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MixCoach Experience Weekend 2017 Recap

MixCoach Experience Weekend 2017 Recap

We just wrapped up this year's MixCoach Experience Weekend and are still buzzing from all the fun we had with our attendees! If you haven’t heard, every year we host a three day event and workshop where we spend time hands-on with attendees teaching all of the things that can’t be taught online in a course or in monthly training on MixCoach Pro Member. The best part is that we get to hang out with you guys, MixCoachers (our followers) from all over the world, getting to interact directly, covering the questions and topics our attendees are interested in.

This year we spent some time in Music City (Nashville, TN) recording and mixing. On Thursday we got together with all of our attendees for a fun “Meet and Greet” night at a great restaurant in Nashville. Friday, we spent the entire day in a studio recording a song from scratch, written by Kevin, featuring one of Nashville’s best session musicians, Brent Rader. Brent is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist who played all of the tracks, allowing us to see inside his workflow as he worked out parts and played them live with Kevin producing, and our attendees engineering the session. Saturday, we spent the entire day hanging out with Joe Carrell at his studio, where he showed us inside his mixing workflow, mixing the song we recorded just the day before. Later on Saturday, attendees had the opportunity to open a song/session they had mixed and discuss it. Things like, how they got that awesome drum sound, as well as how things could be improved. As always with the MixCoach Experience Weekend, the best parts are what happened between the planned topics. All of the conversations that happen "off camera" over lunch, dinner, or after the sessions end, are where the most valuable information is learned.


If you weren’t able to make it this year or if this sounds like something you want to attend in the future, you are in luck! We are planning another MixCoach Experience Weekend for 2018, and it’s just around the corner! We are planning to host this event for the first time in beautiful southern California March 15 through 17, just 5 months away! If you are interested in learning more about the event and staying in the loop as we finalize details, please keep reading to find out how! We are deep in the planning of the event, but always try to cater the content around what attendees want to learn. So the earlier we've got you down, the better!

BUT we need YOUR help!

We need YOUR help to reach our goal of ONLY 50 PEOPLE INTERESTED in order to make this event a reality. 

Because we are still planning the event, we would LOVE to hear from you about what topics you would like to be covered at the event to better custom tailor it to what YOU want to learn.

Once we reach our goal we will be giving away a FREE course from this years event as a thank you for your interest.

Help us reach our goal by SIGNING UP HERE, and stay in the loop as we finalize details for the MixCoach Experience Weekend 2018. As a bonus, receive a FREE course from our last event (once we reach our goal).

Let’s Help out Feedback Revival With Their Music Video!

Some of you may remember our good friends Feedback Revival, who’s songs like “Beautiful Life”, “At Last”, and “Tennessee Rose” have been featured and used in many tutorials and training videos here on MixCoach. They have even been gracious enough to let us use the multi-tracks from some of their songs for our members to mix and learn from on MixCoach Member. 

Lets give these guys a hand and help them with their Music Video for the song “Beautiful Life” as a thank you for doing so much to help the MixCoach community. Grab your cell phones and snap a video of you singing or dancing along to the song in your studios, grab your family and share a video of you enjoying this “Beautiful Life” and submit it to be a part of their music video! Check out the video to see how you can help!

Noticing The Improvement In Your Mixing

A while back I mixed a project for a long-time client. After everything was said and done I had a conversation with them that surprised me… They were really excited and thought the project was probably one of the best things I had ever mixed for them. They even asked how I approached this one differently than before…

The thing was…
I didn’t do anything vastly different than I had done for them in the past. I just hadn’t mixed a project for them in a while. This got me thinking about how when we progress as mixers, it can feel like we’re not really progressing at all. It’s gradual. A tweak to our workflow here, a change in how we approach EQ there, and with each thing we get a little better. So we don’t see the improvement. But other people do. And that’s really encouraging.

If we were to listen to a mix I did a few years ago, I would say it still sounds great, but that I could do better today. If we hopped in a time machine and visited “Future Jon”, I’m sure he would tell us the same thing about what I mixed yesterday (I would then proceed to ask “Future Jon” to impart all of his “Future Wisdom” on me so I could come back to blow people’s minds… but that would probably break the space-time continuum… maybe it’s best if we just leave “Future Jon” alone for now).

The point is…
When we’re working, grinding, learning, head down blocking out distractions, we don’t often see our own progress, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. So if you feel like you’re not moving forward, or moving fast enough, let yourself off the hook a bit. Others are more likely to see the positive changes than you are.


