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Monday, June 28, 2010

Jason's Notes on Recording, Part VI: Mixing

Part VI:

Mixing. This is the first time I’ve personally done any mixing in a software program. The Zoom R16 came with Cubase LE 4. So armed with a pair of headphones and my home stereo speakers to A/B the mix, I busted out a rough mix in 2 days time, without any EQing or compression. I’m kind of a geek, so I really enjoyed setting up each folder, labeling and coloring all the tracks, cleaning up the .wav files. The grunt work. So I passed this first mix around to the band and label guys and got some notes from them. I contacted Jonathan “Nails” Natera at Appleseed Studios in Fairfield about helping me with EQ-ing and compression. I knew that he mixed our album “Wasted Love Songs” in Cubase, so I knew he had great experience with Cubase AND with EQ-ing our band. Plus, by going to his studio, we got to mix and do all this on his studio monitors. For those who don’t know, studio monitor speakers are way different then most all other speakers. They have a flat response. This means all your home stereo/car/headphone speakers have a dynamic response. They increase the bass and high frequencies. By mixing on studio speakers, you’re able to get a more true mix that will sound even across the most speakers. Anyway, he was more than happy to help me out and we headed to the studio. We started with “Bottles” and went to work on each instrument. Kick drum, snare drum, and the overheads, to get the drums sounding good. Then the upright bass. Once we got the rhythm section EQ-d and compressed and sounding good, we knew that most of the hard work was done. Both Nails and my philosophies agree that the most important foundation of a good mix is the relationship between the kick drum and the bass. Okay, enough rambling. Guitars and vocals were pretty easy after that. Before we knew it we had gotten our efforts applied to a couple more songs and it was time to head home. Then the next day, I applied our settings to the remaining songs. Did another mix and sent the songs back to the band and label guys. Now I’m just waiting for their notes so I can fine tune the mix. Then we’ll send the master .wav files to be mastered. We’re going to have Carl Saff Mastering do this record. He did “Wasted Love Songs” and did an amazing job. More about mastering later.

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