Category: Mastering

Heavyweight Bass Group Members Share Their Go-To Vibes When Producing, Mixing and Mastering – Part 3

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Two weeks ago in the Heavyweight Bass Facebook group, members had a lengthy discussion on their go-to vibes in the studio. We decided to post them in a series of articles for all of you!

 

If you missed them, you can read Part 1  and Part 2

 

 

Ner Mage – Been using a lot of envelope followers and LFO’s to control parameters slowly overtime to help get a more evolving feel to instruments, and it also helps to make sonic room in the track. When things get loud, it can automatically turn down other things and so on, boost or cut frequencies according to envelopes of other sounds. Also like using a frequency shifter with just a hair of shifting Hz , barely a semitone and slow, just to get some movement in the track without it being noticeable and it prevents the song/instrument from sounding the same all the way through.

Sean Clayton – K-metering and having a simple essential mixing chain to begin with – At the moment mine is Saturator, a precise eq (eq8) compressor then a emulation eq (UAD harrison). I find using this same chain on every track gives me a unified sound. Of course not everything has to be used and I can swap out what I want but I find this helps to make decisions. Also, for Ableton guys save your return tracks as audio effect racks then you can import them into other projects.

Kendal Osborne

  1. Big believer in templates for bussing and effects. Allows you to quickly and easily route stuff and audition effects. Great for quick inspiration.
  2. Parallel processing is a big one for me too. But not just compression – parallel saturation and distortion is great too. I really dig working big to small. Starting with busses and working my way down to individual tracks – trying to keep an eye on the big picture.
  3. I mix in mono for about 50% of the mix, easily half the day is completely mono.

I should clarify – It starts with a basic balance of the song, flat. If there are any problems you need to address – E.g, obscene amounts of low rumble on something, noise, piercing high frequencies on a track… Fix those first. If it’s gonna bother you the entire mix, get it out of the way. But make that part quick.

Colin Cameron Allrich – I’m a big fan of compression after delays, esp a 1176 in “all button mode”

James Wiltshire – Sonnox Inflator is brilliant on groups and busses to stop very sudden overs for example when a loud clap joins with a snare to throw a peak 10-15db above average.

Slade Templeton – Running a lot of parallel, even at the mastering stage!!!! I’ve also been really hitting a lot of saturation in a tasteful way via Culture Vulture and other various outboard or plugs. More so than I ever have before. It’s really brought my mixes to life. Been putting more saturation when needed on my mix buss too than I used to.

Tom Bot – Cut up or recycle your drums loops at the transient peaks, then balance out parallel compression, saturation or distortion by shortening the decay or release envelope. This creates phatter hits, but eases back on the processing of the tails to gain space in the mix.

Eddie Bazil – Actually Tom, try doing it the other way. Slice at the climb before the transient peak. I do this a lot and you will have an easier time using the nudge palette to realign the two files in parallel mode. Try it dude, it’s Jedi.

James Wiltshire – If in Ableton, put the loop in beats mode and hit the playback mode to single arrow ( kinda slice mode ) – then copy the entire track and on the second drop the number next to the arrow which controls the length of each slice .. The second channel will now be perfect for parallel transient processing – works a treat on staccato synths and basses too !

Klaus Hill – I mention ReCycle to youngsters and get a funny look…Still think its the best way to chop up your drums/beats, try it!

Ben Medcalf – Instead of always using samples, try creating incidentals and EFX out of your existing sounds by setting up FX chains on sends – for example, long reverb or delay, modulation, compression – and, where you want the FX to occur, automating the send amount on the original sound up from 0 to the desired amount for a short amount of time (i.e. a beat or two) and back down again. You can add dedicated EFX plugins like Effectrix to the chain (then, i.e., automating the time stretch amount or grain size) for more abstract efx.