Every month on MixCoach Pro Member folks have the option of submitting their mixes for video Feedback from one of our Coaches. As a Coach I always feel that this is one of the coolest things we do. We always shuffle the coaches so the Pro Members who submit multiple times get a different perspective and set of ears on their mixes from month to month. This also allows us as Coaches to see huge growth over time. Each mix gets better and better so by the time the first Coach is assigned a  Member again, that Member has learned from 3-4 other Coaches and implemented their feedback. I’m always amazed at how fast people grow.
Wherever you’re at in your mixing journey, growth can be hard to see. But don’t be discouraged. Growth is happening. Even if you can’t see it, other people can.

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We offer MixCoach Pro Members the option to submit mixes for Coach Feedback (for additional cost). Find out more about the membership by clicking HERE. 

MixCoach – Conversation With Graham Cochrane About Specialization Over Generalization . . .

Specialization Over Generalization

Prior to shooting video posted to MixCoach, Kevin talks to Graham Cochrane about marketing yourself as an engineer. Kevin says many times it’s better to take the approach of specializing in something over the “I’m good at everything” approach.

Kevin definitely believes that you should be a well-rounded engineer and that’s what he teaches relentlessly at MixCoachMember.com, but when it comes to marketing yourself as an engineer, be a specialist.

We’ve got it on video so check out the video!

Understanding Attack – The Attack Principle

If you’ve automated almost anything, you’ve encountered what Kevin calls the “Attack Principle”.

Understanding these tiny dynamics can help your mixes become more crisp and clear. Not understanding this can leave you “chasing your tail” for hours.Continue reading

Guest Article: The Emotional Content Of Recorded Music

Today we have an incredible guest post for you guys coming from one of our subscribers- Keith Stark. Keith wrote in to us in response to a blog post that we published earlier this year and after some discussion on the subject, we decided to have Keith write an article for the blog!

We really hope you guys enjoy! Keith will be available for discussions, questions, and concerns related to the topic so please leave any responses you have in the comments section below this article.

About Keith: 

Keith is a digital audio engineer, mixer, and producer currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, afterspending 20 years working in Los Angeles and Bakersfield.  Beginning with radio and TV commercial audioin the central valley, he evolved to engineer and mix indie documentary film scores in the LA market. These films won awards ranging from an Emmy (“Made in LA”)to the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in the post-loudness-wars streaming audio production environment. He hopes to inspire others to shake off the chains of compression  and limiting, to reinstate dynamics to its rightful place as a tool to enhance the emotional richness in music.


 The Emotional Content of Recorded Music

Much of the emotional content of recorded music comes from its dynamics.  In an attempt to re-invigorate recorded music, the industry is in the midst of an evolution from a peak-normalized production environment, brought on by the inventions of the automobile CD player and the Waves L1 brickwall limiter in the early 1990s, to a loudness-normalized production brought on by the recent rise to dominance of the streaming music services and by the passage of the CALM Act.  

There is no longer any reason to produce music with a DR (Dynamic Range) of 3 or 4 @ -2 LKFS when Apple Music reduces all tracks to -16 LKFS, Spotify reduces all tracks to -13 LKFS, YouTube reduces all tracks to -13 LKFS, and terrestrial radio reduces all tracks to -23 LKFS to conform to the CALM Act.  In case you didn’t get the memo, The Loudness Wars are over – emotion and sanity have triumphed! 

Those of us who value the beauty of recorded music are still at the mercy of the MP3 codec, which was optimized by Karlheinz Brandenberg of the Fraunhaufer Institute in the early 1990s and is the primary format in which the world receives its music.  The MP3 codec was optimized to “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega which had a DR of 10 @ -20 LKFS.  If you want your music to sound best when imprisoned in the MP3 format, it is best not to overdrive the codec. In addition, all of the software used to record and mix commercial music are +4 dBu digital systems, which means that 0 = -18 dbFS, which is halfway down on most of the meters.  Therefore, in order to avoid adding distortion and un-musical compression, mixing and mastering levels should be kept between -18 dbFS and -30 dbFS. This approach will produce a track which will be right where it will sound the best as an MP3!

 There are a few inexpensive tools for tracking and mixing music that I have discovered recently which encourage the production of great-sounding tracks that maximize the musicality of working within this present paradigm.  Harrison Consoles Mixbus 3.6 DAW ($79) has the heart and sound of a console in a DAW form. The tracks get along well when summed in this DAW, rather than struggling against each other.  In addition, Mixbus has a subroutine which optimizes the polarity of all tracks selected, something that would take forever to do manually. The resulting track possesses a solidity and focus that is very compelling – it sounds like  real music! What’s more, it is the only DAW that I have come across where you can specify a loudness value and max true peak for your export, which is why I have once again selected -20 LKFS with -3 dbTP.  Beyond -3 dbTP, the sound acquires a harsh, sand-papery quality.  All of these strategies and tools produce tracks at about the same loudness. Mixbus provides 8 busses to balance groups and effects, while applying the most subtle tape saturation that I have encountered.


