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Welcome To The Team, Joe Carrell!

Today, we are excited to announce that Joe Carrell will be officially joining our team of contributors on the MixCoach Blog and community. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Joe, he is an engineer and producer here in Nashville, TN. Joe has been featured on the site several times over the years appearing in podcasts, interviews, and was even kind enough to do a mixing workshop at last year’s MixCoach Experience Weekend. Joe brings a wealth of knowledge about Recording, Mixing, and the Music Industry as a whole, so we are very excited to have him on the site sharing his knowledge and expertise. If you would like to learn more about Joe and his work just Click Here To Go To His Personal Website

If you missed our past interviews with Joe, just follow the links below to go check them out!
Kevin Interviews Mixing Pro Joe Carrell For MixCoach
– MixCoach Podcast: 052: Interview With Joe Carrell
Kevin Interviews Joe Carrell

To officially welcome Joe to the team and introduce him to all of you, Kevin recorded this short video below!

If you have any questions for Joe, or just want to show him some love, you can comment below or write him directly at joe@mixcoach.com. For questions or topics that you would like to learn more about, or content that you would like to see more of on MixCoach, be sure to write us at support@mixcoach.com 

Welcome Tassy Sandor To The MixCoach Community of Contributers

Today, we are excited to officially welcome Tassy Sandor to MixCoach as one of our Blog Contributors. Tassy is an outstanding mixer from Hungary and has been a member of our MixCoach Pro Member community for a long time. He was one of the very first members of MixCoach Pro Member and has been with the site since the very beginning.

We are excited to have him on the team and are looking forward to some great articles, videos, and tutorials from Tassy. Recently, Tassy wrote a great article about compressor thresholds and how to understand them before this introductory post. Be sure to go check it out!

If you missed Tuesday’s article by Tassy Sandor on Setting The Threshold On Compressors just Click Here!

To officially welcome Tassy Sandor to the team, Kevin Ward recorded the short video below!

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

Welcome Kevin de Wit To The MixCoach Community of Contributors

Today we are excited to officially welcome Kevin de Wit to MixCoach as one of our Blog Contributors. Kevin is an outstanding mixer from Australia and has been a member of our MixCoach Pro Member community for a long time, and was one of the “Pioneering” members of MixCoach Platinum.

We are excited to have him on the team and are looking forward to some great articles, videos, and tutorials from Kevin. Yesterday Kevin de Wit (not to be confused with MixCoach founder Kevin Ward), wrote an awesome article about sibilance and how to deal with it so be sure to go check it out!

If you missed yesterday’s article by Kevin De Witt on 3 Ways To Control Sibilance, just Click Here!

Kevin de Wit’s mixing and mastering website: http://www.kdwmixingmastering.com/

To officially welcome Kevin de Wit to the team Kevin Ward recorded the short video below!

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

How To: Link Stereo Pan Knobs In ProTools

Dan Mikesell just did a “silent” video on MixCoach to show something that I’ve never paid attention to before.  This is a quick video on how to link your pan knobs both on the channel and on the auxiliary send.

I hope you find this helpful.

MixCoach Studio Design. On to Plan B.

Studio Design Plan B

Here is an update on the studio rebuild progress of kiloWatt/MixCoach Studios. After meeting with my insurance restoration expert and David Rochester a studio designer and longtime friend of mine, I have discovered that there are some issues with the new studio layout I designed. Check out the video to find out the mistakes of my design and what the studio layout will be after consulting with David Rochester.

More updates coming soon!

Kevin

Do you have a studio? Share your studio’s layout with us and any advice on what you like about your studio or what you wish you had done differently when designing and building it!

Plan B, Studio Design, MixCoach

MixCoach Podcast 069: Automating Vocals

Automating & Mixing Vocals

This week we are talking all about automating vocals and breaking your mix into parts.

Raw Transcript:

Announcer: This is the MixCoach podcast number 69. John: On this episode of the podcast we’re going to talk about automating vocals and a simple way to break something down from a huge track count into its individual parts and make it simpler to mix and get an overall better final product. John: Hey, Kev. Kevin: Hey, John. John: On this episode, we’re going to talk about automating vocals. This is something that when I first started coming over here working with you a decent amount, years ago, I don’t know how many years it’s been now. You changed the way I approached automating vocals. It was kind of a game changer for me as far as in my mixing abilities. Let’s talk a little bit about how you approach vocals and vocal mixing. Whenever you go to automate the vocals, you break it down into different subgroups. You’re doing the stacked vocals, if there are multiple vocals of the same part. You’ll mix those. Then you’ll mix the background vocals and then the very last thing you do it mix the lead vocals. If there’s a vocal and then if it’s a trio, you’ll mix the trio last, those three guys. Explain your workflow whenever you go into mixing vocals. Where in the process does that happen? Does it happen last? Does it happen somewhere in between? Kevin: Typically it happens last. I’d like to say that I never solo anything. I even believe that people that say they don’t solo stuff are not actually telling the complete and total truth. They probably do solo stuff [laughs]. John: Right on. Kevin: What I do, what’s built in to my workflow I guess is…we covered it a long time ago. I think you called it the… John: Hierarchy of mixing. Kevin: …of mixing, yeah. John: It’s a mixing pyramid, essentially. Kevin: In my mind it was a pyramid. Whatever’s supposed to be the loudest is on top and you mix it last. It’s what I call “Last is loudest.” John: Yeah. Kevin: Basically, what I’ll do is I’ll mix instruments, drums, everything first. Then I’ll mix the fill instruments usually next, which is in between vocal phrases there’s usually an instrument that plays. John: Right. Kevin: They call that a fill. They’ll trade off, “You take the first verse fills, I’ll take the second verse fills and then still or piddle will cover the choruses,” or something like that. It’s filled. Third is usually the instruments that are playing the fills. I’ll make sure that I can hear those. Basically, what I’m doing is I’m mixing. A few weeks ago, we talked about what you deliver to a record company. John: Right. Kevin: Basically, I’m mixing those in reverse order. I’m mixing the instrumental track first, then I’m mixing the TV track, and then I’m mixing the vocal. Typically, what you mix last, you mix loudest. Typically, what I’ll do is after I’ve mixed the fills and the instrumental track is done, then usually I’ll take the background vocals, or choir. I’ve mixed songs with background vocals, choir, stacks, trio, and lead vocal altogether. You kind of have to, in your mind, put those in what the order is of importance, and what would be the most clear path to a good mix. I’ve gotten it down to where it’s drums and bass, instruments, fills, choir or background vocals, stacks, and then lead vocal. John: Nice. Kevin: In that order. Going from the bottom of the mixing pyramid, what I just mentioned was the bottom of the pyramid, drums and bass. As you go toward the top, it gets more narrow and more focused, what you need to concentrate on the most. In country and gospel, even jazz, if you think about, if it’s not sung there’s usually an instrument that is like the lead vocalist. Even when I’m mixing that, I’ll mix that last. Why go against what you just naturally do and that’s mix what you’re mixing now. You mix it loudest. If you mix it in the right order, in that workflow, it all becomes pretty simple. We can break down even more. Background vocals. Usually, they’re stacked. Usually it’s soprano, alto, tenor, or whatever. It’s three parts. John: Like a double of those. Kevin: Yeah. They’re all doubled. Usually, what I’ll do is I’ll mix each part, or at least two parts at a time, because I find that my ear can blend two parts together, but if it’s three parts, it’s a little harder because you haven’t… John: “Where’s the fill in that middle part?” You have to determine what’s the most important part all at the same time. Kevin: You’re trying to multitask, really. You’re trying to get blends between three parts, but really… John: You only have two ears. If you had a third ear, maybe. Maybe it would work. Kevin: Don’t you have a third ear? John: Oh gosh. Kevin: [laughs] No, but usually what I’ll do is I’ll even mix that on its own level of the pyramid. I’ll mix those two parts at a time. Usually, I’ll take the two harmony parts, and I’ll mix those together. Then I’ll put who’s singing the melody in last. Tuck it in under those two other parts. Then you’re pretty much done. Sometimes I’ll even ride that whole subgroup to make sure that that’s blending in with the track. Then I’ll put the stack in there, or the lead vocal, whatever’s next. I mix backwards all the time. Mix in reverse. John: The other thing that changed the way I thought about riding, almost anything but more so the vocal part of it, the vocal aspect, is you look at the meters as well and even up everybody to the same general level whereas before I talked to you and watched you mix and you introduced this idea, I would just listen and go, “Okay. Well, then they need to go up here at this point because that’s a cool lick,” that sort of thing. I was only boosting the cool licks as opposed to making them match with each other and blend well across the timeline. They were sticking out at moments whenever I felt that they were singing something cool, but they didn’t blend throughout the entire timeline of the track. Explain the metering process, where you look at the meters and try to get them even across the time. Kevin: Let’s say you’re mixing two vocal parts that are doubled vocal parts. You’ve got them split out, left and right. It’s really hard, if you listen in stereo, for you not to be distracted by the right side and the left side. You want to listen to if they’re even. I almost always, we talked about 80-20 and I’ll mention it again, 80 percent of the time I’m mixing in mono. If you’re mixing in mono, you can’t really tell if the right vocal is loud or if the left vocal is loud, nor would you really want to because you’re really looking for a blend. In mono, what I’ll do is I’ll look on my meter, which I used to have a Control 24, and I would look at those… John: Those meters. Kevin: There’s the hand to forehead thing again like, “Why did I ever get rid of that piece of gear?” But I digress. Usually what I’ll do is, instead of concentrating on what’s on the left and what’s right, look at the blend and I’ll know, by listening, that they’re both in the center of my head, that one is louder than the other. You look at the meter, and you can tell instantly. You have to set your meters up right. You have to set your meters up post fader to where what you do on the fader reflects on the meter. Usually, if you keep those in the same area, then they’re blended. They blended about as well as you can blend one. That’s one part. The second part, typically, sometimes you forget which part is the high part, which part’s the low part. Usually, if one starts to step out of balance, you look at the meters, and usually the one that’s hotter is the one that’s louder so you compensate on that. I definitely mix vocals as much with my eyes as I do my ears. John: That was kind of an epiphany for me as well because I never really approached them that way. It was always “boost what’s cool,” as opposed to blending them together to where they matched, to where they were a unit as opposed to just individual vocals where you would break them down and mix that unit in sections really helped as well. It made something so complex as, “Take these 14 background different vocals and mix them.” That seems very hard in your mind. I don’t have 14 fingers. If you break it down into the sections and break it down into its individual parts, keeping it within the same essential volume range whenever you’re riding each individual part, then whenever you blend them together, they work. Make sure they’re all working there. That just makes it so much simpler, to break it down into each individual part. Kevin: It can be very overwhelming if you get a mix with a high track count. If you don’t know how to build it into a workflow that you automatically go, “These go together, that goes together. I’m going to mix this, then I’m going to mix this.” If you have a workflow that lets you do that sort of thing, then there’s really nothing that can overwhelm you as long as you can organize it first. One side of your brain organizes it and the next side of your brain… John: Then you go get some coffee and then you come back and have the other side of your brain, the creative side to take over. Something that an orchestral arranger told me one time was that if you’re organizing in an orchestra, if each individual section sounds good within itself and fits with the chord structure and that sort of thing, it will end up sounding good together. They’ll fit together as long as they sound good individually. It’s kind of the same way with a mix. I think we talked about this on a previous podcast a while back about workflow. If each individual section sounds good, if the instruments and the vocals sound good together and if just the instruments and the drums sound good together, that sort of thing, then your mix is going to sound good. Kevin: Well, if you remember, when we first started working on this, we mixed an orchestral piece. It is now the MixCoach guide to mixing orchestral music. That’s actually you and I sitting down and me showing you how I went about approaching an orchestra. That was one of those things where if you look at an orchestra as a whole, then it is overwhelming. You do tend to go with just the room mics, if it’s recorded that way, which they rarely are in Nashville these days, it’s all recorded in different sections, as you know If you break it down to the woodwinds, balance the woodwinds like you would a quartet or two at a time. Sometimes during a song they’re playing all four at once, and then you approach it that way, but most of the time it’s only two or one at a time. If you break it down to the woodwind section, is it blended? Yes. Okay. Listen to the trombones. Are they blended? Yes. Are the French horns? Are they blended? Yes. Then, once you get everything blended together, at some point it becomes the orchestra and the band. Then it becomes the orchestra and band and then the vocals. It’s a pyramid. You work on the bottom, and you build the foundation as well as you can, then the pyramid stands on itself. You can take any one block out of the pyramid and the whole mix will still stand whereas, if you build it from the top down, pulling one thing out is going to completely… John: Just wipe you out. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. For sure. Alright guys, well, that covers everything as far as automating vocals as well as breaking things down into their individual parts and making mixing something with high track counts simpler. Announcer: Thanks for listening. This has been the MixCoach 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 MixCoach.com.

