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Friday, 8 January 2016

Mixing "Weather The Storm" pt. 7 - Tweaking

G’day ladies and gents. We’re coming close to the end here with the seventh video in my series on mixing the track, “Weather The Storm”. Check out the links below to catch up on all the rest of the videos that brought us to this point.

Part 1 - Setting up the Session

Part 2 - Balance

Part 3 - Mix Bus Processing

Part 4 - EQ

Part 5 - Compression

Part 6 - Delay And Reverb

In this video I’m going to be doing the final tweaking of the track. So I’ll be pulling some automation moves, muting parts that I don’t think need to be there and just doing the final touches so that I can master this track and release it.

Attack The Most Important Things First

In this video, I’ve really only done the important things, but that’s a good lesson. When you listen through the track for the final mix, try as hard as you can to not be looking for things to change. Instead, try to enjoy the track and if something stands out to you, then fix it.

This is a great way to ensure that you’re spending your time fixing the things that are the most important to making a great mix. Chances are that if you hear something wrong while enjoying the track, your audience will hear the same thing. The tiny little things are less important, and though it’s the little things that make a great mix, you shouldn’t be working on them in place of the big, noticeable stuff.

As with all the other videos in this session, I was thinking about time. I wanted to get the best mix that I could in the shortest time possible. Partly this was to show you guys how quickly a good mix can come together, and partly because it wouldn’t make for good videos having me sit there for hours on end.

Back to Balance

You’ll notice that the majority of the changes that I made in this video were volume related. This goes back to what I said in the second video that balance is the most important thing in a mix. You can have the most immaculately EQ’d compressed and affected tracks, but if the balance is out, it’ll all sound wrong.

However, in this video I was using automation to fix balances out. In the second video, in which I used the volume faders to get the overall balance of the track how I wanted, I had to use automation here to tweak the different sections of the song.

These volume moves usually weren’t too drastic, mostly bumping up or down about 3dB to either tame sections that were a bit too loud, or bring out the parts that were getting lost in the mix.

Usually these were vocal related changes because they tended to pop out too much or hard to understand. I also brought down the intro to the track so that the beat kicked in a bit harder and also pushed up the guitars in a section to give the track a little more movement.

The other part of balance is the panning. Again, these were fairly simple changes, but ones that needed to be made. In one section the vocals were arranged on tracks that I’d panned, but it didn’t make sense (main parts were panned centre and right, and the other vocal panned left), so I just swapped the parts around on the tracks so that they made a bit more sense.

Unwanted Noises

Another thing I did was a couple of mutes. These were fairly simple as well. There was a sound just before one of the vocal lines that came up in two of the channels. I simply muted those sounds as well as one vocal part which I didn’t really like the sound of.

There is quite a bit of background noise in the vocal tracks throughout the track. Sometimes I would go through and manually cut out all the sounds that aren’t vocal parts. They didn’t really bother me on this track and I couldn’t hear them when they weren’t solo’d.

Again, because we are trying to focus only on the most important parts of the mix, those bits were negligible. You can spend ages going through and cutting out every little bit of track that shouldn’t be there. but you really have to ask if it’s going to make a difference in the end, or if that difference would be worth it.

Some people use gates on vocal channels for this reason, but I feel like you have to be pretty careful when setting up a gate, as they can sometimes cut out the sounds you want to keep and can also introduce some strange stuttering. I would almost always prefer to do that kind of thing manually.

Icing On The Cake

The only other changes were purely just the little things that I thought could benefit the track. I put a stereo widener on the Rhythm guitar track to make the guitar, and song, sound a bit more huge.

I also automated some delays so that they came up at the ends of some of the pivotal lines. Very simple stuff but can be quite effective.

I also gave one of the channels an artistic panning so that a repeated lines changes sides each time. This was something that I felt the part needed to give it a little movement and make it stand out in the mix a bit. Automating panning is a great way to bring a section to life and draw the listener's attention to it.

That’s it for this part. I hope you guys learned something that you can use in your own mixes. Until next time, have a good one!

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the section below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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