How has recording an album of music changed in the last decade or two? The change from Analog to Digital, from manual mixing consoles to total recall is obvious, but there is a more important change that has happened. There used to be three distinct phases in he making of an album: recording, mixing and mastering. These phases did not usually overlap at all. Once the recording had ended the studio was changed for mixing, the analog tape machine was switched from the recording or sync head to the play head and mixing would proceed. Once mixing was done one would take the resulting DAT cassette or 2-track analog tape to the mastering place of choice, which often had lots of custom-built gear.
Well, now these three phases have merged into one. Every day of recording is also a chance to tweak the mix and at the end of the day one might engage a few plug-ins and check how the music will sound mastered. I haven’t gone to a mastering studio in almost a decade. My studio sounds great and makes mixing easy. I remember a mastering engineer saying to me: I love seeing you and hearing your latest work, but why are you coming here – your mixes sound fine the way they are. That was the last time I saw him… Everything starting with the albums christmas + santa fe and Little Wing was recorded, mixed and mastered at my studio.