Question: Do you have any tricks that you use when automating vocals?

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MixCoach Podcast 068: Layering Effects in a Mix

Layering Effects in a Mix

Layering effects is the name of the game on the MixCoach Podcast this week. Enjoy!

Raw Transcript:

[Recording: This is the Mix Coach Podcast, Episode 68.]

John: On this episode of the podcast we’re going to talk about
layering effects as well as layering some of the like samples and that sort
of thing and definitely talking a little bit about how to mix as your own
type of engineer with your own set of sounds. Alright, Kev. This week we’re
talking about [inaudible, 00:33]

Kevin: You scared me.

John: That was really abrupt.

Kevin: You scared me.

John: I was like wondering if we were recording then I looked over,
‘We’re recording,’ so I just went right in. This week we’re going to talk
about effects layering. I know on Mix Coach Member we’ve had a lot of guys
that I’ve suggested doing, like either a delay into a reverb or like adding
a bigger reverb for the tail and then a smaller reverb for like kind of the
beginning, for the attack. That sort of thing. Sometimes that can get kind
of confusing for guys and sometimes it can be overused where they just kind
of use two reverbs that don’t really match. Their EQ doesn’t really sound
good together. That sort of thing so in your experience, you’ve had a
decent amount of experience with effects layering, kind of what’s the
appropriate kind of thing going with effects layering, whether it’s a
delay, a reverb, whatever?

