It’s President’s Day here in the US. Not sure exactly what that means for me, since I don’t personally know any presidents, but I’ll figure something out…

What it DOES mean is that I have a challenge for you. More on that in a second.

I’m reading through a book written by Paul White of Sound on Sound magazine. It’s called “The Producer’s Handbook,” and it’s pretty good so far.

One thing he talks about early in the book is that some of the first multi-track tape machines were 3-track recorders. That means they had a stereo track for the band, leaving a third track for the lead vocal.

Talk about simple.

What did that mean? They had to do all their mixing on the fly, as all the musicians were recorded…at the same time…to a stereo track.

Imagine the amount of intensity you had to have, the amount of focus, to make sure everything gets recorded the way you want it recorded. Because after-the-fact, you can’t go back and changed the sound of that guitar or that trumpet.

It’s set in stone.

When’s the last time you recorded something with THAT kind of intensity? I’ll be honest, it’s really easy to relax during a recording session and just “let things slide.” After all, you can always fix it later, right?

I think we could ALL learn something from the early 3-track days. What would it look like to record everything knowing that you wouldn’t be able to mix it later?

That’s my challenge to you today — the President’s Day Challenge.

Next time you record a song, record everything AS IF you weren’t going to get a change to mix it.

That means you’ll have to spend more time at the source, adjusting the source itself, the mic, the placement, the preamp, etc…everything that affects the sound before it hits your computer.

Just try it…let me know how it works.

I’m amazed at how much fun I have during mixing when I put THAT kind of effort into the recording phase.

Just a thought…