John Disgraceland Stanhope – I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on ‘the creative process’ recently, and the thing that comes up time and time again is to work without any thought of quality, or the end product. Just do the work, and when you look up at the end of the day you’ll be amazed at what you have produced.
Sure, when you get to the tweaking phase, this will change, but those first sessions need to be free of tweaking, noodling, whatever. Just get the ideas down. Raw. It’s amazing how good the results are.

James Wiltshire – Had to mix a whole series of projects on just the internal DAW plugins the other day – amazed at how the restriction made me pay much more attention to what I was doing and apart from master channel the internal ( Logic ) tools were all I needed.

Slade Templeton – Another thing I will throw in as I am sitting here mixing and realized I have been focusing on this lately. Pick 3 elements in the song that you want to be the focus. Make them sit well and let them lead cohesively with each other then work around that. For instance, I am mixing a lot of hip hop lately and also Darkwave/Synthpop. So vocals of course is lead, then kick and snare (for 80s vibe it is snare second then arp/synth melodies). once you do this… you can really separate the listening field accordingly. It gives the listener a focus on what elements should matter most. Then work the rest around this to sit well.

James Wiltshire – I challenge everyone to try a mix using only wide band EQ ( low Q ) and say 1 or two bonus Peaking cuts to control the Low mid build up. Tried it last week and it forces you to balance correctly instead of constantly reaching for notch or comby sounding dips.

Jesse Skeens – Agree, this is one thing lacking in a lot of information online. There’s so much focus on the tricks but getting balance and volumes right is 90% of the battle.

Josh Emerse Field – Also never underestimate the importance of the de-esser…It’s not just for vocals. I apply it to my white noise, risers, and anything sibilancy that I need to.There’s nothing worse as a listener to have your ears shattered by unnecessary high frequency assault.

 

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Heavyweight Bass Group Members Share Their Go-To Vibes When Producing, Mixing and Mastering – Part 2

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Last week in the Heavyweight Bass Facebook group, members had a lengthy discussion on their go-to vibes in the studio. We’ve decided to post them in a series of articles for all of you!

 

If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here

 

Brahim Cheh – To add some variation to a looped sample, try creating loads of channels with different effects and processing, and drop the sample into different channels at different times

Will Organ –  The Abbey Roads reverb technique for controlling frequencies going into the reverb. Generally I cut most of the lows and some of the highs, and if I want my vocal or lead to cut through the mix better I dip that frequency going into the reverb as well. It makes for a much easier mix later on. Nothing crazy but I use it every time.

Tom Nash – Boost tiny notches in the frequencies of the key of the song (generally across the spectrum) to accentuate harmonics within certain sounds.

Johann Andrew Willenberg – And notching out the sharp 4 or flat 5. Makes the sound a little sweeter…

Justin Mcp Case –  I have 3 project templates

Producing template – My main synths and Maschine pre loaded on tracks with a Fab Filter EQ and Spectrum analyser, 5 Aux buses loaded with custom fx chains (usually 2 diff compressor chains, 1 short plate reverb, 1 long hall reverb both with lows cut out post reverb, 1 delay). This is designed to jump in and produce melodies without slowing down or breaking vibe.

Mixing template – Various tracks and Aux returns set up with different mixing chains I use. Designed to drop stems in to and just mix.

Mastering template – Various mastering chains set up for a TEMPORARY master to gauge loudness, pick out issues when heavily squashed, sent to labels for consideration or playing out live, before being sent to a mastering house or labels mastering engineer.

These 3 templates let me focus on each task individually, so my mixing brain isn’t fucking with me producing brain and visa versa.