Kevin: Well as far as effects layering, really the only layering that
I actually do is usually on the vocal and I’ll put a delay and a verb on
kind of, either the same return or I’ll kind of intermingle them. I think
there’s a tutorial video on exactly how I do this on, you have to look for
it on YouTube but basically what I’ll do is I’ll create a stereo effects
return or an [inaudible, 01:54] input and then I’ll put a delay first and
then I’ll make the delay be on like quarter notes or dotted eighth notes or
something in that range. Usually dotted eighth notes and then what I’ll do
is I’ll change the mixture of that to where it’s mostly dry but there’s a
little bit of delay on it so it’s almost like you would put a real vocal,
like the kind of delay you’d put on a real vocal. Then after that I’ll put
reverb on it.

I found that when I was using Dverb, quite a bit, which was not,
probably not the best but not bad by any stretch. If you wanted a long . .
.

John: It gets a bad rep for sure but . . .

Kevin: It does.

John: . . . I mean, to be honest with you it doesn’t sound terrible.

Kevin: [inaudible, 02:37] I use it all the time still but if you need
longer reverb times, if you need longer trail times instead of just, like
cranking the knob to six seconds what I’ll do is I’ll send it through in
chunks with the a delay. As far as layering, that’s usually the only
layering I did but however, when I went to Capitol Records last year and
mixed and when I met Steve, who’s now . . .

John: Steve [Genowek]

Kevin: Steve Genowek who’s now [inaudible, 03:05]

John: A Mix Coach Member [inaudible, 03:06] that sort of thing.

Kevin: He’s such a great asset to have there and he’s such a wealth of
knowledge but one of the things he showed me there was we use their
chambers there. They’ve got, I think six chambers and they all [inaudible,
03:17]

John: Designed by Les Paul.

Kevin: Les Paul. Actually I think they dug up the parking lot and they
actually put these chambers downstairs and they’re oddly shaped chambers
with [out take] voice of the theater, speakers in the middle so it’s a mono
send and then there’s two SM81s that are, I think they’re the Omni version
of this. I mean [inaudible, 03:40] I didn’t know there was one but anyways,
that’s what it is. Each chamber sounds different than the other chamber and
I found from Steve that whoever, you have to kind of call dibs on a certain
chamber that you want.

One of the things that Steve showed me, which was really cool was
that he layers reverbs or he layers the chambers. He would take, we might
take a, I don’t know, the EM2 250 and then layer it into the chamber and so
that’s really, and I really just did that under his tutelage and it was one
of those things where it’s like, ‘That sounds great. Let’s leave it right
there.’ [inaudible, 04:17] really ask, ‘What percentage of this chamber was
it to that?’ I never did do any of that.

As far as a general rule for me, I don’t do a lot of layering of
verbs. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for me having a template set up
to where I was printing a vocal stem at the same time I was printing a band
stem, I would probably use the same verb but I have to keep those discreet
but I usually use the same kind of verbs on each one. If I were just mixing
old school in front of the console I would probably have one or two verbs
and I would use those independently. I would use though, probably one verb
for the vocals and probably another verb for the band.

John: As far as that goes, like sometimes I’ve found that like the
band having the same verb as the vocals kind of helps the vocals sit in the
mix a little bit more. Then the drums can have kind of like if I was using
like a haul on something I could use like a plate on the drums, that sort
of thing where the drums kind of fit in their own because of the transient
nature. They fit in their own space and they will still blend with
everything but sometimes with the instruments, if I’m using two different
like crazy different effects on the vocals and then the instruments.
Sometimes the vocals will sit on top of rather than inside of the mix. That
sort of thing.

I’m kind of the same way where like a lot of times, like sometimes
I’ll use a delay that’s mostly a delay into a reverb and kind of mix that
in with a normal reverb. That sort of thing but other than that, like it’s
really few and far between wherever I layer too many effects. Most of the
time it is a combo of like a delay and a verb.

Kevin: We’ve been talking about things, like a few weeks ago we talked
about expanders and then we’re talking about layering and we both say, ‘We
don’t really do that that much.’ One of the things I think is a benefit to
this is like personally I would like to know because we talked about,
several weeks ago we talked about do the tricks get in the way of your
mix and sometimes I would like to know that that is a cool trick but
nobody ever uses it. I mean that’s one trick that one guy used on one
record and now everybody’s trying to use it too much, with not much
success.

On these sort of things I think it would be beneficial to find out
that nobody uses, layers reverb. Everybody sticks, when reverb [inaudible,
06:36] sound and maybe this one engineer has a sound where he uses ten
compressors or whatever and that works for him.

