Since my previous blog addressing my first attempt at mixing I have been really trying to work on getting as professional a sound as possible. If there’s one thing that really grinds my gears about mixing band’s as a student, it’s the constant yet somehow incredibly difficult to reach at times level of quality and professionalism in the mix. Armed with my desire for a better sound and a mild frustration with my current efforts, I hit the C24 studio again…… and again. I’ve been in a couple of times, I want to finish these mixes before reposting them on soundcloud and probably Youtube. Please bare with me I know the wait is absolute torture! I will have them completed by the beginning of next week though.
The main thing bumming me out about the track’s was the electric guitar tone and the drum sound, particularly the kick and snare that were fairly dull and not cutting through. I was able to steal a full 7 hours in the studio just over a week ago, which was great, I could finally lock myself away and experiment with more processing. I started with the guitar tone, it was not the best tone recorded to begin with, quite muddy and lack generally clarity in the high gain tone. I started us the guitar amp plugins such as the UAD Marshall and Friedman amp modellers, even some of the stompbox pedal plugins, however they didn’t seem to give the effect I wanted. I then started using the UAD preamp and boost plugins, which pointed me in the direction I was after. I found the Tube Preamplifier 610-B plugin and tried to bring out the high’s and try to drive the guitars a bit harder as I felt there was a lot of room for gain. I rendered the plugins onto each clip using the audiosuite versions.
The drum sound was my next battle. Starting with the kick’s on the two tracks, I really just wanted more, more punch, snap and boom. I personally love a kick drum that you can feel when it hits you in the chest. Luckily at this time my lecture, Guy, came in and basically solved my issues with that, and then went on to fix the snare too. It baffles me why I didn’t think of this, he created Auxiliary tracks for both the kicks and snares, and put an EQ and compressor on each and pushed them to get a lot more cutting through the full mix. Using the EQ’s, particularly on the snare Auxiliary, to bring back a tiny bit of the high’s as there was a lot more level in the snare than before. The extra bit of compression mainly helped to boost the overall level of the kick and snare, getting a more consistent sound, and using a slow attack and release time to get the extra punch.
A trouble I’ve been pondering throughout this mix (and since I started the course), is how on earth professional recordings get the general warmth that mine or any other students seemed to have. Part of me says that it’s the quality of my recordings and probably a number of other variable, for this project mastering… blahblah… It’s definitely something I’m gonna focus on in the future, as well as my ability to record quality tones, particularly with drums and electric guitar, personally I find those 2 things the hard to record well, all musicianship aside obviously.
It’s been awesome just being able to mix songs that I enjoy, to follow my own mixing ideas and instincts. It’s really annoying having to mix something that you don’t like to hear, a style that just isn’t likeable. It’s been a blessing to have a mate to create this music with and see it through to the end of the production. To the big question though…… Would I deem these songs release worthy?
….Ahhhh not really. I think my recording abilities let me down to a degree, having not fantastically recorded tracks makes the process far more difficult from the get go… Recording quality audio is definitely my main focus heading into next trimester.
Please check out final mixes below.
(P.S. I chickened out in my first blog called our song “Don’t Say”, it’s actually called “Falling Out of a Tree”… Just as a bit of a random joke, I was just kind of embarrassed hahahaha. What can I say……… enjoy!)