Jase Fos – If you’re a Live user:

  1. Instrument Racks in your user library which to recall complex chains of your favourite 3rd party instruments. A common chain for me when using my hardware synths (for which I have CTRLR panels made for) is Arp plugin (disabled by default), CTRLR with Panel for synth preloaded (and preconfigured which controls appear on Push), with MIDI port/channel set ready, then External Audio effect to bring the audio back into Live from the synth. For example, whenever I want to use Roland MKS80, I just drag an the Instrument Rack preset “Roland MKS80” from my library into a track as easily as a plugin and I’m ready to play it with needing to remember which MIDI port/channel and audio input it is on (and then have full editability on Push with labelled controls).
  2.  Instrument racks aren’t the only thing which can be dragged into the user library – Groups of tracks can be stored there as well! I have a great one set up for Maschine where I have Maschine instantiated with 16 audio return tracks. Inside Maschine I’ve preset each drum kit piece to be routed directly to these outputs. With one mouse-swipe I can launch and load Maschine complete with audio routings all set up without having to have a big complicated template. Personally, I prefer this approach over and above using a complicated Live template set.
  3. Hook up a knobby hardware synth – while recording into a track in live spend 10 minutes or so playing notes in your decided key while bending up the sound. Then add a MIDI track and throw Simpler into it and activate the new Slice mode but clear the default slices (right click on the wave and select Clear Slices). Select Gate mode so MIDI note length control how much of the slice plays. Now, make up a random step sequence in a 2 bar clip or similar (use Push for added fun) and get that playing looped. While looping, add and nudge around slices in Simpler to expose different weird notes – you’ll come up with stuff you’d never think of programming. Great for complextro basslines!

Ner Mage – Been using a lot of envelope followers and lfos to control parameters slowly overtime to make thing get a more evolving feel to instruments, and it also helps to make sonic room in the track, when things get loud, it can automatically turn down other things and so on, boost or cut frequencys according to envelopes of other sounds, however you have it set up. also like using a frequency shifter with just a hair of shifting hz , barely a semitone and slow, just to get some movement in the track without it being noticable and it prevents the song/instrument from sounding the same all the way through.

Jason Timothy Ward – Put 000 in front of all your “go to” instrument & effect presets. This makes them first to show up alphabetically. Huge timesaver.

Sean Clayton – K metering and having a simple essential mixing chain to begin with atm mine is Saturator, a precise eq (eq8) compressor then a emulation eq (uad harrison). i find using this same chain on every track gives me a unified sound. ofcourse not everything has to be used and i can swap out what i want but i find this helps to make decisions.

Stephen Cole – Try the Oxford Inflator after your reverb or delay sends

Eddie Bazl – I phase cancel all my channels and then flip and eq to work only the frequencies I want.

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Heavyweight Bass Group Members Share Their Go-To Vibes When Producing, Mixing and Mastering – Part 1

 

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Last week in the Heavyweight Bass Facebook group, members had a lengthy discussion on their go-to vibes in the studio. There were so many good ones from some of the best producers, mixing engineers and mastering guys in the business, we’ve decided to post them in a series of articles for all of you!

 

 

Johann Willenberg – Sidechain compression works great for creating space in the mix. I often sc the lead vocal to an m/s compressor (bx dyn Eq) and have it trigger the mid only of the instrument buss. Keeps the stereo feel of the synths while slightly ducking the middle when the vocal is singing, giving space for the vocal.

Nicholas Roberto Di Lorenzo  – Fooling around with the attack time on the API2500… or for that matter any compressor. It is so much fun people able to have so much control over the articulation of a WHOLE mix, or individual elements. Can be a life saver in some circumstances.

Ivan Gough – I love enhancer plugins to give my sounds a little warmth, sparkle, etc.. Just used sparingly.

Matt Sephton  – I like to get random ‘found sounds’ rocks, glass, whatever, and stretch and mash the shit out of it -reverse, stutter, twist and tweak. Some new idea nearly always emerges. And then use waves RBass on the low synths.

Josh Emerse Field – When wanting to add more crunch to a snare transient I use the compressor and allow as much transient through as I want with the attack and set a low threshold to essentially work like a transient shaper/enhancer. Then I’ll feed it to a clip distortion (g-clip is great for just top and tailing and free) l. Adjust levels to suit and final compression if necessary to tame any transient spike still there.

