Academy Dashboard Forum Production Production Techniques Where do you start? Reply To: Where do you start?

Niki Pichler


    here is my workflow on producing and mixing (i'm using reaper):

    first i sort everything, colour code it, send tracks to busses every bus to a master bus (to have a reference track without my master processing), then solo every track and putting "Volume Adjustment" on every track and look that the loudest part of the track is about -18 to -16 dBfs (just eyeballing not precise) with peaks at highest around -10dB.

    next is alignment with "Time Alignment Delay" when i have some things recorded with different mics/methods like DI Bass and Bass Amp, or kick and snare with the overheads, etc.

    then i listen to the song and look first to my master if it's clipping; if yes put a "Volume Adjustment" on it and trim it down as no track is peaking this is fine! then pull the sliders down of tracks that are too loud (in this phase i never turn things above 0dB (they start there) but only pulling things down) until i have a feasable rough rough mix.

    that's the point where i start digging into the song and imagiing how i want this song to sound (how i wanna hear it, and which mood it should have). then i try to accomplish that with additional instruments (no specific order i just record things that i think are good and suitable) and i always balance my tracks after i played them into the song.

    So i get my rough mix without plugins (except the volume and time adjustment)

    then i start mixing (if im not producing this is obviously after the rough rough mix):

    my order is drums, bass, vocals, guitars, keys, anything else. in this order i start with every individual track in solo (yes i start completely with the solo button you will read why ^^) just putting up a tape emulation and a self build channelstrip from slate plugins (fg-73 (preamp), VCC (console emulation), fg-s (eq), fg-401 (VCA Compressor), trimmer) and try to get the best sound for me in solo with standard techniques i learned (and with the genre of the mix in mind)

    this is (i call it like that xD) the digital hybrid mixing. i took the knowledge of why warren likes to mix hybrid (like there is a standard pattern on his console for some instruments) and implemented it into my fully in the box mixing. so it's like having a console and mixing with it without a console ^^ (but i just do this for each track in a bus in the order i wrote before)

    then starts the combine and bus mixing phase where i try to get the tracks in a bus working together (e.g. all drums) and in this phase i use every plugin i think i need and go everytime back and forth (bypassing for checking the result)

    after this i go to the next bus in order and start with the console mixing there and so on and everytime i got to finish the balance in the bus i will include the other buses i mixed before and add plugins to the busses so they work together.

    this goes on until i went trough every bus, then i start my master processing (normally VMC (summing bus emulation of a console), CS-Lift (and 2 knob slate eq for lows and highs), revival (a low and high frequency exciter), eq, fg-red (red summing compressor emulation), tape emulation (2 track), loudmaxx (brickwall limiter))

    in this phase i just try to get the best out of the mix while referencing to professional mixes how much low end and high shimmer i need, getting 1-2dB of GR on the fg-red for some glueing (with autorelease, mid attack and a high pass on about 90-130 depending on the song) and get it loud with the loudmaxx

    however in the last stage i will also adress small changes to some tracks if neccessary but i try to avoid that (all about commiting ^^)

    so this is my producing / mixing scedule per song ^^ normally to get the best out of a mix i need 3 seperate days, 1st preparation and rough mix getting used to the song, 2nd mixing, 3rd relistening to the mix on my iphone earbuds, in the car, in my living room and on 2 different headphones, then making the last changes. sometimes the 2nd day are 2 days when the mix is a bit more challenging.

    as feedback comes by, for sure i adress these points (normally a few days later to get a bit of a distance)

    thanks for reading my wall of text, i hope this is informative how i work or what works for me and this shouldn't be a you have to do this my way in any form or meaning. i just like to share my opinion and information =)

    cheers, Niki