John: Seems like a lot of compressors there. I feel like the game
staging would be a little bit complicated between ten compressors, that
sort of thing.

Kevin: Even [inaudible, 06:51] compressor into the next and it sounds
like radio, I guess [inaudible, 06:55]

John: You just chained it all together. To be honest with you, like
it’s, whenever I say I don’t use it very often I say, ‘On this one I mean
more like one in every, like maybe one or two mixes off of an album.’ Maybe
like one or two out of ten songs I feel like it’s appropriate and a lot of
times whenever I do effects layering it’s on a song with like maybe a
sparse production to where, like it needs something to fill, kind of the
void or fill like a vibey song that needs to fill its space.

Kevin: To where the verb is an instrument.

John: Right. Where it is part of the texture of the song where it’s
like, ‘This is a delay going into a verb’ and then you slip that into in
addition to the regular verb. That sort of thing or sometimes, like even
that, if it’s like there’s a very sparse section of the song like at the
very intro or something where there’s like it’s just the vocal. Sometimes
I’ll layer an effect there but then take it out whenever the rest of the
band comes in because it just would get in the way and you would barely
hear it anyway.

Kevin: I’ll tell you one other layering, if we’re talking about if
we’ve ever used layering before. I have experimented with, again not very
successfully but I experimented with a pitch shift before the verb and what
I wanted to happen was the pitch to actually go up . . .

John: As it tailed off?

Kevin: . . . as it tailed off.

John: That’s cool.

Kevin: I think there’s probably verbs out there that do that but this
was kind of like a regenerating pitch shift with verb on it.

John: Gotcha.

Kevin: I did that once and I think it was for an effect and like I
said, I can’t even remember which song it was so it must not have been
landmarkish.

John: Must not have been like that successful [inaudible, 08:33] As
far as that goes, it’s like a lot of the stuff, like you said, it’s just,
it’s very specific to the song where you have an idea and something I
wanted to mention was if there’s kind of an unconventional thing that you
hear into a song and you want to try, don’t be afraid to try it because you
can always bypass it after. Set your amount of time, say ‘I’m going to try
this and chase this rabbit down the rabbit hole for ten, 15 minutes.’ After
ten, 15 minutes, if you’re not close or happy with it you can just bypass
it and move on. Didn’t waste too much time. Didn’t waste nothing like that
so no harm, no foul. That sort of situation.

A lot of times it affects layering, that’s what ends up happening
where it’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. This is going to sound really
great.’ You get in there and it’s like, ‘Well, while it sounds good it may
not be the direction that the song was wanting to go in and it may not
actually add anything substantial to the song. Let’s just take it out so it
doesn’t muddy the mix.’

Kevin: We talked about this several weeks ago on the podcast that it’s
not really any one thing.

John: One thing.

Kevin: It’s a layer of a bunch of things and I wouldn’t be surprised
if you found that perfect sound, that perfect layering or whatever and then
you bypass one of the things that was in the layer and you couldn’t really
tell or your wife couldn’t tell if it was gone or who you were mixing for
couldn’t really tell [inaudible, 09:52] I wouldn’t be discouraged about
that because good mixing is lots of little things and not anything big.
It’s definitely worth spending time finding the right layering things in
but don’t be disappointed and don’t think that you haven’t made any
progress if it’s not a life changing, ‘Whoa. What did you just do to that?’
Because it’s usually not bad.

John: A lot of times it’s the little things, like you said and even
to an extent where like, whenever I’m doing any like programming or adding
to a song, multiple kicks, like if you’re using one kick for like a certain
sound and then you with, especially with like pop and hip hop, that sort of
thing, if you have a big beefy low end kick, then you have another one
that’s kind of like a punchy, attack kick, that sort of thing, layering
those guys together is kind of nice because you can choose to eliminate one
and just have that high kick, the punchy kick for one hit and then make a
really big impulse on like a down beat or something like that.

Kevin: You know what? I don’t know why I didn’t think about this but I
layered drums for quite a bit. I mean I used to, if there was a snare drum
that didn’t have quite enough sizzle and I couldn’t add anymore top into
it, a lot of times what I would do is I would take a sound replacer or
maybe the [inaudible]

John: Trigger or something like that.

Kevin: . . . trigger or something like that and I would trigger a
tambourine on top of it and that would give it the topping that it needed
that happened at the same time and that wasn’t really, and that was a small
layer.

John: Especially if you need something like a lift on a chorus or
something like that, a tambourine on a snare can sound, like can just
signify, ‘Here’s the chorus.’ That sort of thing where it just gets more
exciting in a section. For sure. Then layering, like you said, layering
like that, that’s a kind of a cool way that a mix engineer, kind of cool
trick that you shouldn’t be scared to do necessarily. If you hear something
like that where it’s like, ‘Let me add something to the snare or supplement
it somehow,’ don’t be scared to do that for sure because chances are it’ll
end up better than it was in the beginning.