Paul Rogers – I find its useful to process vast amounts of audio before thinking about anything else when producing. Building a arsenal of these processed parts, sounds or random fx helps me create a nice bed, foundation and and feel which can trigger all sorts of new creative ideas. Make 1 day a week a sound design day.

Leo Severity – For me it’s cleaning up/shaping breaks or drum/percussion loops using manual volume automation envelopes. Much more control and granularity than say, using a noise gate or compressor!! Get the sound you want, bounce, and it’s like a whole different loop.

Josh Emerse Field – When wanting to add more crunch to a snare transient I use the compressor and allow as much transient through as I want with the attack and set a low threshold to essentially work like a transient shaper/enhancer. Then I’ll feed it to a clip distortion (g-clip is great for just top and tailing and free). Adjust levels to suit and final compression if necessary to tame any transient spike still there.  Also, seeing distortion is my theme of the day, parallel distortion on vocals to brighten and sweeten. That’s a Winning tip any day of the week. Changed my vocal game.

Jason Timothy Ward – Using sidechaining as a mixing tool. I may use up to 3 or 4 on a pad or return effect. Cleans things up when a kick hits or when a vocal part comes in, or anything that needs to punch through the mix. It’s kind of a “sidechain by priority”. Saves me having to automate minute changes throughout a track. Also the sinoid fold setting on the saturator, but no volume added. Helps sounds cut through better.

Matt Thomas – Multi-band transient designers – best way to shape your mid range & top end without filling up the mix.  Look at Izotope Alloy or Waves Trans-X, they add or reduce volume at the front end of a sound; the multi-band varieties split the sound up into frequency bands and treat each one differently.

Colin Cameron Allrich –  Bring a dimensional layer to your main melodies by creating a new MIDI track of the melody and assign a favorite synth pad to it, get the attack up enough so you can just hear the pad coming up to support the melody. Use a M/S processor to crank out that Side information that pads are great at, and listen to how “big” your lead sounds now.

Jeremy Drakeford – Autotune 7/8; Alter the ‘throat length’ to give vocals a darker/sinister sound or to blend better (usually use this on delays).
Also love cranking the autotune just on the delay (so lead is tuned normally, then it repeats in the background in T-Pain style). Can blend that with throat length too to make it really disfigured.
Pitch shift is also great, or even just going nuts and drawing in random curves. I’ve even made risers by holding a vocal note then drawing in a slide over a few bars.

Very underrated plug-in and super powerful when you REALLY learn how to use it.

It’s also not limited to vocals either.. Try cranking the throat length of instruments or drawing in cool pitch artefacts. Can really get creative.

Paul Newcomb – When EQing a particular sound in a mix, listen to every other sound instead of the one you are EQing and see how to EQ changes affect them.

Rohan Deshpande –  When writing drum and bass using high quality breakbeat samples that float above the main drum sounds, usually put some compression on these. Chorus for getting sounds funky and wide. Layering for mid range sounds, maybe play an octave lower and put the volume low, maybe pan it a bit. Really can add some warmth to the sounds.

Jason Timothy Ward – Ableton tip: Grabbing a drum loop & setting the warp setting to Beats, then selecting —> As you pull down the value from 100, each transient gets more and more gated. Great for adding interesting grooves without taking up too much space in a mix.

Klaus Hill – Parallel Compression; I use it for everything these days – drums, bass, vocals. It gives me way more control over my mix processing. I hardly ever compress individual sounds anymore.

Sameer Sengupta – Saturation – I often use parallel saturation instead of compression on certain elements now, as it tends to sound more natural when it comes to volume management, while obviously colouring things in the the desired way as well. I’ll rarely use compression on vocals at all these days, using instead a combination of automation & saturation, which is then fed (post fader) into cascading L1/L2 type limiters, each with slow and gentle gain reduction, that only ever catch the peaks. The result is a vocal that just *sits* there, yet doesn’t sound squashed.

 

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