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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 4 of 17

Kick Drum Questions

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

4. Kick Drum Questions

Lesson Info

Kick Drum Questions

You have any any questions we should feel now yeah, we definitely do. So you guys in the room be thinking about your questions too if you have questions um so is there any particular reason used taps transient on delete over when you were doing this earlier over like the strip silence feature there is a reason and that's because I never use strip silence but let's go let's go let's go see what happens I actually it's it's not something I do often for some reason I don't and I don't know why that is I think I feel like maybe it's because strip silence is just sort of automatic um and I'm I I'm afraid of things that are automatic I liketo I generally prefer kind of like manual stuff more than automatics but let's see we'll see what happens if we do this section with strip silence so there's a there's a ton of like snare creeping through here but then also in this faster passage there's a bunch of like little snares that I would probably add it out manually so let's see how much of that s...

tuff strip silence gets where his trips I'll remember I forget who used protocols anybody any you guys e I never use it yeah and oh is it? Insert silence that they changed the name but I know you don't get cold you know they're strips aisle so guys, what happens? Oh there's a threshold this is cool I like never used this can we owe you need okay, so what does this what does this do oh, like that okay, and then okay, so there's some stuff to it um oh, you can create a pad before and after it let's lift let's let's drop this and paddle a little bit so that it's not like killing our residents and then strip yeah so I mean it didn't get everything they got a little bit of it so I guess that would be that would be an effective first step then you you'd want to go in, you know, in manly take a look at that stuff and you want to add fades here and then like, obviously like this section I didn't really get any of them um but, you know, maybe maybe in some in some instances it totally would, but I think you'd still have to do a bit of of manual stuff you know, you don't wanna have, you know, I'm constant, especially when I'm mixing other people's recordings. I'm constantly fighting digital digital clicks from sloppy editing um especially like dealing with like like if I'm if I'm mixing in pro tools and somebody tracked something in another dog some of the other dogs have like you know, auto region fade features where like, you know, you could just do at it's all willy nilly like this and not worry, you know you could you could cut into the middle of this kick if you wanted teo and on it would it would automatically let's say let's say the cuts here where you have you have, like, a very discontinuous way form. Um, a lot of dawes will handle that however, when they export the region's or when you like balance the regions they might not, it might not actually always handle that stuff. I'm not sure what happens, but I know that in a lot of cases, when I received tracks to mix from other people, I find clicks all over the place and I have to go in um, you know, like if if someone's kicked track looked like this, I'd have to go in with a pencil tool and, like, kind of re redraw the way form and make it so that it crosses your where the thing starts or I'd have to, you know, at at a little fade somewhere, but, you know, sometimes like in the middle of of tracks, I might get something that, like, you know, looks like that and it's all it's, all discontinuous and I need to, like, go in with my pencil and draw a nice curve so that it doesn't form a digital click s o so I think that, like even with strip science, you're going to need to go along and take a look at the track and do some some editing. I think I think housekeeping is really important when working with any recording, whether it be on tape or inside a computer and a lot of what I get to mix that other people recorded that are considered bad recording, sir, the tone of the instruments are all fine, but just the housekeeping is bad like someone's edited drums and there's like from sort of straight transience left behind or or there's those digital clicks that I just described like that stuff is really important that attention to detail and the sort of the way that in which you you clean your tracks is is important. I actually member one time I was dealing with rick according where like you know, everything was tracked fantastic. It was a good band to the singer had a great voice, but the singer didn't have a great sense of timing, so the engineer who tracked it had gone in and edited the vocal performances so that the singer would be more in time, however, the the engineer to sort of ignored all of the breaths between each line, so there was a bunch of kind of discontinuous breaths that happened and I had to because I didn't have access to the original track. I had to go in and remove a lot of his breathing in order to make the track sound like a natural, continuous performance, which is actually shame because his breathing was a big part of his character, actually, so I wish that, you know, with the housekeeping had been done a little bit better. They're mean, sometimes you're just dealing with things that are recorded really quickly and there's just not time for good housekeeping, and then it falls on whoever's mixing it. Tio, take care of that fact that after the fact, which is, I guess, the whole point of fixing in the mix um, are you working from the bottom up for demonstration purposes, or d ever embraced the vocal mike bleed is part of the drum sound in the mix with that? Yeah, I mean, some people I think in in, like, aggressive music, you typically tend to build a mix from the bottom up. Um, especially since we know that we're going to be doing some kind of clinical, um, really, finally, finally detailed work we want, you know, we want to work in soloed modes from the bottom up as we're doing that, however, we'll also spend a