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Mixing Essentials

Lesson 30 from: Advanced Drum Production

Eyal Levi

Mixing Essentials

Lesson 30 from: Advanced Drum Production

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

30. Mixing Essentials


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Tone Pie and Process Overview


Getting the Lay of the Land and Q&A


Assemble Your Gear


Drum Tuning Part 1


Drum Tuning Part 2


Fine Tuning Tones Part 1


Fine Tuning Tones Part 2


General Guidelines of Tracking Drums


Tracking with Sean Reinert


Pop Quiz


Basics of Superior Drummer


EZDrummer vs Superior Drummer


Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 1


Constructing a Metal Drum Kit Part 2


Constructing a Rock Drum Kit


Grooves and Programming


General Q&A


Prepping Virtual Drums for the Mix


Superior Review with Q&A


Intro to Mixing and Drum Clean Up


Interview with John Douglass


Intro to Drum Editing


Manual Editing Approach


Editing with Beat Detective


Editing with Elastic Audio


Sample Layering




Gain Staging and Bussing


Mixing Essentials


Compression and Parallel Compression


Reverb and Automation


Mixing Tips and Tricks


Day 2

Day 3


Bonus: EZDrummer - Introduction


Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to EZDrummer


Bonus: EZDrummer - EZDrummer Foundations


Bonus: EZDrummer - How a Drummer Plays


Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 1


Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Part 2


Bonus: EZDrummer - Part Writing Q&A


Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Grooves


Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing from Scratch


Bonus: EZDrummer - Intro to Fills


Bonus: EZDrummer - Writing Fills


Bonus: EZDrummer - Mixing in Your DAW


Bonus: EZDrummer - Bussing and EQ


Bonus: EZDrummer - Compression and Reverb


Bonus: EZDrummer - Conclusion with Q&A


Bonus Video: Editing


Bonus Video: Toms and Cymbals


Bonus Video: Snare Midi


Bonus Video: Kick Midi


Lesson Info

Mixing Essentials

What we're going to do is show you guys stuff that happens on every mix not not so much specifics of weird situations but stuff that you do no matter what and uh with that issue has a question which is how do you set up your mix is like and what's been your biggest challenge when you work on mixes do you do all this stuff to you gain stage it scent of your buses or do you just track and then go for it tracking and go for it? Ah I mean I I'm ah in general I'm a very disorganized person so oh are you okay? S so you know, I I try to use is, you know, a cz much preplanning with my you know, setting up my deed did of you but yes sometimes attracts aren't labeled and then you look at it a month later and you wonder what what is this? And yeah label your tracks that's another setup essential but that's back to tracking don't allow audio won an audio to an audio three three forty five to get into your d ad w take a second to name your tracks it's not you're not going to lose your inspiration i...

