Ryan Hewitt contributed to the tracking and mixing of the Red Hot Chili Peppers album Stadium Arcadium, and is happy to share his engineering experiences:
In an interview with EQ Magazine:
“What makes mixing this band so hard is that you have three musicians who are all laying down serious stuff, and the balance between them will change from part to part of the song … and to balance those things together, and always make sure that the appropriate person is stepping forward, that’s the hardest part. But everyone’s always doing something cool all the time.”
In a Mix Magazine article:
“They didn’t have a firm idea of who they wanted to mix the record, so they had me and four other guys do a test mix,” says Hewitt. “We all mixed the same three songs, and then Rick and the band listened to them blindly without knowing who was who and picked the mixer. It was nerve wracking. When I did the test mixes, I just went for broke and did what I like to do, which is make things big, exciting, live and just rock! If you had told me five years ago I’d be mixing a Chili Peppers record, I’d have told you you’re crazy. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
And at length, in great detail, on the ProSoundWeb forum (where Ryan’s user name is allaccess):
For example, “Strip My Mind” didn’t have drum sounds that were satisfactory to Chad; he wanted a big Bonham kind of sound. I got the kit sounding like he wanted, with the help of transient designers and some other wacky compressors and then reamped them through his home stereo into his huge living room… That sounded pretty sweet!
Ryan is a professional (you can hear samples of his work on his page at JDMI,) with access to equipment that most amateurs dream, or scratch their heads, about. But Ryan also describes his mixing and tracking techniques, including microphone placement and compressor settings. Even without his equipment locker, this perspective is a gold mine for home recordists.