Mother Recording Part 4: Mixing

Click on One of the following links to see the different parts of the recording process.

Part 1: Drums

Part 2: Guitar and Bass

Part 3: Vocals

So now that the recording process had been completed,It was time I mixed it down so I could then present it and explain why I think it could be commercially viable.

Overall I had 22 channels with 3 Auxiliary Inputs, broken down as follows:

No: Name I/O Notes:
1. Click No input/Out 1-2 Click Track
2. Drum Bus Bus 1-2/Out 1-2 Aux Input: All Drum tracks bussed to this channel.
3. Kick PG No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio: Kick Drum Shure PG52
4. Kick 57 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio: Kick Drum Shure Sm57
5. Snare 57 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio: Snare Drum Shure Sm57
6. OHLC1000s No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio: Overhead Left AKG C1000s
7. OHRC1000s No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio: Overhead Right AKG C1000s
8. HiHat MK2 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio High Hat Oktava Mk 012
9. HiTom Pro 25 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio High Tom Audio Technica Pro 25
10. Mid Tom Pro 25 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio Mid Tom Audio Technica Pro 25
11. Floor Tom Pro25 No Input/Bus 1-2 Audio Low Tom Audio Technica Pro 25
12. Bass No input/Out 1-2 Audio DI
13. Liam Guitar Bus Bus 3-4/Out 1-2 Aux Input: all distorted guitar tracks bussed to this channel.
14. Nt2a No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar RODE NT2a
15. Nt2a Overdub 1 No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar RODE NT2a
16. Cad No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar Cad M179
17. Cad Overdub 1 No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar Cad M179
18. Sm57 No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar Shure Sm57
19. Sm57 Overdub 1 No-Input/Bus 3-4 Audio Electric Guitar Shure Sm57
20. Lead Guitar Overdub 1 No-Input/Out 1-2 Audio Clean Guitar Shure Sm57
21. Vocal Bus Bus 5-6/Out 1-2 Vocal Bus: all vocal tracks bussed to this channel.
22. Misc Vocals No-Input/Bus 5-6 Audio Vocal RODE NT2a
23. Vocal Take 1 No-Input/Bus 5-6 Audio Vocal RODE NT2a
24. Vocal Take 2 No-Input/Bus 5-6 Audio Vocal RODE NT2a
25. Harmonies 1 No-Input/Bus 5-6 Audio Vocal RODE NT2a

 

I did add extra tracks later during mixing, but this is what I started with.

Drums:

The first place I started with was the drums, as they would play a key part in emulating my producers signature sound, ultimately revolving around the snare. I began by listening to the kick track isolated, and EQ-ed them differently so that the Kick PG would have more of the “Thud” or “Body” of the kick, while the Kick 57 track had more of “attack” of the beater head, bellow are the two frequency analysis’ of the kick tracks:

1 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Kick PG track I boosted between 20-50Hz by 5.5dB as a way of emphasising some of the lower frequency range to make the kick sound boomier.

While on the Kick 57 track I dropped from 3Khz to 20Khz by -12dB to lose some of the bleed from the other parts of the kit, as well as increase around the 99.8Hz mark by 8.3dB to add more weight behind the attack of the beater pedal. Now I had a basis for which to build a kit around, so I moved onto the snare, which was probably the most amount of processing, I have done to a drum track in this mix.

I started off EQ-ing the snare drum by reducing between 20-100Hz by -8.3dB, as this eliminated some of the bleed from the kick, and boosted the 100Hz to 400Hz region by 3.4dB to accentuate the body of the snare being hit.

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next I sent this signal out of Bus 7 (mono) to a new mono audio track, Pre Fade at 0dB from Send F. On this new channel was a signal generator producing white noise at -20.0dB, which was then being sent into a compressor/gate side-chained from the pre fade snare signal. The reason the snare was send pre fade to the gate was so that way I could balance the gated white noise and the original, letting me layer them to get a fuller sound.

4 5 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here it was just a matter of tweaking the settings on the gate to make sure the white noise was only being heard mainly in the mix when the snare was being hit, making it have more of a “rattle” in the mix. The signal chain was then bolstered by another EQ so I could shape the white noise to sound more “snare” like. I did this by reducing a lot of the lower frequencies while boosting the lower to mid frequencies (100-500Hz) and higher frequencies (10Khz onwards) so the white noise had the body and rattle of the snare, complimenting the existing one.

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I added a Bomb Factory 76 Compressor so that everything I had done above in the signal chain would then be further compressed exaggerating all the processing I had done to the original signal.

8

 

 

 

 

 

Now the snare had been doubled over in the mix with a white noise created one, I then decided to have another version of the snare with reverb on to blend in with the existing two. I created a new auxiliary channel and used the same Pre fade send of the original track as the input, also allowing me to change its level in the mix without changing the original.

For the Reverb I set it to be a large plate, with the pre delay set to 0 milliseconds, and the high frequency cut and the low pass filter turned off, so that all of the snare sound was being played with the reverb back with no editing except the EQ on the original, with only the new sound being played because the Mix was set to 100% wet.