f you lose three seconds to naming a track, what will happen is that one month later you'll know what the track is or waas so what about you um I like to organize like the room mikes in the the overheads from top to bottom within the kick snare and then uh go down like that and in men and kick snare like I go I usually organize it um room overheads kick snare than tom's and additional elements um in your eyes is here for you to understand that's just how it's just work for that eye I got used to and just kind of try to stick with whenever I open for mix. Well, I guess what's really important is that it's a workflow that you understand? Song system? Yeah, exactly. Yeah and I also in q base you can choose certain colors for tracks, so I try to keep like certain colors for certain element people do that in pro tools as well. I actually try actually end up getting rid of all colors in the mix because sometimes they confuse me. I'm not color blind or anything, but uh but I find that sometimes it's easier to listen when you have no colors at all. When it's all great out basically in pro tools you have to say I guess you have to set in the preferences, but yet all the tracks would then just be this greyish background and the way form would be black and then I wouldn't be able to visually look att groups and say you know, mixed with my eyes quite so much it definitely have to listen another cool trick along those lines is to try to mix in this view zoomed out well you're not looking at tracks this wakes everyone you have to automate you actually have to listen could you know where you're at in the song if you do this theo more zoomed out you are the more using your ears and not your eyes so about you how do you approach this stuff? Um sometimes I will maybe get a little bit ahead of myself and start jumping into things for a fully organized stuff I'm definitely not is good about busing everything like that onda as a result, I suppose my biggest challenge is losing perspective and becoming disoriented because it's like I just have so many things going on and I'll try out you know? Maybe I'll turn this up for that down or whatever and then I'll just I get lost in what is representing what if it were just a simple is like overhead bus kick, bus, snare bus I feel like I would be less visually overwhelmed absolutely being visually overwhelmed is a huge problem and I've done that to myself plenty of times and it's horrible I tend to have really huge mixes that will pass one hundred tracks and there was a time period when I would definitely do stuff with minimal busing and not only would I kill the cpu, but mixes would take a lot longer than they needed to take, and there would be a much more overwhelming or deal when you could keep things to twenty tracks or thirty tracks that's so much easier to deal with what you I think I do pretty well with the gain, staging side of things and controlling preventing any clipping there? Um, I'm typically working with eight tracks of drums on dh, then maybe some other instruments, so it gets I have a much more simplified project typically than what you're used to working with, but I still think that I could improve using buses more effectively and that that could still help. Well, eight tracks it's not that much, right? So you've only got eight tracks of drums, maybe maybe you don't need to be doing that much busing, maybe just a drum bus or maybe just a drum bus in an overhead bus or drum and symbol bus and then groom bus or something I'll occasionally used like a couple of kick mike's or yeah, they're my notes on the snare and so I might bust those together. Sounds like you're pretty organized with stuff one thing I didn't ask you guys about today guys and talk about what about gain staging really quick, actually it's really funny because I asked the same the same question in jack's room and in russia and mikey prs both said my biggest challenge as of late is toe learn, gain, staging and actually getting a project that looks clean and easy to come back to from personal experience. So we had jesse cannon here to teach die why mastering a month or so ago? Something like that so jesse used to work in ross robinson, steve evitts, alan duchess at west west side, you know? So he knows this stuff and of course it being mastery harped on gain stage and quite a bit and kind of showed me some stuff I was doing wrong they're the same like setting same everything I was doing, just adding like, I don't know, I think about ten d b of headroom in my mix like it was night and day, it sounded like money and yucky and just couldn't make anything some right before just night and day simple is that yeah, that's definitely the main thing it's, like the first thing you can do that will give you results immediately is proper gain, staging and it's easy to do. All you do is turn things down and to, uh, mr prs, who said they has trouble with that if you could ask him if he used his pro tools um if he does use pro tools, there's a plug in in pro tools that makes this very easy is called the trim plug in this guy if he used his pro tools, this plug in right here, just put it across the top insert, said a group, and turned them all down to start by turning them all down. Six tv or something and you're mixed will improve significantly. You might need to reset inputs, going to compressors so I would do the trim thing from the get go if you have a serious issue with gain staging, but it's, just important to keep up with that. Yeah, I have a quick question about gained stage, sure. So when you're recording straight into an interface on the computer, do you want to set your levels? I mean, because I noticed that, you know, you were putting putting the phasers down within pro tools, using software, too, to put the game down when you're tracking in doing your initial recording, do you? Where do you want the I guess, the tv set? Uh, well, that all depends on the calibration between the interface of your pre amps and you want to get to the sweet spot of your pre empts, like, for instance, with ap eyes, they don't really start to sound good until you're driving them hard but if you're driving them hard you need to make sure they're calibrated right to your interface or you're going to clip it so that's very important I think that you shouldn't clip your interface at all and stay well below it I think that keeping it kind of like how we're going to the master bus towards the bottom end of the yellow you're pretty good remember you're in the digital realm twenty four bit so it's not like you're gonna have signal loss or anything like that. So as long as you're in this range you're good you won't have any problems in their questions about this. My other favorite biggest challenge was from reverb island has the biggest challenge is coming back a day or two later and thinking wow what the hell was I thinking? This sounds awful I think that's everybody's problem with mixing I was talking to a really big time mixer remember a couple months ago and he said that he can't remember a mix where he didn't scrap