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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Minimal Mixing Approach Part 2/2



CLICK HERE TO READ PART 1/2 OF THIS ARTICLE!


Rhythm Guitars: proceeding with our minimal mixing project, started from the base of the song, the rhythm section, it's time to take a look to the rhythm guitars.
We can record two guitar tracks (microphoning the amplifier or using vst amp simulators for example) and pan them one 80% left and one 80% right, in order to give some "wall of sound" effect; then we can route them into a stereo group track and from there do some equalization in order to clean up the sound a little bit and move it more on its place in the mix.
Obviously eq varies from guitar track to guitar track (see the dedicated articles), but the idea is to use a low pass filter to take out the excessively fizzy frequences (for example the ones above 10/12khz) and a high pass for the subsonics (up to 50 to 100hz). From there we can just use a spectrum analyzer (or just our erars) to see if there are resonances to tame, and finally we can shape the tone to our taste (for example boosting the top end, or scooping out some mids).
If unavoidable, we can use a multiband compressor just to tame the low end (which means compressing only the area from 50 to 250hz), if the palm muting produces too many lows but we can't fix it with the eq.

Lead Guitars: This track usually gets kept in the center, and it should be treated like a vocal track, with effects (such as Delay, for example), and it should be compressed in order to keep it stable with volume. The eq should be more "mid-oriented" (which means that it could benefit from a wide boost around 2khz) in order to make the solo to stand out more from the other guitars.

Vocals: Another track that is usually kept dead center. Vocals need a good compression, for example a 8:1 ratio with a fast attack, but it could be even higher for rock/metal: we need to keep it stable or it will drown among the other instruments. The ideal is to acquire the vocal tracks as natural as possible and as good sounding as possible, since the more we touch the eq (other than filtering out the unnecessary lows, for example below the 50hz), the less it will sound natural. For the effects, check out the next section.

Fx tracks: Now that we have all of our tracks ready, it's time to put some icing on the cake: some effect.
We should create a couple of Fx Tracks: one for Reverb and one for Delay (actually we would need more than one reverb and one delay with different settings in order to be perfect for each instrument, but this is the minimal mixing approach, so we're gonna keep it minimal).
We must take the reverb track, set it quite short since its purpose it's to make it feel like the whole album is recorded in the same room at the same time (not in a cathedral), and high pass everything above 500hz or 1000hz, in order to not engulf the lows with resonances, and send it to the snare, toms and cymbal tracks, adjusting the amount to the point that you have to notice it only when you solo the track.
Now we must create a Delay track, set a very short delay just to thicken the sound and send it to the vocal tracks and the lead guitar tracks (always with moderation).
Now, if we feel that the vocals needs some more thickening or that the sound is still too dry we can send (after the Delay) some Reverb too.

Now that our minimal mix is ready, to we can move to the Minimal Mastering Chain and complete our tutorial on how to create a song with as few moves as possible!


CLICK HERE TO READ PART 1/2 OF THIS ARTICLE!


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