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then decided to emphasise the reverb more by compressing it with another Bomb Factory 76 Compressor, tweaking to make get the right balance in the mix.

The only other part of the kit I modified before I went to the Drum bus was the high hat, as due to poor mic placement on my behalf meant that I was getting a lot of the “whoosh” sound that comes out when the high hat was open, which was sticking out a bit in my mix. I corrected this by reducing 200Hz downwards by -12.0dB, losing a lot of the other parts of the kit and this horrible sound in the first place, as well as boosting the 700Hz-2Khz range by 5.7dB to get more emphasise of the ringing overtones of the high hat.

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then adjusted the faders for the rest of the drum tracks so that the snares where the loudest in the mix, followed by the kick and the overheads, while everything else was sitting round the -12dB mark. Next on the Drum Bus track I added a Compressor to act as a limiter, so that the overall volume of the Kit wouldn’t rise about a certain level. I then panned overheads hard left and right, to exaggerate the stereo image, and then with the hi hat and the toms, pan them respectively so that they represented the distance they where from the kick and the snare. After this I moved on to the Guitars.

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guitars:

For guitars I panned the Cad M179 recorded guitar tracks to the center as this formed the trebly, gainy sound of the electric guitar in my mix, due to it being recorded on axis to the speaker cone, while the NT2a tracks had one panned hard left, and the other at about 32, and the Sm57 takes I panned one hard right and also one panned at about 32 to the right.

12

 

By doing this I had layered the guitars on top of each other giving me a bigger guitar sound than if I had done just one take, as one of Mutt-Lange’s techniques was to overdub multiple guitar tracks to get a more dense stereo image. I had all of the electric guitar takes sent into an Auxiliary input, where I put a limiter on it to stop it clipping and overloading the channel. By having a fast attack and release, it doesn’t really affect the overall sound, as it stops the clipping but releases before you get a sort of “pumping” sound.13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this I put a low pass filter on the Auxiliary, with the frequencies up to 200Hz being reduced by about -10.2dB, as mentioned before when I was recording the guitars, some of the bass and guitar frequencies overlap, so by reducing them on the guitar, it makes the bass and kick drum have more room in the mix, while making the guitars sound brighter.

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose to leave the clean guitar out of the Guitar Bus since I wanted it to cut through the mix more, by not having it in the bus it meant I could have more control over its level, any effects I chose to put on it, and it wouldn’t be effected by the low pass. Giving it was a clean guitar with no distortion; I had to increase the gain on the channel in the mix to balance it out in comparison to the Guitar bus.

Also at the start of the song I automated the volume for the guitar track so they came into the mix in pairs, with the Cad being constant followed first by the Sm57 Tracks, and then the NT2a’s. I chose to do this so as the song builds the guitars slowly get more and more apparent in the mix, adding a sense of progression to the otherwise fairly simple song.

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bass:

Another one of Mutt-Lange Trademarks is using a synth bass even if there was an actual bassist present, for the genre of song I had recorded, a synth bass would of be too overpowering, and wouldn’t quite sit in the mix, though If I didn’t include one, I wouldn’t be emulating his style as much as I could.

In the end I compromised with using a sine wave synth arpeggio as an opening and ending to my song, as it adds another layer to the song, and doesn’t conflict with the existing bass.

17

For the actual bass I record it directly into an audio interface, so I could have the dry signal which I could then affect as I needed to. I chose to add a compressor to flatten out some attack given by strumming with a plectrum. Between the increased clean guitar, and the compressed electric guitar sound, I had the bass sitting in the middle level wise, so that everything could be heard amongst the vocals and drums. ­­
18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vocals:

Next up was the Vocals, where I had the two main vocal takes on separate channels, with a 3rd Harmony vocal, and a 4th Misc vocal. I had the two main vocal takes panned at about 2 and 11 o’clock to give more of a stereo image, with the gain reduced on them by about -4.0dB, so that they could sit well with the harmony vocal which was lower in pitch.

I then put them through an Auxiliary Input so I had control of the overall volume, as well as putting a compressor mainly as a way of limiting them so they didn’t overload the channel. In addition to this I sent the vocal out of Send F on Bus 8 pre fade to be then the input on an auxiliary input, which I put a reverb plug in on.

19The reason I didn’t put the reverb on the bus itself was so that I could control the amount of reverb I had on the vocals, plus still have the dry signal playing, letting me balance it just like I did with the drums.

 

For the settings on the reverb, I tried to keep them similar to the drums, as this gave the impression that they where in the same place, however I didn’t bus them to the same reverb because I wanted to be able to change them if they started to get undistinguishable in the mix.

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly I automated the master fader so it fades out towards the end of the track and added the Maxim plug in to it so I could boost the levels of the song before I bounced it down.

21

Maxim has two controls, the first of which is threshold level, this controls what dB volume peaks will be limited, and therefore wont go any higher than the set threshold, while the second control is Ceiling, which controls how loud your mix will be overall, I set it to -3.0dB and then bounced down.

22

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished track can be heard below:

 

Fli.

 

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Mother Recording Part 4: Mixing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s