Kevin: I used to be a little hesitant to add layers because I didn’t
want to add [flam], like if you layered a snare drum on top of another
snare drum, which is something I do quite a bit too. I’ll layer snare drums
on top of each other but it hasn’t always been as easy as it is now, I mean
I started using the Massey Dirt and it’s so accurate. Then lately, as of
late I’ve been using Steven Slate’s Trigger [inaudible, 12:19]

John: Trigger. That’s [inaudible, 12:20]

Kevin: It is so phase accurate that if your sample is out of phase
with the original then it will sound like it’s out of phase. It’s a lot
easier to sample things [inaudible, 12:31] We start talking about presets a
few episodes ago, another thing that I’ll do is I’ll have a great kick
sound that I can pull up and it’s a preset or I’ll have a great black
[inaudible, 12:42] singer or a piccolo singer that I want to layer in on
top of it or even, sometimes even just replace.

John: Definitely I think that’s a great thing for engineers to have
as well as and recently there’s been a couple of guys that I know have been
using their sample catalogs and there’s specific ones they’ve been using
them as kind of a calling card. That sort of thing where it’s like, ‘If you
want these sounds come to me as a, because I’m the one that has these
sounds because I recorded them,’ and that sort of thing.

I definitely think that’s a legitimate thing as well that you can use
layering wise is, ‘Hey, man. If you have this amazing snare sound and you
just sneak that in, that’s just a thing that in your mix that you layered
in there that can definitely be a calling card for you.

[Recording: 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 mixcoach.com.]

Question: Do you use any effects layering when you mix?

MixCoach Podcast 067: EQ on the Master

EQ processing on the Master

This week is all about the EQ processing we tend to put on the master.

Raw Transcript:

Kevin: This is the Mix Coach podcast, episode 67.

John: This week on the podcast we’re talking about EQ curves at the
end. So on your two bus what kind of EQ processing are you using to get
out on print the mix. [Background Music]

Kevin: It’s not a smiley face.

John: It’s not a smiley face

Kevin: Turn your phone off John [laughs].

John: All right hey Kev how’s it going?

Kevin: Hey John.

John: So this week I’m going to be talking I’m asking you if you have
like a EQ curve overall on your mix. That is kind of unilateral. If you
look at it afterwards and you go yeah that looks about like my mixes. So
if you’re looking at like a frequency response. Something like ozone or
some sort of an EQ curve. What does it look like? What is an accepted mix
kind of like for you.

Kevin: So what would my typical EQ curve look like?

John: Yeah

Kevin: Or like a two bus or an instrument [sounds like].

John: Yeah it’s like a two bus like you went under you output is. Do
you have a standard where you look at and you go yeah that looks about like
the rest of my mixes.

Kevin: That looks like I did it.

John: Yeah that looks like I did it.

Kevin: Yeah actually I do own ozone actually. I’ll take, I use a
filter again, I use another filter on the low end. And i just make sure.
And usually I’ll do this when I have a sub.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Like for when I’ve got a set of headphone really are truly on
the low end. I’ll usually filter it out until it starts to sound thin and I
know that it sound familiar but I’ll filter it out until it starts to sound
then. Then I’ll back it out just a little bit until it doesn’t and then
I’ll know that there’s really no usable frequencies below that curve. So
usually the left hand of the curve will be a filter. A high pass filter.
so it becomes straight up. And then sometimes on ozone you can tighten the
filter to where it has this bump.

John: Yeah at the top

Kevin: And sometimes I’ll even use that. On the high pass filter you
can pull the bandwidth in. And then it’ll have a little bump right before
the filter takes off to the bottom. So usually what I’ll do is I’ll expand
that and usually there’ll be a little bump

John: Nice

Kevin: Right coming out of the filter so the left hand side is at zero
and it comes up and then there’s a little bump that goes above the line and
then it comes back down.

John: Nice.

Kevin: That’s typically my trad in one in the filter I’ll add a little
low end. I forget. Do you remember what ozone calls that.

John: I do not. Not off the top of my head.

Kevin: It’s called a notch or something. I can’t remember exactly
what it is but if you look on ozone and I think. . .

John: It makes it sound more natural for sure to have a little bit of
a bump up above where you’re cutting out just some. It makes it feel a
little bit more natural that that nice high pass filter or low pass filter
one or the other.

Kevin: On the website where this podcast is located we’ll try to put
what that’s called and maybe take a screenshot and put a picture of what
that is.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: But typically moving forward so typically I’ll have a high pass
filter. It’ll come up from the bottom and then I’ll have the little bump
going above the line. And then typically there is a very wide curve.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Like from five, six, seven, eight. It’s something up there
usually what I’ll do is I’ll put a very wide bell on a frequency and take
it up past three until it starts to sound like air and so it doesn’t start
faking semblance.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: So you typically it’ll look like, I wish you could see my hand
in the podcast

John: [laughs].

