The Avett Brothers

Sep 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Blair Jackson



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For Kwon’s cello: “A Royer 122 and a GML mic pre—because it’s super-clean and has tons of gain—and a Tonelux equalizer when I tracked it. I think I might have squeezed it a little bit on the way, probably with an LA-3A or LA-2A.”

The album was mixed at Hewitt’s Lock Stock studio on an Avid Pro Control surface and Tonelux summing bus, utilizing a slew of top analog outboard pieces and various plug-ins, with monitoring primarily through ProAc 100s. “Rick was totally involved in the mix,” the engineer comments. “I would work on a whole bunch of songs and maybe take six or eight of them up to Rick and we’d listen to them all in a row. You get a lot more perspective that way, rather than trying to concentrate on one song, finishing it and saying, ‘Okay, this is done.’ The other way, it’s like you’re listening to a lot of the record at the same time: ‘The drums sound way better on that one—what’s the difference?’ Then, we can address all those kind of issues in a number of ways.

“When Rick is happy, then we send it to the band, and these guys, they’re pretty easygoing. By the time it gets to them, it does sound really great, but still they have opinions and they have input into what’s going on, and I’ll get phone calls or emails to discuss ideas for changes.”

Is it hard to keep an overall perspective when a project takes so long and has so many breaks built into it? “It is a little difficult,” Hewitt acknowledges. “We spent a lot of time mixing and redoing little things in the middle of mixing and changing songs; editing. But every time we had some time off we’d plunge back in happily with fresh ears and fresh intent and remember why it is we do this thing.”

Clearly, a strong bond has been formed over the course of the two albums the Avetts have made with Rubin and Hewitt. “They are such fine people, it’s a pleasure to know them,” Rubin says, adding, “They’re wonderful songwriters, and forms and imagery continue to go deeper and get more personal as they do. I’m always excited to hear what they come up with next.”

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