What The Beatles Can Teach You About Mixing and Mastering

What The Beatles Can Teach You About Mixing and Mastering

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What The Beatles Can Teach You About Mixing and Mastering

by Andre Gonsalves

by Andre Gonsalves

The Beatles finally allowed for their catelogue to be available for streaming on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music and in just 48 hours they were streamed over 50 million times! More interestingly, 65% of people who streamed The Beatles were under 34 (I being one of them). Obviously none of us born after 1980, heck maybe even 1970, have any nostalgia for The Beatles.

 My mom who is in her sixties (sorry Mom) is a huge Beatles fans and still attends Paul McCartney concerts whenever they can wheel him out, so I’ve obviously grown up with The Beatles as I’m sure many of you have. Their absence from streaming, I found left a hole in my pop music history as I couldn’t really go back as an adult and see what the big deal was with their music. But now that I have here are my thoughts from an audio engineers’ perspective. 
First, it doesn’t matter what you record with or even where. A lot of The Beatles songs don’t sound very good from a recording perspective. I seriously have a hard time even believing their songs were recorded in what would resemble a modern studio. Surely, the equipment, let alone your phone, is more powerful than anything The Beatles recorded on. 

Second, the mixing and mastering is completely an afterthought and if it is considered it’s only for artistic purposes. There isn’t any over exaggerated compression, or clean eq, or even faux reverb to sound big. All The Beatles’ really care about is making insanely great art (which if you’ve been recording long enough will realize that’s all you need to do it). It’s as if the only thing that matters is the music. How novel? 

Finally, despite all these shortcomings, which a lot of artists use as excuses as to why their music isn’t poppin’, they are able to get 50 million people who have little to no connection to them to listen to their music. Think about that for a second? You don’t need a big fancy studio to record. You could, theoretically, record a song into your phone’s voice memo and it could be so good that millions of people would want to hear it. Isn’t that basically what The Beatles have done? Focus on the basics. 

Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering. When he's not in front of a mixing board with his eyes closed, he's having impromptu dance parties with his son and daughter: ages 2 and 4.

2 Comments

  1. ” I seriously have a hard time even believing their songs were recorded in what would resemble a modern studio.”

    Correct – it wasn’t. 🙂
    We have to remember that many of the things we take for granted wasn’t invented at the time; during their first albums, Les Paul hadn’t even invented the stereo recording yet (by gluing a second recording head on to a tape recorder).

    In the recording of one song (don’t remember wich one) they thought Geroge Harrissons drums sounded too loud. Hence, they put him and the drums outside the recording room…..

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