 – Valhalla Vintage Verb is the best-sounding software reverb that I have heard, and it is only $50! I use it on five busses in most pop tracks.

 – Finally, the Tokyo Dawn Slick EQ Mastering Edition is the crown jewel.  It has a learn function which analyzes the frequency content of your track and matches it to any reference track you select. Most times, I use “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk which won the Best-Engineered Non-Classical Grammy in 2014. It had a DR of 8, so it was considerably more dynamic than most charting music these days.  Daft Punk spent over a million dollars recording, mixing, and mastering this project, and the public loved Random Access Memories, so to able to have my tracks carry that contour is a wonder, especially at only $54.  This plugin also allows you to make everything below a selected frequency (I use 100 Hz) mono. You can also widen the stereo image as well!

If you love what real music does to your soul, you don’t have to spend a fortune or countless hours fruitlessly trying to get tracks to blend. Simply use these new tools and get started making music sound as it should be. To be clear, I have no financial ties to any of the companies mentioned, and I have no endorsements.  I’m just a guy who believes that the emotion encoded in music can and should be released to work it’s magic in the world.  

Happy mixing!


Keith Stark

Impact Audio Productions

 

Production Credits: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2305472

Mix Samples: http://www.soundcloud.com/onegoodsoundguy

 

Interview with Matt Butler – How to Mix #1 Radio Singles

Today we have a great video/ podcast for you guys featuring Matt Butler, a long time contributor to the MixCoach community and one of our Mix “Coaches” at MixCoach Member. Kevin interviews Matt about mixing a string of #1 radio singles and the secret to his recent success as an engineer, as well as tips for up-and-coming engineers.

Check out the video to learn more about what Matt has been up to!

 



 

If you have any questions or topics that you would like to learn more about or see more of on MixCoach, be sure to write us at support@mixcoach.com

 

Creating Space with Reverb

Today’s post comes to you guys from one of our great friends, long-time MixCoach Pro Member, and incredible mixer, Andy Peck. Andy is also one of the pioneering members of MixCoach Platinum where he was able to mix the song “Grace” on The Livingstons new album, sound examples of which are featured in this article. Andy decided to write an article explaining how he used reverbs on this song to add height, depth, and dimension to the mix. Check it out below!


 

Today I wanted to share with you guys how I approach using reverbs to creating space in a mix.

First, listen to the wet guitar, look for the depth and height that the reverb adds.  Now listen to the dry example 2, and your mind will miss the reverb.

Play ex 1 (Wet) :

Play ex 2 (Dry):

In this example, as with many sparse  instruments, it is easy to overdue. The goal is not to make it sound “Wet”, just natural.  Different types of reverb can add dimension and height.  This was derived from a Fab DuPont video on Puremix that I saw, if you want to learn more, I highly recommend purchasing this video.

To give an instrument dimension, I use three different reverbs:

1. Room:

  • To add space between you and the instrument.

Play example 3:

This is just an IR convolution reverb, simulating a room.  Not a big room, just like an office.  Notice how it adds space between you and the instrument.  This is especially true with a close miked source.

image

2. Plate

  • To give space between the instrument and the back wall.  This creates distance. Don’t use too bright or too fat of plate.  I am using D Verb medium plate.

Play example 4:

Listen to how just the plate reverb adds distance between the source and “behind it”.  This is the Room and the Plate together.

image-2

3.  Hall.

  • To create the sensation of height.  Yes, a hall has high ceilings.  That is what we are trying to capture, the sensation of height.

Play example 5:

I usually cut some of the tail off of it.   This is an IR reverb with a Lexicon 480l patch from Samplicity.

image-3

What we are doing is trying to create 3 natural environments to give the source something more.  I don’t use it on everything , no plate or hall on kick and bass. It  can be very effective when you use is sparingly, especially when it is a very sparse mix.

Start with the room, add some plate, and then some hall.  Each element adds dimension. Try removing one, then the others.  Experimentation is the key, and I’m sure you will overdue it the 1st few times.  These examples were a bit exaggerated to illustrate the point.  It takes practice.

*Audio Examples are from the song “Grace” by The Livingstons* Click Here To Check out The full Song

 


If you have any questions or topics that you would like to learn more about or see more of on MixCoach, be sure to write us at support@mixcoach.com

Joe Carrell’s Approach To Balancing Instruments and Vocals

Joe Carrell recently recorded an awesome video for you guys talking about how he approaches a mix in order to achieve a good balance between the instruments and the vocals. Check it out to learn his four tips for achieving a great balance!

 

Joe Carrell’s 4 Tips For balancing Instruments and Vocals

1) Use genre appropriate reference mixes.

2) Mix instrument tracks first.

3) Use volume automation.

4) Double check at very low volumes.

If you have any questions or topics that you would like to learn more about or see more of on MixCoach, be sure to write us at support@mixcoach.com

 

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