I’m a sucker for a studio challenge. Recently I decided to track an entire band production using only one microphone and a low cost audio interface. Why? Because that’s what many of you actually have in your home studio! The gear of choice: a Behringer B1 ($100 condenser mic) and the new Avid Fast Track Solo ($179 USB interface), all recorded and mixed on the included free Pro Tools Express software (using only the included stock plugins). Here’s how it all went down…
I have huge news to share today. For the first time ever I will be hosting a live, world wide, web event designed to help all of you frustrated home studio owners. From recording, to mixing, to where to invest money in gear, I’m covering it all. The event is called Take Back Your Studio and it’s going to be awesome.
Feeling Your Frustrations
I know what it’s like to not be getting the recordings you want. I know how it feels to spend forever mixing a song only have it fall apart, forcing you to start all over. I’ve lived the agony of money being tight and wondering whether or not one specific gear upgrade would really make a difference in the sound of my recordings.
So I know how you feel. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way!
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I love to see competition in the plugin world. It better serves the customer/user. Today’s review covers the Plug And Mix VIP Bundle from the guys at DontCrack.com. It’s a very affordable bundle of plugins ($399US for 40 plugins) that both sound good and are fun to use. Here’s a little show and tell from a mix that I used a bunch of these plugins on.
Part 30 of 31 – Looking for a more consistent, upfront, bass response in your mix? Or perhaps you simply don’t have enough low end at all? A multiband compressor can help.
Compress Just The Low End
With the power of a multiband compressor, you can easily process only the bottom end of your mix, giving you a more even response, tighter bass, and over all fatter sound. It’s a great tool, especially if EQ alone isn’t cutting it.
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.
Part 21 of 31 - Getting your vocals to sit on top of the mix seems to be a challenge for a lot of people. Let me clue you in on a little secret: just mix them last and you’ll be fine.
My Vocal Mixing Hack
I find that whatever I mix last tends to be loudest. It’s natural, I’m fighting to have it heard over the rest of the tracks. So why not use that to my advantage with vocals and mix THEM last? Brilliant!
Part 8 of 31 - Wish you could save CPU power and bring your mixes together faster? It might be time to consider processing your tracks on the buss level first before putting plugins on the individual tracks.
Start Global. Then Zoom In.
One thing I’ve been doing a lot more of lately is processing my drums, guitars, and other similar instruments on the group level with a buss or aux track first. With fewer plugins I can bring my mix closer to the sound in my head, in less time. And isn’t that what many of us are short on these days: CPU power and time?
Part 7 of 31 - Want to mix faster and learn your plugins better? Then treat your DAW like an analog console and only use one EQ and compressor for everything in the mix.
Pick One EQ And Compressor
The great thing about mixing consoles is they have only one EQ and one compressor on every channel. It makes mixing fast, intuitive, and fluid. We have too many choices when mixing in a DAW so keep it simple, pick one eq and one compressor to the lion’s share of your mixing and you’ll work faster and learn more in the process.
Part 6 of 31 - Want a bigger sounding mix with more width and clarity? Then pick one stereo track to stay stereo and fold the rest down to mono. Ironic, isn’t it?
Mono Tracks Are The Secret
I always thought big wide stereo tracks were the goal. Have stereo piano, stereo guitar, stereo drums, stereo loops, etc. That much stereo should equal one big ole’ mix, right?! Wrong. The secret to wider mixes is simple: use mostly mono tracks. A bunch of stereo tracks just cover each other up and wash out your mix.
Part 5 of 31 - Where you put the volume faders and pan pots at the beginning of the mixing process has tremendous influence on the sound of your final mix. Before you jump into processing, you want to create a great static mix.
Mix With Only Volume And Pan
If your tracks had to stay at only one volume and pan position for the entire mix, where would they be? This is the question you want to ask yourself as you begin the mixing process. Get the mix to sound solid with only volume and pan and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.