When it comes to mixing, I approach it from a "three-dimensional" perspective. These three dimensions are width (stereo placement/panning), height (frequency) and depth (room placement/space). Each of these three dimensions can vary from note to note, but can be analysed and accomodated for at any static moment or "slice". Before I even begin to mix, I'll spend some time building a mental image of how I want the mix to sound and feel. Sometimes I take notes, or voice memos, or random scribbles. This mental picture determines everything, from EQ choice to what type of distortion I want to slam the drums with.
When mixing, I'll first focus on height. I'll go through each instrument layer by layer and carve out a slot in the frequency spectrum for each. The first pass is just broad strokes; sculpting everything with big, easy movements to mould them into their approximate shapes.
The second pass is to fine tune. I'll get more clinical, surgically focusing on troublesome frequencies to find the exact sound in my head. There are never any limitations here - 20dB movements are no more right or wrong than 2dB. Do what needs to be done to get to your vision.
The third and final pass is automation. You may find that instruments change tone and timbre over time, and thus things may need changing to fit. You might need to pull more mids from something to create room for a new element in a bigger section, or even an entirely new plugin to achieve a different tonality. My automation can get pretty hairy sometimes (15+ lanes for a single sound!). Don't be afraid to be drastic.
Thanks for reading! Part Two tomorrow covers width.
Last post about the sweet new axe, I promise! I'm working on a solo EP, and it has riffs. Here's a few! @evertune is the coolest thing ever, seriously. 🙌🤘💯 Tomorrow I'll be back to theory posts. Keep an eye out! 📖🎼 #music#guitar#shredit#bro
Still trying out that @toontrack Superior Drummer 3 trigger mixing it with my BFD3 drum samples. I think it sounds awesome🤘
Sigo probando el trigger del Superior Drummer 3 y esta vez lo mezclo con la batería midi que he impreso del BDF3. Realmente suena muy bien🔥
Four years into the fucking making. Gone through a few different members, a producer and tons of money. Starting over feels right, but there will be many challenges on this journey. Mack and I will never give up on this music. This EP will see the light of day this year. #progressivemetal#ambientmetal#ethesian#toontrack
***ANNOUNCEMENT*** My cover of Hans Zimmer's 'Supermarine' from the Dunkirk movie will be available for download on February 16th through all major retailers such as Itunes, Amazon Music and Google Play.
More news coming soon!
Enormous thanks to @evertune for equipping me with this incredible Jackson Pro HT7. It sounds truly amazing and plays like a dream. 🙏
Here's one of my favourite riffs from @belialuk - 'In Origin' from the Nihil Est EP. 😈🤘🔥 #guitar#metal#jackson
I talked about @soundtoys yesterday but felt compelled to also mention Microshift, a simple plugin that I use to "stereoise" a sound. I tend to work with mono analogue synth sounds, and this tool lets me widen certain elements of a groove easily. The slight pitch fluctuations create a sense of gritty reality that is often missing in otherwise "perfect" sounds. WAY better than using a widener or other tool that affects the mono-compatibility of a mix!
@joeysturgistones Pixelator is a fantastic plugin. Bit Depth allows control over the precise amount of dirt in a sound, and can be automated to progressively "destroy" a sound over time. I like to use the Sample Divider to tune a sound to a specific pitch in key with the song or section. Since each point on the Divider sounds different, I'll sometimes combine this with Reaper's ReaPitch to achieve the tone at a pitch that fits the song.
@izotopeinc Trash 2 is perhaps the most versatile distortion tool available. When it comes to creating heavy synth basslines, the presets alone have enough diversity to create endless variations and movements. A particular favourite trick of mine is to stack two instances of the plugin in sequence, both quite heavily distorting the signal in different ways. Processing an already destroyed sound creates some very unique and interesting textures and artifacts.
In the clip posted yesterday, one of the sounds was created by printing a low and high sine wave together, and then distorting both together. The processing freaks out at such a range of frequencies at once, and the result is fantastically noisy.
@soundtoys create some truly stellar plugins, of which Crystallizer, Tremolator and Decapitator are my favourites. The former is wonderful for dialling in some interesting delay textures behind ambient or clean sounds, and the latter always finds a way into my guitar, bass or drum sound to add some grit and aggression.
One of my favourite Tremolator tricks involves automating the "Depth" over time. By increasing the depth, the effected sound gradually becomes more staccato, creating more energy and movement (great for build-ups!). Decreasing the depth creates a gradual sense of "openness", which creates an entirely different sense of growth over time. I also love running Tremolator with a very low depth on pads to create subtle volume modulation to tempo.
***ANNOUNCEMENT*** Following overwhelming feedback from the YouTube video I released last year, I will be releasing my cover of Supermarine from the movie Dunkirk, originally composed by Hans Zimmer, next month to all major online music retailers!
Stay tuned for the official release date!
Thank you for the continued support!
Working on a gritty @moogsynthesizers bass line for my next film/licensing album. This one's a fun one!
Over the next couple of days, I'm going to break down the sound design plugins and techniques I've used to turn a simple mono waveform from the Sub-37 into this distorted, modulating groove.
Each of the tonal variations heard in this synth line were created separately using different processes (sometimes sampled and resampled several times to add multiple layers of effects!) and then comped together to process as a single entity. This comping and re-comping method is time-consuming, but the results are worth it!