MixCoach Podcast 062: Kevin’s Biggest Mistake

biggest mistake Pro Tools 11

This week Kevin talks about the biggest mistake he has made recently. It may surprise you!

Raw Transcript:

Kevin: This is the Mix Coach Podcast, Episode 62.

John: All right, this week on the podcast we’re going to be talking
about the biggest mistake Kevin ever made, or at least made in recent
history here.

John: Hey Kev.

Kevin: Hey John.

John: All right, so this week we’re going to be talking about
something kind of interesting here. I don’t know if we’ve ever kind of
phrased something this way before. So let me just ask, what is the biggest
mistake you’ve ever made as a mixer, as a professional mixer.

Kevin: Oh, it’s a timely subject. Honestly, I’m not trying to slam
anything or anyone, any company, but…

John: Yeah.

Kevin: …probably the biggest mistake I have made in my recent
career, I’ve made a bunch of them, but my most recent one, the one I keep
doing the palm to forehead thing, and why did I do this was, I upgraded to
Pro Tools 11 (sp). I shouldn’t have done Pro Tools 11, I lost.

We talked about the 80/20 principle a couple of podcasts ago, and I
lost 80 percent of my plugins, and then I had to do another mix. I upgraded
to Pro Tools 11 because my system, it felt a little clunky. I was using
nine, it felt a little clunky, and I had this moment of stupidity and said
‘You know what, I’m just going to change everything. I’m going to upgrade
my operating system, I’m going to upgrade Pro Tools, I can print off in
faster than real time, and that will be awesome.

John: You sold your control surface too.

Kevin: Well…

John: Your control surface didn’t have functionality with 11…

Kevin: No.

John: …so you swapped that guy out too.

Kevin: Swapped it out, now my Avid Artist Mix (sp) does not want to
talk to my Avid Pro Tools 11. Half the plugins, more than half of my plugins

don’t work.

John: Right.

Kevin: My interfaces are not working, the whole system is just pieced
together. You want to talk about a workflow interrupter? You should try
spending, you know I get up early in the morning and I mix early in the
morning, and you should try spending from 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. wondering
why your control surface does not want to talk to your… and then by the
time 6:00 rolls around the last thing I want to do…

John: Is mix.

Kevin: …is mix.

John. Yeah.

Kevin: I want to go and like watch the Disney Channel with my daughter
or something.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Something that’s like I don’t have to think about it too much.
So, recently the biggest mistake I made…

John: Yeah.

Kevin: …was not upgrading to Pro Tools 11, because…

John: It was changing everything.

Kevin: …I’m sure that Pro Tools 11 is going to be awesome.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: The faster than real time, which is 1.1 times faster than I
would have been exporting in real time, which is laughable, especially
given the fact that I used to print four and five mixes at a time in that

John: Yeah.

Kevin: I’m sure that Pro Tools 11 and Avid’s going to work on all these
bugs, but my biggest mistake was changing everything at once, and thinking

John: Before it, and thinking that it wouldn’t have any effect on
your, you know, that sort of thing.

Kevin: You know the whole Avid thing, Pro Tools thing, was only one
aspect of it. I was working on, let’s see what was the operating system,
10.7 or 10.6 maybe? It was an older system…

John: Was it Snow Leopard, or Leopard, or older?

Kevin: I don’t even remember what the cat’s name was.

John: Gotcha. [laughs]

Keving: I do remember that everything pretty much worked the way it
should. I had a few bugs where the system would crash for no reason, which
is typical for my setup for some reason. It would take longer and longer to
reboot, so I just thought ‘I’m going to put a new operating system in, I’m
going to put Pro Tools 11, I’m going to do it just as if I had just gotten
into it. I’m going to work through this whole process again.’ Well, none of
my password things worked…

John: No.

