After receiving the recording session following the day in the studio, we were given a week to mix and master the song, before handing our mixes over to the band to decide for themselves, which one they would use. I felt like this would be a sweet experience to try mixing a different style of music, something more acoustic and airy than the more energetic mixes that I have done in the past.
I made a start on the vocals for a change, I usually start with the kick, which is just a force of habit, and also there wasn’t and drums now anyway. But my logic and the logic I have accumulated is that the vocal is the most important part of the mix and I shouldn’t have to mix it against anything, all the other elements should work around the vocal.
So starting with Kate’s vocals, I wanted to make them warm and bright with a really tasteful reverb. I started by cleaning up the track an EQ, just bringing up a little bit of low mid of 200 Hz, cutting out a few dB of the nasally 1K and boosting up a couple of dB with a shelf from 3K. With a UAD LA-2A I added a little bit of compression, not reach much higher than 7 dB of reduction. It helped smooth out the track and some warmth. Going with the very colourful vocal sound I created a duplicate, with that I did some parallel compression with only a small level from the track blended in, I guess less was more in this scenario. The colour doesn’t end here though. With one of the prior unused vocal takes, I added a reverb. I wanted it to be bit of weird sound with a fully high end tail. I used a Bathroom style reverb with a 1.4 second decay time and soaked it. Then i just blended it to taste with the original, I’m quite happy with the effect it created, it was just a spontaneous creative spark that I though might enhance the vocal a bit.
Following was the acoustic guitars, on the theme of warm and bright I used a Neve 1073 EQ and brought up the levels to add some more life in the high’s. Compressing to smooth everything out again with an LA-2A.with Kate’s guitar I added in a blend from the room microphone which created some nice space. The DI for the second acoustic had some noise in it, so I just got rid of it as the tone wasn’t quite nice enough through the DI anyway.
The Slide Uke was played through a Strymon Bluesky reverb pedal, so it had its spatial effects fairly well taken care of. It had a nice and long echoey tail and a lot of ambience, I didn’t feel like I needed to added much more space. The harmonica was a very dynamic and obnoxious sound. It need a lot of compression, I used the dbx 160 and brought in a lot of gain reduction, it just seemed to piece through at an uncomfortable level. I also brought some of the highs out to help bring down the harshness.
Mixing Leopold’s Treat was cool, different experience, and an opportunity to explore the creative side of mixing. Not having to worry so much about the quality of the recording was an absolute blessing, it free’d up the process a lot.. I’d be keen to find out which student’s mix they chose to release.