it and start all over and we're talking about a dude who works on some really huge stuff wouldn't it make more sense just to get it right the first time so you don't have to all right work it doesn't always work that way sometimes you think it's right and you're going along and then well howbout realizes why don't instead of doing the wrong things just just pick the right thing first and just do that one well I think it is reasonable to me seems reasonable but all these things I'm showing you don't show you how teo make the right artistic decisions so just because you did all these things right gain staged it and acute it properly compressed it write all that stuff doesn't mean it's a good mix there's still that art side to it that extra ten percent that is all in the artistic decisions where even if even if you get it technically right that doesn't mean it's going to sound good and sometimes you need to hear it sounding bad in order to know what to fix so yeah it doesn't always work that way mixing is hard hard work um any other questions no I think we're good for the moment we'll we're going to keep on coming back it's just a really quick one from javy leonardo can you explain the difference between reducing gain via a trim plugin versus just pulling down the fader when do I know when he did trim or just pulled on the fader fader on the track is your volume not your gain so in pro tools those two are not linked so let's see here I'm going to clip a track and then turn it down just teo demonstrate this and cliff the uh kick have something I don't know and clipped the snare and then turn it down okay, these meters are independent of these failures so let's see here because they never had such a hard time getting something to clip so, uh I I'm about to do it though once this stops wayne I notice is quitting I just, uh blew it out as faras gain because I just turned it down but it's still clipping now here's where it could get a little confusing this is the snare track itself that's clipping even though the volume of it is down the gain of is clipping if I was to bounce out this way form even though it would be quiet it would be locked off of the top it would be straight edge now keep in mind this is being bussed to a master channel so the volume of the snare is kind of determining began in which it goes to the master so just because you have it right in the master doesn't mean you have a right within itself. So you need to be checking your gain at plugin level at fader level at bus level and at master uh master fader low that's for that's. Why it's called gain staging right? Because iraq different stages exactly process the signal goes through you have to make sure that none of them are clipping services elena at the end and that's why it's easier said than done yeah, I mean, you can sit there and say turn things down, but when you have four stages of it it gets complicated so it's important tio start your mixes off right because once you get it going, if you're clipping plug ins and then flipping buses than clipping your masters but you've gotta mix in progress and things air balanced then you don't know where to start turning things down from and basically just end up needing to scrap it. So get rid of this horrible que yeah that's a good idea to be really happy, I think yeah on that created I think we're going to move on now. All right? See okay, back to normal here. So you're some of the key techniques that we are going to be discussing a ce faras mixing goes, we'll be talking about leveling and panning, which is literally setting levels without any cure compression that's your first step in mixing and that is kind of like gain staging, but gain staging is the technical act of setting your gain, right? This is actually mixing listening, we're really talking about you. I'm sure you guys know what it is. I hope you know what compressors are, but then we're gonna be talking about some cool stuff like peril compression, which I think is the secret to making stuff jump through speakers side chain and kicks and bass also show you a couple of other side chaining examples that have helped me out tremendously and automation. So we're going to get pretty far into it. Let's, uh, start with leveling and panting. Basically, the idea here is that you should have a good static mix without any plug ins before you add anything in and at the very least have a well balanced mix. You will know what you need to do if you do this. Otherwise, you kind of have no, uh, no reference point. So make sure that there's nothing going as faras plug ins up here, and I already panned this stuff. I'm not going to re pan it, but I would start with everything in mono hit play, and I'm gonna go back to the natural kick because that's, uh, what I would use in real life on this, so see you later. Superior drummer. Hello, kick. Okay, all right. So let's, see, cake needs to be coming out a little harder. Now. The fact that I need to boost it so far makes me think that I should actually just add a trim plug in real fast to turn it up a little bit. Basically leveling to a mix is the equivalent of getting great tracks from the start when you're tracking if uh if you're mixed sounds really good without any plug ins on it and it's well balanced you're not going to need to use that many plug ins teo begin with and again the whole thing about keeping perspective it will be way easier to keep perspective so you'll be really amazed by what differences volume and panic can make if you really worked that out so first thing to do is get your balance is straight and so I said I wanted that to be a little louder going to the master I'm just going to add like two d b to say that I don't have the fader going past zero and that's for automation reasons okay? Okay it's interesting uh that I can actually really hear the symbols swooshing around right now they were definitely rotating so so word to the wise is definitely make sure that symbols or tighter then we had them and that's gonna make me turn them down now I want to get a little more level out of my hat as well right now realize sent the most amazing leveling job in the world but I got to keep moving I think the kick is too loud way sounds like we're getting a kick and more than one place so I'm going to suss that out right now and this is the kind of thing that when it comes up this is why it's good to ah, looks like these guys right here are the culprits. This is why it's good to keep things sing simple because when you discover a problem super easy to fix as opposed to have you have hundreds of tracks or one hundred tracks or sixty tracks or whatever finding a problem it's way difficult that's better now also view has noticed I'm not listening very loud at all like we could be talking over this this is about where you want to be mixing I don't know you guys blast stuff can the internet hear me talking over? This should be able to well, it's uh, it's more. I'm just curious for the internet sake, if they can hear me talking about over this than that illustrates my example, this we