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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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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Soundtoys Delay Techniques: Crystallizer and PrimalTap

While Soundtoys most popular delay plugin is Echoboy, Soundtoys bundle contains two amazing delay plugins: Chrystallizer and Primal Tap that are underestimated by many producers. In this 1-hour long video from our recent webinar Daniel Wyatt explains who you can use those plugins in your projects showing inspiring examples of unusual effects you can’t get from your regular delay plugin.

Delay and modulation effects are part of the curriculum of Ultimate Mixing and Mastering Program and Next Level Mixing Online Course.

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10 Mixing Reminders

mixing and mastering May 24, 2018

1. Listen to a part of a commercial track before you start mixing….wav, mp3 or spotifiy is fine. not the whole song…just a piece to calibrate your ears

2. Take a 5 minute break for every 45 minutes of mixing….literally stand up and walk around or stretch….leave the room if possible
Don’t turn the volume up and down. Set a comfortable fixed level and leave it there for hours at a time.

3. Work on the kick and make a really good kick sound before proceeding. Build the mix to a good kick sound…even if it changes over the course of the mix.

4. Try to have three mix projects in rotation. Jump between them, rather than sentencing yourself to listening to the same track over and over and over again. Don’t work on the same track for over 4 hours in one session.

5. Add the mix buss limiter only after most of the dynamics have been set on the individual channels. Your mix should look good naked, before the steroids.

6. The mute tool is often more...

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