All Posts by Kevin Ward

About the Author

MixCoach Podcast 016 : Processing Toms

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, Kevin again gives you his specific signal chain, EQ and compressor settings for toms. He talks about when to use a gate to control the toms, as well as tailoring the sound of toms with EQ and compression.

Tutorials Mentioned in this Podcast:


Question:

Do you let your toms ring? Do you Gate or Edit toms? What do you do?


Are you trustworthy?

I want to spend the next few weeks talking about how you can build trust as an engineer.

Whether you are a seasoned studio veteran or a newbie working out your own bedroom, it’s VERY important that you start to gaining trust with your clients (or potential paying clients).

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be sending out Tips that are far more important than “shortcuts and hacks” that you can find all over the web. What I’ll be sending you are more “mindset” oriented.

You can be the worlds GREATEST mixer, editor, tracking engineer and not have trust, and you’ll find yourself lacking for work.

So subscribe here so you don’t miss anything. (you can subscribe to the RSS too if you’d like)

Question: What’s the first thing that you think of when I mention Trust?

MixCoach Podcast 015 : Processing Snare

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, the snare is exposed just as the Kick was in the last episode. Kevin give you his specific EQ, and compression plug-ins and settings. He talks about finding the fundamental snare frequency.


Question:

How do you find that perfect snare sound?


You can learn from my mistakes

201105300834.jpgI’ve heard it said that you learn more from making mistakes and correcting them than you do from doing it right the first time. So, I thought I would tell you about one of my recent mistakes.

I was recording an accompaniment track for a friend of mine. The budget for this track was very low… mainly because she is a friend and client … and I just wanted to do it for her.

After I’d cut the drums in Superior Drummer and played my trusty bass, I sent it off to another musician who then overdubbed keys, B3 and guitars for me. I could have done this myself, but it would have taken much longer to complete. Outsourcing this consumed almost all of the budget (which, by the way, I had not even billed for it yet).

I then talked my lovely wife into helping with the background vocals (that part was free, thank you Janna!). The track was sounding really nice now.

I put a quick mix on it by comparing it to the original track and then sent it off to the eagerly awaiting client.

After waiting a day or so without hearing anything, I should have known something was up. Usually, clients who are happy will call back almost immediately. She sent me a text asking if we could chat. My heart dropped. It felt like getting called in to the principle’s office at school. She kindly told me that the track that I was so proud of was in the wrong key… Not just a half-step or two… like A FOURTH.

At this point, I could’ve said a number of things:

  • “That’s all the money I have to work with. If we had more of a budget I could do more this”.
  • “Can’t you just get someone to sing it with you?”
  • “I know a vocal coach who can increase your range, here’s his number”

Or I could continue to gain trust with her by saying “I’m sorry. This is my fault. I should have checked with you about the key before moving forward”.

Note: I thought I had sent the skeleton track (without overdubs) out for her to approve and as it turns out, I composed it, but never sent it. 🙁

After she offered to give me more money to correct the track, I told her that she wouldn’t incur any additional cost.

I corrected some of the tracks with “Pitch N Time” (which sounded awesome by the way), replayed some of the tracks and resang the background vocals. She is very happy now.

Even though correcting this particular track was a no-brainer, there are times when you feel that a costly mistake is not your fault. This is the time you have to decide, “Is this project the ONLY project I ever want to do with this client, or is this project just part of a bigger plan?”

Sure, I could have accepted her payment for what was really MY mistake. It would have felt great NOT to lose a little money on this deal…. but the bottom line is she is my client. I have to keep her trust. If losing a little money now means that she will bring me her next project, and the next project after that, then I have won.

The bottom line is this… Whenever there is a mis-communication, a mistake, or an oversight, there is a unique opportunity to either lay blame or gain trust… Always choose to gain trust.

MixCoach Podcast 014 : How I go about processing a Kick Drum

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, Kevin describes his signal chain, EQ and compressor settings in detail. You can use these settings to get great kick drum sounds. Some insight from someone who has been around the block a few times.


Question:

How do you process YOUR kick drum?


My life as an International man of Mixery

I know… terrible “Austin Powers” pun… (Man of Mixery) – anyway…

Last summer, I mixed a very nice recording for a new friend of mine from Kiev, Ukraine.  His name is Roman Vashchuk and he’s becoming quite popular in Ukraine.

My plan is to Skype interview him about the recording and mix process later.  I just wanted you guys to see it..

Here’s the video.

 

MixCoach Podcast 013 : If you want your drums punchy, you have to look at drum phase

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, Kevin describes where his drum process begins. He talks about getting the phase right from the beginning.


Question:

What’s the first thing you do to get the drums sounding like you like it?… eq, levels, compression, phase?… I’m all ears!


Do not replace another drum hit until you read this

I want to take a second and tell you about the COOLEST drum replacement plug-in that I have found. It’s called Massey DRT.

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Rehab was good. DTM was great. But DRT is awesome, possessing the most intelligent and precise drum transient detection algorithm in the recording world.

DRT is a Pro Tools AudioSuite* plugin which effortlessly converts drum tracks into MIDI or audio “clicks” with near flawless accuracy. Use your favorite sampler or realtime drum replacement plugin to then enhance or replace poorly recorded tracks.

[From Massey Plugins Inc.]

I’m going to be doing my own tutorial on this shortly, but here is the video that is on the Massey site.  Pretty straight forward and informative.
Question: I know you are blown away by this… so what did you USE TO use before DRT?

MixCoach Podcast 012 : Fighting The Loudness Wars

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On this episode of the MixCoach Podcast, Kevin gives his take on mix compression and “The Loudness Wars”. Kevin talks about how you can lose the “wars” and how you can win them.

Links Mentioned in the PodCast


Question:

What do you use to get your mix loud?… and would you say it makes the mix sound better? or just louder?


Chris Lord-Alge on mixing (an interview from recordproduction.com)

I found this AMAZING 40 minute interview with one of my all-time favorite mixers.. Chris Lord-Alge.  He is interviewed by Nigel Jopson.  This video is courtesy of RecordProduction.com

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If you are having trouble viewing the video Click Here

Chris Lord-Alge is one of my favorites (or favourites as Nigel would spell it)… who is yours?