should be able to have a conversation while mixing. Yeah, we've got about a minute delay on the broadcast, so people will start hearing it very shortly and we'll you know we'll know in a minute. Yeah, yes, they can. Ok. Cool. So internet out there it is about where you want your main level to be your master volume on your interface on your speakers when you're mixing, I want to be able to talk without straining, and that goes back to ear fatigue that we talked about on the first day you will fatigue your ears within twenty minutes if you're blasting this stuff you'll start to make really bad mix decisions and everything will go to hell in a handbasket very fast so let's talk about basic q I think that the best way to go about things nine out of ten times this isn't true one hundred percent of the time but nine out of ten times it's attract before you add and just keep in mind that e q is super powerful it's a cumulative thing if you think that the snare needs more crack and you add sixty b seven k and then suddenly the guitars come up with lots of hi miz and then you've got your symbols blaring and then you boost your vocals in the highs before you know it you've got a really shrilly mix you wanted to take things in baby steps as faras e q goes and make room for elements rather than add elements and on ly ad when you absolutely need to so I'll show you real quick is this you do a quick subtracted v q curve on the snare top now I realized that you shouldn't mix in solo but because this is super subtle and I want you guys to be able to hear this you do this and solo I think that in general you should be mixing without the solo button on because nobody ever listens to tracks in solar your records are with all track going at all times so to really know what aniki was doing you have teo be hearing it in context of everything else for the sake of the internet and this class and this demonstration going to do this with the solo button on so many cute that you guys all have your pro tools is this one so stairs okay but there's a we're little weird a little ring or like trash canny sound I don't like so gotta find it they have found it there it is that's basically it also I'm going to high pass it because do we really need anything going on underneath one hundred in the snare want to leave as much headroom it's possible for your kick drum and your bass guitar so just get rid of that see you later we notice it doesn't really affect the sound very much I feel like maybe now that I did that a way to compensate in the low end because he's a little bit more thump to it trying to find exactly where the low end of the scenarios and this should only take a minute if you guys are taking way longer than this to accuse snare you're way overthinking it make it gradual and then turn it down only thing missing now is a tiny bit of high end he was at a little shelf done as opposed to and it's subtle that's a little bit ring here and trash canny so little lower and tighter and that's it that's all I want to dio you start with riel basic curves like this maybe add a hair more attack but be careful before after and just to er just tow let you guys hear this in a little bit more detail I'm going to turn it up a little so without with okay snares fatter and crack you're just better and that's all it took just like three minutes that's all it should take for us to do basic you again you're spending twenty minutes thirty minutes a cuing a snare you're spending way too long on this the basic u q guides are generally right for snares it's the thing that you guys need thio keep in mind is the loan of the snares the low end of the snare in it's in the same range on every snare finding the exact frequency is what why you sweep around and what you need to listen for is where it gets louder in the low end or in the high end, whatever you don't like, you just listen while you're sleeping around for when it suddenly bumps up in volume and there you go, that's what you booster cut simple doesn't take a genius to figure this stuff out what's up, so this is specifically for the top mike right versus foods news out in general uh which part do you mean this curve they thinkyou curve or is this on the bus now this is on the top mike okay this is just a good e q curb for snares is cut out the cutouts um mids some lower mids boost a little bit of low end boost a little bit of top end high pass it I mean you'll do different variations of this the low angle change from one hundred to two hundred ah this cut will range anywhere from five hundred to three hundred six hundred on different snares but this shape is uh the shape is the same no matter what now the thing that you should keep in mind is that if you kind of understand how these drums work you'll find that you have two or three different curves that you go to every time and you'll know really quickly if they're gonna work and then you kind of just tweak from there and generally like I said nine out of ten times this stuff's gonna work out for you so as faras kick for instance like I already know I know that a k has more of that attack I know that three k has a little more that definition I know that I want that uh around sixty or so one hundred and down to sixty or so it's where the low and lives I mean that doesn't I think the mistake a lot of amateur mixtures make is that when they approach this stuff, they feel like they need to reinvent the wheel every single time because they read in a book somewhere that you have to e. Q. Every drum individually and every every instrument has to have its own unique thing and treat every instrument, like it's, really, really special. I don't think you should do that. I think you should understand how they work and realize that when you tune a guitar, you're tuning it. If you're too needy, standard itsy standard, every time you're queuing, a snare, yuri cueing it with a certain range every time. It's ah, not that different.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Day One Presentation.pdf
Day Three Presentation.pdf
Day Two Presentation.pdf
Johns QuicKeys Shortcuts.qkmx
Sample Input List.docx

Ratings and Reviews

El Bulbo Studio

This class will give you confidence when tracking drums. Eyal's interaction with the drummer will help you communicate better with the artist to get the best performance and tone. The added bonus on drum replacement is very valuable and will improve your mixes.

a Creativelive Student

My drum sound has improved by 150% and counting. I'm grateful that Eyal would share this information with us. Not every technique is for every situation, but they all work. It's up to you to have the vision and to use the right tools for the job. Thank you guys!!

Michael Nolasco

To the guy that said buyer beware: this is an advanced production class, it's not meant for beginners who are learning to mic up a kit. I'm a beginner, but i'm using superior drummer, so this class was perfect for me to learn how to process drums post recording. I refer to it constantly. The editing videos are also prime information.

Student Work