Mixing pop music

Do notice that this is a master class video, so you are expected to understand something about mixing when watching this video, it is not explaining the basics of Pro Tools. Watch the video with annotations for more enjoyable viewing experience.

Quick navigation:
0:00 Beginning
0:30 Finished reference mix
1:40 Color coding
3:00 Mixer reset
4:00 Send effects introduced (Finnvox EMT plate impulses here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6b5kmc4I3o )
5:25 Panning
5:57 Fader balance
13:35 First listening pass
15:00 First plugin
19:29 Send effects applied
23:07 Delay throw automation
24:25 Vocal processing
27:55 Radio / Telephone effect
30:37 Vocal group processing
37:33 Vocal highpassing
41:00 Explanation why I mix against the master bus limiter
41:48 Keyboard group processing
46:20 Check that bridge transition sounds natural
47:12 Listening elements at lower volume
48:20 Side chaining kick to the bass
51:55 Fourth listen thru
53:40 Opening the last track
54:30 Final words
54:50 Mystery EQ in the master bus explained

Plugins used:

Waves C1
Waves CLA-2A
Waves CLA-76
Waves GTR (Stomp 2)
Waves Doubler
Waves H-Delay
Waves IR-Live
Waves L1
Waves PAZ Analyzer
Waves Renaissance Bass
Waves Renaissance Compressor
Waves Renaissance DeEsser
Waves Renaissance Vox
Waves Q10

Song: Jacoby Michael Filand – Drift Away


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Session organization and rough mix

Step 1: 0:21 Import files, put rough mix to the top of the track list and listen to it
Step 2: 2:00 Organize and color code the tracks
Step 3: 5:45 Bus/group your tracks
Step 4: 6:30 Starting the mix: Faders only mono mix
Step 5: 9:45 Static panning
Step 6: 11:20 Highpass filter everything
Step 7: 14:30 Use shared effects, like reverb, via sends
Step 8: 16:40 Reference your mix to the rough mix
Step 9: 20:35 Try how loud and low level elements of the track react to limiting, even if you are not mastering the track yourself (just take it off before you send it for mastering and lower the master fader)
Step 10: 23:50 Mix until done.

Extra tip: 22:05 How to carve space

Remember to watch until the end for bonus material 🙂

Track: ahjteam – Where’s my home?
Check the finished demo version at 23:50
Check the finished full song at 25:35

Also check out FAWM (February Album Writing Month) at http://www.fawm.org

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Mixing metalcore

This is by far my most watched tutorial video on my YouTube channel to date (2014).

Song: Sinking Charlie – Tongues

Remember that mixing is 90% about listening and 10% about processing. First plugin inserted to the session around 15 minute mark. Also do notice that I do a lot of the mix decisions when everything is playing.

Quick navigation on what happens where:
00:00 – Intro
00:50 – Part 1: Transferring, documenting and archiving sessions
03:05 – Part 2: Organizing your session for faster navigation
04:40 – “Everything at unity” -“mix”
05:15 – Routing everything to sub buses
05:55 – Zeroing the mix
06:20 – Part 3: Get the basic balance with just faders and panning
10:50 – “Faders open” -mix
11:10 – First decisions on what to do to the mix
15:00 – Part 4: Processing screaming vocals
19:35 – Part 5: Bass
23:25 – Part 6: Drums
29:25 – Part 7: Guitars
31:00 – Troubleshooting: Cleaning the drum low end
32:55 – Part 8: Clean vocals
35:00 – Part 9: Tamborine and synths
37:00 – Troubleshooting: Switching low end focus because of the tempo
39:30 – Cleaning up tom tracks
41:25 – Synths re-visited
42:25 – Part 10: Effects
48:30 – “After” mix
49:45 – Final rough mix touches:
53:15 – “Final” static mix
56:55 – Checking how loud the mix is
57:35 – Afterwords

Plugins used:
Waves CLA-76
Waves CLA-2A
Waves CLA-3A
Waves Doubler 2
Waves H-Delay
Waves Kramer Tape
Waves L1
Waves L2
Waves VEQ4
Waves PAZ Analyzer
Waves Raxx
Waves RComp
Waves RVox
Pro Tools 1 band EQ
Pro Tools Lo-Fi
Pro Tools D-Verb
TT Dynamic Range Meter

Studio recording clip here

FAQ: No, you can’t get the raws, and yes, the band split up, so you most likely won’t hear the finished mix anywhere either.

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