One way to speed up your mixing workflow is to treat your DAW like a console. By that I mean to set up a custom template that always opens with the exact tracks, routing, EQs and compressors you’d normally use already setup and ready to go. It allows you to work much like you would on an analog console where your raw tracks route through the board with all the effects patched in and ready go. Here’s how mine looks these days…
Well recorded vocals can make or break song. The good news? It’s not really that hard to capture a great vocal recording. In fact there are basically two main steps you need to follow. In today’s video I show you exactly how I follow these two steps to get a great vocal recording for myself and all my clients. Enjoy!
Every time I bring up the idea of gain staging people’s eyes seem to gloss over. I know, it sounds boring. But until you do it right you won’t believe just how critical it is to getting a big, clear, and musical mix. That’s why I started my very first 5 Minutes To A Better Mix series with this concept. Today I want to show you another way to setup your mixing levels using a simple trim plugin.
I have to hand it to Avid, the Eleven Rack is changing my mind on guitar amp modeling and changing how I work in the studio and on stage. Today I want to give a little show and tell of the Eleven Rack, which is a total guitar amp, speaker, and effects modeling box that also happens to be a USB 2.0 interface and comes bundled with a free copy of Pro Tools. Let’s do this!
So just this week my band released our most recent EP entitled Lower. It’s a simple 5 song album that was tracked, mixed, and mastered in my own project studio. I thought today I would not only share it with you, but highlight a few lessons (good and bad) that I learned from this specific project.
Less Is More
I would say the biggest lesson that was re-enforced on this project was that less is more in the recording phase. I think I did this well when it came to guitars. During the tracking process I kept stripping away guitar parts until we were left with the absolute foundational parts. This made the songs easier to mix and they sounded bigger in the long run. Go figure.
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Part 29 of 31 – At the end of your mix you want to check your EQ balance against a pro track.How is the top end? How is the bottom end? A quick EQ check with a reference can go a long way.
The Painful Reference Process
Yes it’s painful to bring in a reference mix at this point, but you must do it. If you want to deliver a better mix, then bring in a pro track to reference. But here’s what you listen for: the top end clarity and bottom end weight.
Part 28 of 31 – As you near the end of your mix, one of the best things you can do is reverse mix it. This simple little move will tell you a lot about your volume balance between kick, snare, and vocals.
What Do You Hear Down There?
If you take your monitors and turn them all the way down and then bring them up in volume ever so slowly, what is the first thing you hear? Ideally it should be vocal, snare, and kick drum. What’s that you say? You haven’t tried this little trick?! Today’s your day!
Part 24 of 31 – Looking for a vocal ambience that is wetter than a delay can give you, but less washy than a reverb? Why not try to combine the two effects and create a perfect blend?
The Best Of Both Worlds
This tip (like many tips) isn’t for all situations, but sometimes a mix calls for a specific aesthetic that can only be accomplished with some vocal delay run into a reverb. The combination is really cool and worth trying out.
Part 23 of 31 – When it comes to getting professional sounding vocals and harmonies, it pays to do a little bit of simple editing. The tighter your vocals are, the better they will sound in the mix.
No Time Stretching Needed
But lest you think that the only way to tighten up vocals and harmonies is some time compression or stretching plugin like Vocalign, I want to show you how fast and easy this process can be. With just a few basic edits in your DAW you can turn an OK vocal performance into a super tight one.
Part 22 of 31 - Part of growing as a mix engineer is developing your tastes. Today I want to give you permission to spend 10 minutes or so auditioning and comparing some different compressors on your lead vocal so you can form an informed opinion.
Every Compressor Sounds Different
Did you know that not every compressor plugin sounds the same? In fact, most compressors will bring some slight tonal nuance to your track that is different from the rest of the pack. It pays to spend some time comparing your compressors to see which sounds best on your tracks.