance.
As a live mix engineer, my job is to capture a great performance (or a mediocre performance) and make it audible to as many people as turn up to the event.
It should be no different in the studio. It is all about getting the performance on tape and making it sound as good as possible.
The techniques may be different but the aim should be the same.
Performance, performance, performance.
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