Nick Tart Mixing Session

For Nick Tart’s mixing session, i referenced a lot of early 90s rock in the similar veins of ACDC or Iron Maiden. A major process that was used in most of my references was the heavy use of hall reverb to emulate the sound of a massive rock concert. These process were heavily used in almost every track from the guitars, and vocals all the way to percussion hits such as snares and kicks.

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Before mixing i cut the vocals up into smaller tracks which i applied different reverb settings to. So for that i did not use the global reverb setting that i applied for the other tracks but its own insert.

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Most of the tracks were processed in a similar way and in a similar order except for the guitars where an extra stereo widener was used to separate it further when during the mix. Another small addition was the use of a De-esser in the vocals to reduce the sibilance of certain vowels and was apparent due to the fact that a ribbon microphone was used.

  • Dynamic Processing

A compressor was used to glue the mix together and was integral to equalising the dynamics so that the sound was not overly loud or soft. Sometimes more dynamic processing was used after the chain to compress the wet sounds from the reverb that used at the end of the chain since i wanted the actual room space to be dynamically equal to the dry sounds.

  • EQ

EQ was then applied to cut frequencies that were unwanted or even boost certain frequencies that needed more presence. Most of the EQ applied was very minor only shaving or adding 2 to 5 dBFS of dynamic reduction.

For example, the bass track included a low pass filter that was used to cut every frequency above 7kHz since the actual recording was very plucky and included unwanted metallic noises which clashed with the vocals and the percussions.

An instance where i added frequencies was the vocals or hi hats where i used a shelf EQ to boost frequencies above 10kHz to add more brilliance or intelligibility to the sound and to make them stick through.

  • Reverb

Reverb was used to add bulk to the dry sounds and was used to sometimes artificially increase the loudness of the track instead of a typical dBFS boost. The way reverb was setup was using a send for the overall reverb of the tracks and a smaller room reverb for the vocals. Rather than washing all of the sound with the same setting, different more precise reverb control was used with different room sized and RT decay settings for more of the sounds that were panned in the centre.

  • Stereo Panning

Panning was necessary to separate the tracks into different stereo pockets in the mix. I went for a typical rock panoramic utilising wide guitars and percussions with the bass and vocals offset slightly from the centre. For the stereo recorded tracks such as guitars and overheads extra stereo wideners was used to separate and clean the mix even more and give the guitars its own place in regards to the other harmonic content such as vocals.

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  • Distortion

Distortion can be described as an alteration of a sound source that can add harmonic content or frequency distortion by adding amplitude to a signal. Adding harmonic content on the percussions can add overtones to a sound source which can thicken up percussions such as adding punch to a kick.

Ive also introduced digital clipping into the sound source as a byproduct of distortion. Clipping is a form of distortion that limits a signal once it exceeds a threshold.Hard clipping results in many high frequency harmonics which i found desirable when mixing certain percussions such as snares to add more punch and even introduce more energy in the higher frequencies to make certain percussions stick through the mix.

For this process i used dynamic distortion which is usually used in strong spikes, usually from percussion instruments to give a live music impact. Distortion was used in a very irregular way in that it was used as a way to add grit and noise to kicks and snares. By increasing the distortion in the percussions it brought the transients out which in turn bought more energy to the track especially in the chorus. A little extra low order harmonic distortion produces a pleasant fullness and depth that has an easy-on-the-ears quality

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Parallelhomeaudio.net,. (2015). Types of Audio Distortion. Retrieved 27 August 2015, from http://www.parallelhomeaudio.net/TypesAudioDistortion.html

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