Getting Better At Mixing – Part 2 (15 Hours)

Introduction

One of the areas that I feel that I require improvement is in my mixing recently I completed my recording project and accompanying report. I feel on this project I have had many breakthroughs with the quality of my mixing and engineering. This final blog post assignment this one will focus on the engineering techniques used in the project.

Mixing the Track

The Track was mixed entirely in the box this is because Andy Sneep has work predominantly in the box for six years of his career. he stated in an interview that “with the may budgets have gone everything started to do within the box and I have been doing it like that for 6 or 7 years really.”A reference track was used to help achieve the mix that was required for the project. The reference mix for this project was Final Journey by Accept this song was produced and mixed by Andy Sneep. Andy Sneep’s productions are typically hyper-modern, well balanced and very polished. For example, the kick and snare punch through the mix without distracting the listener from other elements of the mix. The panning in the mix was inspired by an interview with Russ Russell for sound on sound. He stated that when panning things like overheads and guitar for a mix he “tends to bring them in a bit.” Avoiding hard paining helps with mono compatibility and stops elements of the mix from disappearing in the stereo field.

 

The Processing Used on The Drums

The kick and snare where heavily gated to cut out as much of the bleed from other kit elements as possible. Once gated a Slate FG-401 VCA compressor was added to both the kick and snare. The compressor was used to add some light compression to the kick and snare to help balance the WAV form and “Make it easier to find a static fader setting.” Once compression was added to the kick and snare a Slate FG-N three band EQ was added to the kick and snare. The EQ was used to shape the kick and snare so that they would punch through the mix finally a slate revival was added.

Once the compression and EQ were added it was devised that sample augmenting would help re-enforce the kick and snare. The kick sample was added to give the kick drum more top end attack and help it cut through the mix. The sample added to the snare was used not only to re-enforce the real snare drum but was also used to add EQ this technique has become very common in metal production. Notable producers that use this technique are Russ Russell & Andy Sneap. “If I really want to pile some top end crack on that snare drum but I can’t do it to the real one because the high hats will go crazy so I will use the sample just to add EQ.

The rack toms and floor tom were processed using a filtering technique used by Russ Russell to clean up the cymbal bleed in the tom mics. In a convention with Russ Russell, he explained that this is achieved in Reaper and Pro Tools by putting a cut in the WAV form just before the cymbal bleed. Then filter the tail of the tom hit and then catering the fade to taste.

The overheads were processed using an Andy Sneep technique that was suggested by Glen Fricker in his video How to record Heavy Drums part two. This technique is achieved by filtering everything in the overheads below 600hz. “This helps to eliminate phase problems between the close mics and the overhead mics.” (Fricker, 2015) After this, a Slate FG 401 – VCA compressor and FG-S EQ was added to help the fit into the mix.

Parallel possessing was also used on the drums, in a conversation with Russ Russell about mixing he said that when he uses parallel compression on drums he sends each part of the kit to a separate auxiliary track in pro tool. He explained that he does this so that he can tailor the compression for each part of the drum kit. This way he can compress the snare very heavily and he doesn’t need to worry about the cymbals becoming over compressed.

The final thing that was added to the drums sound what a fake room this was created by sending all the close mics and samples to a single stereo track and catering the mix on that aux track to taste. Then a reverb was added to the aux track and the output of the reverb was set to only output wet signal. After the reverb a Slate FG-116 FET compressor and a Slate FG-S 4 band EQ was added. The compressor was used to achieve the smashed room mic sound.

 

The Processing Used on The Guitars

The processing used on the guitar was very simple all that was used was an EQ to add a low and high pass filter and a Slate FG-401 VCA compressor this was suggested by “so what I will do is use the multi-band to stomp on the low frequencies during the palm mutes to stop the guitars from sounding muddy next I will add a high pass and low pass filter to clean up the fizz.” As well as the high pass and low pass filter dips were also added.

 

The Processing Used on The Bass

Both sounds were blended together to create a punchy but fat bass sound than a Slate FG-401 compressor and FG-N EQ was added to both bass tracks. was added to help the bass guitar fit in within the mix and the EQ was used to ensure that the bass guitar would fill the bottom end of the mix but not interfere with the kick drums or the guitars.

 

Mastering

When it came to mastering the track a Slate’s monster compressor was added this was used to catch the peaks within the WAV form after this a Slate FG-S EQ was added to remove the woolly mid-range and tighten up the overall mix. Finally, a Slate FG-X compressor and limiter was added the FG Comp was used to reduce the dynamic range of the mix. then the FG Level was used to turn up the overall volume of the track to peek at 10RMS.

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