Kevin: I’m having to constantly re-install something or track down a
serial number. It was just a huge time waster for me. I don’t know that how
I, honestly I don’t know how I could have avoided it, but looking back on
it, a big mistake. If I can guide you in the right direction is, think
three times, four times about upgrading a system that is working fine. If
my system would have been working fine, I probably wouldn’t have changed
anything until everybody says ‘ oh man, you’ve got to go to Pro Tools 11,
you’ve got to do this, it’s awesome the way it works.’ I think I was
expecting more than…

John: Than what you got.

Kevin: …than what I got.

John: That’s something that I’ve talked to guys before where, we’re
tech based guys. We all have the technical mind, where it’s like the new
iPhone is out, and you’re thinking about the new iPhone, and all these
things. You’re thinking about new products, and you like to be on the
technical edge of things. Sometimes it’s good to be on the technical edge
of things, but not on the bleeding edge of technology. You don’t want to be
the first guy to necessarily jump in and just change everything, and get
that new thing. I always kind of wait to upgrade my phone operating system,
just because I know that maybe the next upgrade or whatever will suck your
battery life, and sometimes that happens. You try not to be that guy, so
maybe that’s kind of the lesson learned here, is don’t necessarily jump on
the new thing just because it’s the new thing. Don’t automatically assume,
especially if you change everything in your rig, don’t just assume that
it’s just going to solve all of the problems and all of the issues that you
have. It’s just going to bring in a whole new bag of trouble.

Kevin: It solved a lot problems, but it created more problems than it

John: Yeah.

Kevin: I can understand if you’re listening to the podcast and you
can’t seem to be productive, you can’t seem to finish a song, look at your
workflow. Make sure that your system, because it made me, is relish the
right word? It made me relish the day that I could just come down here,
double-click, open a session, mix it, set my watch, set my timer, my
stopwatch until I’m going to mix this song for an hour, going to take a
break, and come back and listen to it.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Those days are gone, at least temporarily.

John: Right.

Kevin: It’s one of those things where it’s become an effort to mix,

John: Yeah.

Kevin: …if you’re thinking about upgrading. I have to say that was
the, what did we call it, dumbest thing I’ve ever done?

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Well the smartest thing I ever did, was in the same time frame.
I didn’t just upgrade, I bought a brand new hard drive.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: I put the new operating system on the new hard drive, and I put
Pro Tools 11 on the new hard drive.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: This could have been some of the source of it thinks it’s a
brand new system. I can always go back, and I did that this morning, I had
to go back to Pro Tools 9 this morning. In the same time period, I made a
very stupid mistake of upgrading everything at once, but the same thing is
I left, like I always say, I always leave me a plan B.

John: Yeah.

Kevin. That was my plan B, and I’ve back to it a couple times and…

John: Absolutely.

Kevin: …really kind of looked around like ‘I wish I was still here
in Pro Tools 9.’ [laughs]

John: So for example, to kind of give you a flip side of this, I just
recently upgraded my computer from one computer to another computer.
Whenever I upgraded, I upgraded operating systems, essentially it’s a brand
new computer, brand new kind of rig. Again, it was like you, I left myself
a way out, where the old computer is, I still have it. I didn’t sell it,
didn’t re-format it or anything until I knew for sure that the new system
was working, and working well. I left myself that back door. I would say,
whenever you do upgrade things, upgrade things maybe one piece at a time,
or as needed. Also, like you said, make sure you leave yourself a way out
because you’ve got to make sure that you have that option. Especially for
guys who upgrade to Pro Tools 11, you want to still be able to open those
old sessions just in case somebody asks you ‘Hey man, what was that plugin
chain that you had back in the day? Can we use that again?’ It’s like,
‘Well I don’t remember, let me go look it up.’ You’ve got to always leave
yourself a backdoor to be able to access old files, that sort of thing too.


Kevin: Thanks for listening, this has been the Mix Coach Podcast. The
podcast dedicated to making your next recording, your best recording. For
more tips, tutorials, and even a free course, be sure and visit us at

Question: What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?

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