lot of time like listening to mix us a hole to get get perspective on it, make sure that nothing that we're doing as we're soloing individual tracks is is taking them too far, but you teo address that specific question. Yes, vocal mike bleed can be very beneficial in some cases in the case of, like a lead vocal, we're going to get to this later, but I'll just give you a little quick run down in case of a lead vocal will probably gonna get it all that stuff out between the lines. But in the case of backing vocal, especially in the case of recording like this, where there's on ly amano overhead for the drums, we can use that backing vocal to kind of get some of our room sound or some of the audience sound, so we're going to see if, you know, maybe maybe since since the backing vocalist stand mounted and in a fixed position that can be useful for us for for, you know, capturing the rest of the band. Would kurt recommend people too sick to decisions like bouncing the separate kick tracks together so that they don't get lost in the details? Question makes sense? Um, well, I think one of the things life is about recording and mixing in general is that as engineers were always one of our tasks is to manage a massive amount of minutia all the time, and, um, if you can make intelligent, informed decisions along the way, so that when you're as you're approaching the end of the process, you are you're you have fewer things in front of you to consider, then I think that you can make mohr informed decisions as the process goes on. So if you save every decision for the end, then it's really difficult to make any decisions, which is one of the reasons why I'm not a big fan of revamping and of, uh, drum sample replacement, because it it it means that the guitar sound and the drum sound has has not yet been finalized. So, like like one of recording a band, for example, like I get a drum sound and my drum sound will then kind of inform what I could do with my bass sound, and what I can do with what I do with my bass sound will inform what I could do with a guitar sound or vice versa, and as I'm building up a song, I'm I've already decided, like, you know, it's not mixed, but there's we have the basic tone of the guitar is there, and that sort of inspires the guitar overdubs in the vocals and all that stuff, so to make if you can make decisions about the guitar tone or if you could make a decision about the left and right kick tones and how their combined if you can make that decision early on then as you get deeper into the process and you're more concerned with things like you know the vocal or the guitar or whatever you don't you khun not that you're gonna put the kick totally out of your mind but you don't really have to worry about every little piece of minutia on the kicking you know you don't have to focus about on like, oh that one little kick is a bit too bright or things like that you can kind of just set that aside and your mind a bit and then focus on whatever the task at hand is they're so I like tio print things just so that I can move on with my life and, um, you know and kind of work on the next thing like imagine if in your life if you could if you could save every decision for the end like where you went to college, who you married or that all that stuff you know, like you mean it would be impossible you'd be paralyzed like every different possible outcome in the end, so I try to, like, try to make this as many decisions as I can along the way that's a great our phase problems caused by using different various plug ins and their differently and c times we shouldn't have to worry about plug in late and see because most dawes thes days have, um have compensation for leighton see and, you know, in in pro tools we have ah maybe it's not oh yeah, it it wouldn't know I mean mix window views yeah delay compensation let's let's let's turn it on so you know, it tells us like, down here how much land sea is on the plug ins and if it needs some delay compensation so that stuff should all line up, sometimes it fails and I've certainly had instances where I've had to move things manually and there's also some plug ins that just I have so much latent see to them that there's nothing you can do about it like the like pro tools isn't capable of handling it like, for example, the precision multi band which was kind of like my go to plug in multi man before I got fat filter that thing has like two seconds of latents here, something ridiculous you really only use it in the mastering environment, you wouldn't use it in combination where you would use it for a track that had ah fai's relationship with another track like up the way a sneer on an overhead do um there are some some actually that pro multi band speaking of that thing just fine oh yeah here's an instance of it there is like um we do have some phase options here and we also have look ahead to look ahead should not be on look ahead adds a bit of delay so that you can have, like infinitely fast attack times um we don't we don't want that on because that will impart a face phase change but also like, you know, works on the principle of phase shift so whenever we add additional gear you know, plug ins or hardware, we should always check to make sure that the judges at least checker polarity to make sure that whatever we dunn has not changed the polarity in a destructive way. So I'm doing that constantly throughout throughout my mix and as I was working on this at home I was I was checking clarity regularly when when you go into thie analog domain with these things, those kind of problems happen a lot more frequently because you know, you never know when you when your wiring up a studio you've got like thousands upon thousands of connections to sawyer and sometimes you make mistakes and sometimes you end up accidentally phase reversing a cable that you make and it works fine, you know, you tested a pass a single everything seems cool until you you know, say I have like two distress er's and one of them happens to be wired backwards and I put him on my overheads now all of a sudden like what used to be like a really phase coherent like mono snare is now like weird and