Kevin: but it’ll have a little round curve at the top and right around
eight to ten K. . .

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Gives you some air.

John: Nice.

Kevin: And sometimes I’ll add a little shelf above that.

John: Nice.

Kevin: So. . .

John: So this goes up and then up just a tiny bit more?

Kevin: Yeah, yeah, yeah

John: Yeah, yeah great.

Kevin: What do you do?

John: I mean as far as that goes I always kind of do the same thing.
I make sure that everything that’s in there is necessary. Because you
don’t want thing hitting the compressor. You don’t want things going to
master that are going to affect that way it sounds that you aren’t hearing
or that aren’t necessary to the tone of the song. So I always adjust the
low pass filter, high pass filter that sort of thing just to make sure that
everything there is necessary. But typically I usually have a little bit
of, it’s essentially the same thing but rather than doing it as a boost, I
do it as a cut. Where I lowered, I bring down a little bit of the mid range
frequencies where it leaves that low end bump above there. But I’m cutting
a little bit in the mid range and leaving a little bit of high end air
situations. So I’m essentially it will probably look very similar to
your’s

Kevin: So it’s the same curve . . .

John: It’s the same curve. . .

Kevin: But it’s below the line.

John: But It’s below the line as opposed to above the line for sure.

Kevin: That’s good yeah. I’ll have to try that some time.

John: For sure.

Kevin: It’s the same result it just you’re cutting instead of
boosting.

John: Exactly

Kevin: That probably makes more sense.

John: And to be honest. I don’t know that when I picked that up but
it tends to just happen. I tend to just do it on every mix where I do it
as necessary and as needed where I listen and use your ears to listen and
see what’s actually what’s it doing. But it tends to be about the same
every time. It really does. Where I discover again whoa that looks very
similar to my last one. That sort of thing. So you know it’s specific to
the mix. It’s definitely something that just always happens.

[music]

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 and even a free course, be sure and visit up at mixcoach.com.

Question: What EQ processing do you use on your master?

MixCoach Podcast 066: Types of Submission Mixes

Types of Submission Mixes

Today’s episode is all about what types of submission mixes/tracks clients will want from you.

Raw Transcript:

Kevin: This is the Mix Coach Podcast, episode 66.

John: On this episode we’re going to talk about what types of mixes
we are delivering to record labels, to producers, to clients of any sort.
Whether it’s vocal up mix, vocal down mix, a split track or any sort of
situation like that. We’re going to talk about what Kevin likes to deliver.
And what’s kind of required and what’s not required. Hey Kev.

Kevin: Hey John.

John: So this week we’re going to be talking about types of mixes you
kind of deliver as your end product. Like, what do you give the producer or
the person that hired you to mix the thing, in the end? So do you do an
instrumental mix? A split track? That sort of thing. SO what kind of mixes
do you typically deliver? What’s in your template?

Kevin: Typically, and this is kind of a standard at least in the genre
that I work in quite a bit, it’s usually a mix, a finished stereo mix. And
then there’s usually an instrumental track which is no vocals whatsoever.
And then, unless it’s vocals for effects that are, could be a keyboard-y
kind of sound. And then the third mix would be what we call a TV tracks or,
you know, a minus. So you basically just subtract the vocal and you leave
the background vocals.

The theory of it being, you know, if they performed on TV and they
didn’t have a band,what would be the best case scenario? And that would be,
just take the lead vocal out. Or take, if it’s a trio, or a quartet or
something or a quintet, you know, take the lead vocals out. And I try in my
workflow, you know, it’s set up to where I basically mute one thing and
then I’m ready to . . .

John: To print. Yeah.

Kevin: But I’ll tell you what. One of the things I would love to start
implementing in my workflow is an acapella version.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Because then, you know, you’ve got every version. You can put
the stems together. Yeah. And then you’d have it.

John: Nice.

Kevin: But that’s typically what I’ll do. And then if I have to go
back and do split tracks like we talked on a previous episode, If I have to
do split tracks, that takes a little bit more brain power to do.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: And you typically, you know, like, sometimes you’ll run a click
split. And that’s basically a click on one side and everything but vocals
on the other side. And then sometimes you’ll run a vocal split. Which is
the band on one side and the vocals minus lead vocals on the other side.

John: Right on.

Kevin: So you can see how it can get pretty complicated.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: And then there’s even variations from that. Like, we want a
split track with the vocals on the right and everything but piano and bass
and drums on the left. I mean, I’ve done that before.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: So then you have to figure out, okay, how are they going to
know, how is the drummer going to know when the beginning of the song is?
How do I make that definite? So usually in my mixes workflow, I’ll deliver
the mix, the instrumental track, and then the TV track. And then I’ll say,
you know . . .

