Academy Dashboard Forum Production Production Techniques Where do you start?

  • This topic has 17 replies, 15 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
Viewing 6 posts - 13 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Author
  • #43150
    Jonathan Marshall

      I sort of agree with you Ann about templates. They can lead to a 'standard' approach rather than one which best suits the track. But then again, isn't creating sub-groups a mechanical task best left to a computer so we can spend our time doing the 'artistic' stuff. Even if you used a template with one sub-group set up you could then duplicate that track which would be faster than creating it? Or a template with a wide variety of groups setup could help - you just select and delete all the sub-groups that aren't appropriate for the track.

      Sergey Kruglov

        After technical preparation is done (tracks sorted and grouped, colour coded, phase checked, submixes created etc.) the next thing for me is to create a rough mix. I begin with all faders down and then start to introduce elements. I try to find a balance between drums and lead vocal first (this might seem strange but works well for me). Then I introduce bass and main harmonic instruments. Sometimes the order can change, but I found that soloing drums and vocals and giving yourself some time to explore their relationships in isolation from other elements can be useful.

        I try not to use any processing during the rough mix stage, but sometimes some eq is required to establish a proper balance. For example if kick drum lack the low end and have too much energy in 200-300Hz I will fix this.

        I think that you should really invest a good amount of time to work on a rough mix just moving faders, pans, and fixing obvious problems with EQ.

        After the rough mix is done I try different things on a mix bus. Usually this involves compression, usual "happy face" EQ (light boost on 60Hz and 10-16kHz) and tape emulation.

        Then there I start more detailed work, adding samples if needed, effects, compressing individual tracks etc.

        James Gorman

          Another one for the no-template.

          I start off more or less the same as Sergey - including balancing drums and vocals first (maybe it's because they stick out the most in almost any track?). I've I've also taken to chopping things up by part (verse, chorus, etc) when there is a large tonal variation (especially vocals - I stole this from a Tony Maserati video). I find it helps both for ease of using different plugin settings, and also to organise my thinking. All this organising stuff is pretty easy in Reaper, but one thing I've been looking at is creating/modding some scripts to do boring things like normalising everything correctly, grouping stereo tracks, and shortcuts to group things quickly.

          Then it's mix buss effects, then colour on all tracks that warrant it to set the tone (eg tape emulation, console emulation). Then an 80% mix on most the important tracks/groups (with faders up) - used to always be drums, bass, vocals in that order. Trying now to branch out and just did one that was vocals first, then guitar.

          I've organised all my plugins so I don't spend a lot of time um-ing and ah-ing over what I want - it usually feels like a straightforward path between deciding what I want to do and dropping in what I want. Feels like a good balance between the speed of a template and the freedom of starting from scratch. I'm still building my chops up after a long hiatus, so I'll probably reorganise things a few times over in the coming months.


            Sorry, I can't reply in this topic for one reason or another.


            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

              Just Lisa

                This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing it all -- I have a couple of ideas I didn't have before.

                For me, pianos are purple and belong at the top/far left. In the beginning of my Studio One use, muddling around on my own, keys were imported midi or wav from notation software and kind of "fix it once and forget about it."
                I have a template now, it goes, keys, drums, bass, elec gts, acoust gtrs, other instruments, lead vox, bgvox, busses, fx, mix, main.
                But, I don't load it all straight in. I drag in groups from the multitrack file, merge some to stereo files first if it makes sense for the track, below the template tracks in the arrange view. I figure out what they are, reorder them and then drag them into their destination folder buses. This way, each track imports stereo or mono as needed, I don't have to think about it, and they all start out with their original file names as track names. They get automatically colored to my scheme when I move them into the folders.
                I can't say the template forces me in a direction -- any generic radio song has roughly the same elements that need to be organized somehow. There are only VU meters and Mixtools on the subgroups that I remove when I don't need them anymore. The generic reverb channels have a compressor for sidechaining the lead vocal, if necessary -- and so far, I've made use of most of them.
                Gainstaging, some basic low end eq, check the drums for phase.
                I start with the kickdrum, then the bass, then build the rest of the drums without the bass. Take a stab at the lead vocal. Decide if electric or acoustic gtrs are more important to the song, do them in that order, often I find I am taking stuff out or maybe duplicating a section and adding it somewhere else if I have any strong ideas about the 'performance' I hear. Jump back and forth on other instruments and bgvs. I solo the groups to get their basic levels before adding them to the growing mix.
                Print the rough mix.
                Then start the real eq and compression.
                Then route to reverbs or add other fx.
                Edit performances again -- because there's always something that needs to be removed or cleaned up or whatever.
                Automate volume. (Sends probably got automated when I first added the fx channel.)

                then... I lose my mind and start making mistakes. Good thing I don't have any clients yet.
                : )

              Viewing 6 posts - 13 through 18 (of 18 total)
              • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.