Produce & Mix or Produce then Mix?

 

I thought this topic would make a good, and short read — as I have been asked these questions so many times:

The questions: When I mix as I produce, should I bounce out the dry stems or keep my channelstrip settings and FX? Should I keep my “production reverb”?

Should I bounce my mix stems with or without side-chaining? What about the mix buss inserts? Or should I just do simple raw production and then do a proper mix?

The answers of course to these questions can be very personal and contextual, but I want to share with you what I think works the best for both the production and mixing cycles.

I think the best practice when producing is to do only very basic channel stripping of individual elements, i.e. basic saturation, reductive EQ, and compression with the idea that you can and will do more later during the mix session.

While I think it’s fine to keep what I call “production reverb” (reverb is part of the sound design of a synth patch...

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How to survive a Big Mix

mixing and mastering Jun 12, 2018

 

It’s true. The best plugins use up the most CPU! It’s just the way it is, and that won’t change anytime soon.

And we all like to use the best plugins — and sometimes many instances. So what do we do? Buy a new computer each month? Buy monster Octo systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars?

No. Regardless of how big a system you put together, you will still run out of CPU at some point. So what do you do?

  • Max out your buffer size
  • Render tracks
  • Freeze tracks
  • Use UAD
  • Use Slate Digital Plugins
  • Bounce stems before Mastering.

MAX OUT YOUR AUDIO BUFFER SIZE.

In the audio preferences in any DAW, you will find a window to see your buffer size. When recording, keep it a low as possible to minimize latency, but when mixing and mastering, max it out!

This increase will give the CPU “more time to think” and will increase latency from the moment when you hit the spacebar until you hear the sound, but who cares?

Bigger buffer sizes eliminate...

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TOP-5 UAD Channel Strip plugins

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

The best part about a channelstrip workflow is the ability to systematically build a sound and then to ergonomically jump back and forth between the parameters within the modules.

Since EQ, saturation, compression, and filtering are all interdependent, the ability to make quick adjustments between these fundamental realms makes mixing fast, free and creative.

In that light, here’s a look at UAD’s beloved channel strips:

1. SSL 4000 E CHANNEL STRIP

SSL is a favorite sound for Dance, Pop, and Urban Music. Sonically it has a tight, bright saturation in the mids and highs and a dynamic low end. Rich in harmonics, the SSL has a tight, short “ring” that is also smooth. Absolutely wicked on drums.

2. MANLEY VOXBOX

The Manley VOXBOX has a number of personalities depending on how you drive it. It can be very clean or rich in tube saturation. It also comes with a very easy-to-use de-esser and a compressor that is before the pre-amp stage to minimize distortion. And a...

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FabFilter Pro R Explained

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

This week FabFilter released their new Reverb plugin – FabFilter Pro-R.
Watch our new video tutorial that explains how this plugin works and how you can tweak your reverb 

 

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Managing your kick and bass with FabFilter Pro-MB

music composition May 24, 2018

Today in our Mixing with FabFilter series we’re going to talk about how to mix a big fat low end.

Part of the secret is moving the bass out of the way of the kick drum. I used to do this with the Vengeance Multiband Sidechain, but recently I’ve found that I have more control when I use a simple multi-band compressor. My favorite is the FabFilter Pro-MB, because it lets me see both the frequencies of both the kick drum and bass as I’m working. Here’s how:

1. Throw a Pro-MB on your bass track
2. Run the kick drum signal into the sidechain of the Pro-MB
3. Turn on the sidechain view in Pro-MB, so you’re able to see the frequencies of both the bass and kick drum together
4. Move just the low end of the bass out of the way every time the kick drum hits

Now your kick drum and bass both have space, and you’ve cleared out the traffic jam when they hit together. Suddenly your low end becomes bigger, cleaner, and punchier.

Watch FabFilter Pro-MB...

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Slate FG-Stress (Distressor) explained

Watch as Daniel Wyatt (Mixing and mastering mentor) does a walkthrough of the Distressor emulation from Slate Digital, the FG Distressor.

 

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Analog Warmth: Mixing Consoles

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018
It’s funny that we sometimes don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone — and then we spend lots of time and energy to get it back!  And we are really happy when we get it back.
 
That’s the story with analog warmth. When all there was were consoles and tape machines, everyone complained that the consoles “colored the sound” and that tape machines were too noisy and non-linear.  And that one day all of these “problems” would be solved in the all-digital age.
 
But as soon as digital music production began to mature, audio professionals complained that everything sounded thin, sterile, small, hard, and unpleasant.  Top producers and engineers longed for their colorful, saturating vintage gear that they once cursed.
 
And so it is. Now we have the best of both worlds.  Digital transparency with vintage character and analog warmth.
 
Tape, tubes, transistors, and transformers (the 4...
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Softube Tape Explained

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

Softube Tape is a new tape saturation/compression plugin from Softube that brings great sound, intuitive controls and some unique features not found on other tape plugins like dry/wet and crosstalk controls.

 

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Slate Digital Virtual Tube Collection Explained

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

Slate Digital recently introduced Virtual Tube Collection – great addition to their Virtual Mix Rack collection of API-500-like mix rack.
Virtual Tube Collection comes with 3 different flavors: Hollywood, London and New York inspired by classic vintage topologies and designs, and they all sound a little bit different.
They are very easy to use: each module has two different models: Preamp which is more flavorful and Console which is more conservative, but they both give a very nice tube color.
So if you are looking for even more distortion – there’s Normal/Push switch. Push mode gives more harmonic density and non-linear response.
Virtual Tube Collection is part of Slate Everything Bundle.

Want to learn more?

Join FREE trial of Mixing and Mastering courses of MixMasterWyatt Academy: Register Here

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How do you fatten and widen your bass?

music production May 24, 2018

Danny Wyatt here. Thanks for the awesome responses to the survey! Lots of great questions and thoughts, and a flood of topics for me to cover. I wanted to start with one of the more common questions.

Have you bought a bunch of plugins but your mixes and masters still aren’t sounding right? I want to help you get that pro sound from your own computer. Technology is changing fast, and I’ve spent the past year developing all-new techniques to layer in with my time-tested approach (I’ve been doing this for over 30 years). So let’s get started with the…

First question: “How do you fatten and widen your bass”?

Answer: Fatness really comes from layers of fattening, rather than one plug-in or one technique. A typical bass channel starts with a layer of tape saturation, followed by a musical compressor (usually an LA-2A with just a small amount of gain reduction), followed by a “technical” compressor like the Fabfilter Pro-C,...

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