Dave McNair Weekend Mixing Workshop at Saltlands

Dave McNair, Senior Mastering Engineer at Sterling Sound, will lead a three-day, twenty-hour intensive workshop designed to dramatically improve the quality of your mixing. Based on his extensive experience mixing and training other engineers, McNair has created a unique and highly-effective approach to mix technique instruction that allows each participant to maintain their own personal style while increasing mixing skill. Dates will be set for late winter or early spring. Download copy of this overview here.

Topics addressed will include…

Overarching concepts: – Knowing which sonic questions to raise first, and in what order to proceed – Evaluating the overall sound spectrum of the original tracks prior to mixing – Determining which elements of the music could provide a creative foundation – Areas of the sound spectrum that are often over or under-represented in mixes – Frequency range territory for common instruments/voices – Referring to rough mixes – The art of incorporating artist/client feedback

Specific developments: – EQ practices and tips – Compression on individual tracks – Reverb/echo types and common tactics – Other effects use on individual tracks (flanger, phaser, tremelo, distortion, etc) – Lead vocal treatment and vocal relationships to the mix – Mixing with a sparse or dense instrumentation – Adding processing to the main stereo bus – Editing and performance correction

Sonic and practical preparation: – Knowing the mixing room – Speaker monitor choice and use – Subwoofers – Listening levels – Headphones – Mixing to tape vs digital – Summing

Final procedures: – Stemming – Variations of takes/prints – What to provide for your mastering engineer

McNair will demonstrate these concepts and workflow on a DAW, but the techniques learned will be translatable to any mixing platform.
Prior to the course, McNair will provide participants with a multitrack file of a song to mix and bring to the course. On the first day, McNair will critique each of the mixes. In addition to this critique being a valuable constructive experience for the participants, this will also allow McNair to be aware of the participants’ skill levels and thus tailor the course to the specific needs of the class.

Ideally, participants should be at an intermediate level. Although beginners may register, the class will not allot time for addressing basic concepts.
Enrollment is limited to 5 people.


Dave McNair is currently a Senior Mastering Engineer at Sterling Sound, one of the finest mastering facilities in the world. During his thirty-three year career, Dave has recorded, mixed, produced and/or mastered hundreds of projects. This includes work for a diverse group of artists including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Patty Smith, Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, The Jonas Brothers, Ozomatli, Angelque Kidjo, Little Steven, Alejandro Escovedo and Sara Bareilles.
McNair hails from Texas, where he got hooked on the studio when his high school rock band recorded their first demo tape. By 1980, he began his professional career in New York City, working at The Hit Factory and other studios. In the late-80s, he relocated to L.A. to launch an independent career, working in world-class studios such as Ocean Way, Sunset Sound Factory, A&M, Cherokee, and Capitol.
McNair relocated to Austin, Texas, where he garnered much success engineering and producing indie and roots oriented artists. However the draw of New York was too great, and in 2001 he returned to the city to focus on mastering. McNair currently lives in Montclair N.J.

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