John: Anything extra.

Kevin: . . . will have to be done on a different session.

John: Right. Right. So basically you’ll import like stems or
something like that into and then mute things as needed. Or kind of how
does that work?

Kevin: Typically I would just do, I would just open the session and do
a Save-As, and then call it split tracks and whatever, and then I would
just, you know, basically from the busses and subgroups that I have already
in place I’ll either take the region and mute it. Or I’ll mute the track or
something like that.

But it’s typically another session in itself because you, you know,
like what I’ll end up doing is sometimes I’ll take the drummer’s count off.
They need to hear that if it’s a band instrumental split. So like if
they’re no drums, no bass, no piano, but they want the orchestra and some
of the electric guitars in there, then the drummer’s got to be really sure
when to come in. Especially if he’s not playing with the clicks.

So a lot of times I’ll take the drum overheads or the snare drum or
something out. Or the click track. And I’ll put it in that side of the
click. Or, you know . . .

John: Or even some voice going “one, two, three”.

Kevin: And sometimes that voice is me actually. So, and I’ve done that
before where, you know, I just exported a bunch of stems. And to be honest
with you, I think it would be a great workflow if instead of all those
mixes, I just exported stems to where all the stems would equal the mix.
And then you could take the stems and, oh, I don’t want the piano in this
section of the song. Then you could just take that stem and mute it. Print
the mix. You’re done. But I haven’t really . . .

John: Implemented that.

Kevin: I haven’t done that. I haven’t put the brainpower in.

John: So the other question I have is kind of, a lot of times there
are record labels that will want like a vocal up mix, like a vocal up mix
and a vocal down mix. Different variations like that. Have you found any
kind of use for those types of things? I know there was only one or two
scenarios that I’ve ever had like a vocal up and a vocal down mix become in
mastering where, say, whatever the mastering engineer puts on it boosts the
vocal too hot in one moment where it wasn’t before.

But now it is. And that sort of situation where it’s like, okay, for
like this one section can you switch to the vocal down version? You know,
so were there any scenarios like that, similar to that? That you’ve ever
had a vocal up or vocal down kind of be beneficial?

Kevin: Well, you know, I think the vocal up, vocal down thing came
from 10, 15 years ago when people actually mixed in studios that were
booked the next day. And these days, as you know, you can do almost endless
revisions now. And there’s really no excuse for not being loud enough
because you sent 10 revisions to the producer and they say, “yeah,
everybody likes this”.

And then, so typically I never do a vocal up or vocal down mix
because, you know, it should be right at that point. And I’ve even offered
my mastering engineer, you know, I would rather send him a stem of the band
and the vocals and put everything at zero and that’s the mix. Or you need
vocals for more. But even my mastering engineer doesn’t like the
responsibility of . . .

John: Switching between versions. That sort of thing?

Kevin: Yeah. Because at some point you have to make a decision.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: And I think sometimes, I don’t know. It just seems like these
days you have gone through so many revisions. And revisions of a mix can go
for months now. Whereas, you know, 10 or 15 years ago, you were in a
studio. You had to reset the console. You had to remember what all the
beats . . .

John: Dial and all the… Yeah.

Kevin: You had to do all that stuff. And I can totally see why a lot
of people would be just covering their tails a little bit. Because, you
know, I’m going to be off to another mix tomorrow. And we talked about the
80 – 20 rule. It seems to keep coming up. 80 percent of the time, what the
revision they want is vocals up.

John: Yeah.

Kevin: Or it’s vocals down. So I’m going to go ahead and do that. And
then, worst case scenario, they can cut between these two mixes.

John: Definitely.

Kevin: But I do think that’s a little old school. But I can see how
people who are really busy would naturally just go ahead and do a plus
seven or plus one or a plus point seven or a plus one and a half. Seems
like that’s the . . .

John: Magic numbers.

Kevin: Magic frequencies and magic dB levels and stuff like that. But
anyway. I haven’t done a vocal up mix. I mean I have, but usually it was
for my own peace of mind. So I wouldn’t have to recall the session and
bring it up if I thought that it might be a little low.

John: Yeah. Definitely.

Kevin: And when, typically, people pick the vocal up mix usually
anyway.

John: Right. Right. That’s very true. When presented with the option,
most people will go, “Oh, the one with the vocals louder”.

Kevin: Yeah. Louder is better.

John: Yeah. Louder is better. I want the vocalist in my face. Sitting
on my lap. Well, that basically covers all the different types of mixes
that you would deliver to a client or to a producer or even a record label.
That sort of situation. So that’s pretty much everything.

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
MixCoach.com.

Question: What other types of submission mixes/tracks do you turn in that were not mentioned in the podcast?