John Paterno Mixing Lifeboats

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03h 08min


In Episode 5 of our Lifeboats Series, Grammy Award Winning Engineer, John Paterno, opens the multitrack for the Will Knox song, "Lifeboats", and takes us all the way from hearing the song for the first time, to a completed powerful and energetic mix with his signature sound imprinted upon it. 

In this 3 hour tutorial, learn how John:

  • Uses Analog EQs to commit sounds and add extra tone early in the process
  • Uses Mono delay on the drums to enhance the shuffle groove of the track
  • Cleans up clicks and pops that can be distracting and pull the listener out of the track
  • Reamps the guitars using a Little Labs PCP box, an Otis amplifier, a Universal Audio OX and a Chandler LTD-1
  • Controls the balance of the drums in the overhead mics
  • Deals with the phase relationship between a Bass DI and Amp
  • Monitors in Mono to fine tune balance relationships

Watch John Paterno's episode of our exclusive Lifeboats series, only on

Learn More About The Lifeboats Series Here

Exercise files
Equipment & Software


  • Audio Ease Altiverb
  • Elysia mpressor
  • Empirical Labs Arousor
  • Fabfilter Pro-DS
  • Flux Solera V3
  • Ghz Lohi 3
  • McDsp AE600
  • McDsp Futzbox
  • Over Loud Echoson
  • SPL Iron
  • Softube RS127
  • Sound Toys Crystallizer
  • Sound Toys Devil-Loc
  • Sound Toys Primal Tap
  • UAD 1176 LN Rev E
  • UAD 1176 Rev A
  • UAD Ampeg B15N
  • UAD Ampex ATR-102
  • UAD Brigade Chorus
  • UAD EP-34 Tape Echo
  • UAD Fairchild 660
  • UAD Lexicon 480L
  • UAD UA610-A
  • Valhalla Uber Mod
  • ghz Wow Control 3
  • iZotope Ozone
  • iZotope RX De-Click
  • reMatrix


  • Build Your Own Clone Vibrato
  • Chandler Limited Germanium
  • Chandler Limited LTD-1
  • Chandler Limited Little Devil
  • Empirical Labs Mike-E
  • Little Labs PCP Instrument Distro
  • Moog Mooger Fooger
  • OTIS Amp
  • Sony M7
  • Studio Electronics AN2 Stereo Simulator
  • UA Ox
  • Urei LA-3A
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John Paterno

John moved to Los Angeles two weeks after graduation from the University of Miami MUE [Music Engineering] program. A short period of freelance assisting concluded with a staff position at Sunset Sound/Sound Factory in Hollywood, where for five years he was exposed to many great engineers, producers, and artists.

After breaking out of assisting, John worked with a wide range of producers including Mitchell Froom, Joe Chiccarelli, Byron Gallimore, Celso Valli, and Stephen Duffy. He won a Latin Grammy for his work with artist/producer Soraya.

In addition, John has produced or co-produced projects for The Black Mollys, Mitchell Froom, Lustra, Robbie Williams, The Lilac Time, and many other artists. He has also co-written songs with artists and has written pieces for TV and film.

John is also known to be an outstanding guitar player, and has mastered the craft of recording this instrument.

Check out his videos on PureMix to see how his meticulous approach makes for detailed and punchy mixes.


Robbie Williams

The Steve Gadd Band


Robben Ford

Eros Ramazzotti

The Thrills

What do you have to say?
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2020 Dec 20
I love the fact, that he just gets rid of the Elements he doesn't like or that don't support the track in a meaningful way in his opinion! Very brave and I have to say, I agree! I wonder what the artists/musicians will think, since they might have worked on the sounds for hours. But sometimes the musician gets in the way of the music and the song. It's a bold move and I think he is 100% correct! I have learned a lot in terms of philosophy here, which is worth a lot and more than I pay for this subscription! (please don't raise the price anyways!! :D) Thank You!
2020 Aug 05
Man, he really pulled out some great gear & plug ins for this series. I know it isn't emphasized for mixers still trying to get better but it's cool to see what the Pros do when they have little restriction on their mixes lol
2020 May 23
I enjoyed seeing his choices. Some of them were pretty bold, since they altered what the client sent, but the result certainly was a worthy mix.
2019 Oct 08
The AN2 Stereo Simulator he is talking about sound just like the MStereoSpread from MeldaProductions. It is a bad ass plugin that you can spread audio out and it doesn't collapse in mono.
2019 Oct 08
Love the Mix, and love how non conservative this guy is on his mix moves. He seem really confident in his decision making.
2019 Jul 27
Love this series and love John's approach. I'd be thrilled to see another series with a different song from a different genre. Thanks!
2019 Jul 26
Methodical dynamite, thanks.
2019 Jul 26
I Love this guy. Thank you John, really informative.
2019 Jul 14
John Paterno sure gets a good sounding mix. I love it.
2019 Jul 11
This entire series is phenomenally helpful, and I think this is the best edition yet. The concept of using a single song and having different mixers tackle it is a perfect way to learn. Paterno is a great teacher. It's a gift.
2019 Jul 10
How does he control delay compensation??
2019 Jul 08
That was really great, once again. I do think John muted some of the good stuff, stripping it a bit too far. Perhaps if he'd listened to the rough first (there is a rough, right?), he'd decided differently. But who knows! It's really nice to hear all these different outcomes. It displays the importance of the role you play as a mixer. But of course we already knew how special and important we were ;-)
2019 Jul 05
Absolutely AMAZING! I like the approach, I like the way John is going through the mix, his choices and his creativity. What a lesson! One of the best videos I've ever seen about mixing. Thank you John for sharing your talent!
2019 Jul 05
Love the "taking me out of the record" phrase, too!
2019 Jul 04
This has been a cool series. Great to see so many talented mix engineers approaching the same track. Thanks, pureMix!