hollow sounding in the middle so you know, I mean I should just rewire my gear but sometimes it's easier just to flip the polarity on on that side so yeah it's super important teo make sure things are combining in a constructive way as a and not fighting against any kind of phase shift awesome guys have any questions? Okay, grab the mike um one thing about about multi band compressors that I'm wondering if you I've found this like even just dealing with like stereo mixes, right? They sometimes the crossovers with different multi band compressors software multi band compressors especially sometimes the slope of the crossover will um will impart you get kanan part a certainly high end residence or something like that, you know, like our howell or something like that you ever find that you're working when you're working? I have to not just I've not noticed that I mean, this stuff that you do is like, I don't have you have you heard those howling you've mastered a ton of my recordings? Have you ever picked up on those on like a howling in my recordings a lot of times it's a lot of times it's something that I'll go so a lot of times it's if I'm using a multi band compressor, I'm creating another e q problem for myself by having a cross over in a spot that it's almost like a resident pick on a microphone or something you know what it's like right? You think like right at the crossover frequency you hear like a how and if you move that crossover frequency a bit, you can do that appears or you could try a dynamic or just a notch tech right after the multi band cop at the crossover frequency that's interesting yeah, it depends on the slope of the cross over in the design of the cross of the multi the fab filter malibu and you can adjust the slope so really I've never done that where where do I do that? Right there. Okay, yeah. Oh killer only so a steeper slope introduces you no more facing clarence whenever I've done like roll my own crossover stuff I've always done sixty be proctor the most gentle thing I found I found his sound the most natural and whenever I do that like tom trick that I was talking about earlier it's always sixty be proactive otherwise it feels like they just the two bands don't combine probably oh this is killer yeah, see, this is exactly why I love doing this and I want to like because I never like taking a class in pro tools or anything like that I just looking over other people's shoulders and see what they do and now I'm learning cool stuff, so I'm definitely gonna explore that. I've never really heard a residents there, but I guess what's the default is like twelve I call this where he's like infinitely, but you'll find that there's more there's certain frequency ranges that that are more prone to that don't find mid range um, you know, like three to four k, it can be really problematic and sometimes just shifting that cross over a little, so you'll use do you do you find that you're using, like a like a notch filter more often there or dynamic you more after their or I'll just move the cross over to a spot that you know doesn't interact back with with the guitars or the the symbols of the overheads? Do you feel like the fact that you're you're working mostly with program material where it was very complex sources coming in makes that stuff more noticeable or because actually doing this to individual track? Absolutely the thing that I think that you could run into with with individual tracks would be the delay that the slope of the crossover introduces or you know, all all the multi bands were designed differently yeah, you know the late and see like that someone mentioned and the processing power that just the processing power of a multi band yeah. What do you like for multi mans uh I really like the pro m b I still use the waves linear phase multi band okay, that one in them the precision yeah, one of one of those three I find the I like the way the u eighty precision sounds but the the gu is just so much better in pro and be that yeah, I tend to go for, you know, easy user experience. Um well, I was just gonna ask you something. What was it? Uh remember the judean juni hardware multi band? No, no, no, I tried it once with just, you know, just a cross over ok? And something I hated it. It was just it was just like I like rolling your own. Yeah, yeah, I have one of those drummer threesomes that's kind of cool. I used that once in a while, but I tend to use that more for like, special effects like all like, you know, flans the mids and distort the highs and compress the lows or like you can also like cross pan things which is kind of neat with that with the the three, some so, like, you know, like the save amid the mids, the panning is backwards. So if you pan something like left to right, like as you pan left to right, like the highs and lows go this way while the maids go that way, you could do some kind of cool, like psychedelic tricks with that thing.

Class Description

The best way to get a great recording is to start with great source material, but that’s not always possible. Occasionally you are stuck with a less-than-perfect recording and the only thing you can do is to try and clean it up. 

Lucky for you, there are reliable techniques for restoring poorly recorded audio, and Kurt Ballou will teach you everything you need to know in Fix it in the Mix. 

While replacing drums with samples and reamping guitars are often effective ways to rebuild a sub-par recording, they are time-consuming and can diminish the uniqueness of the original recording. 

Fix it in the Mix will explore organic approaches to recovering and enhancing the natural tones from the original performances. Kurt will use recordings from real-world scenarios and walk you through, in detail, the audio restoration process. 

In Fix it in the Mix, Kurt will show you how to think outside of the box to come up with creative solutions to audio restoration problems every engineer has faced. 



An absolutely fantastic course for anyone who is new (or even experienced) on how to use very innovative techniques to help bring some life to an otherwise poorly recorded demo. Thank you Kurt!


another fantastic course in the creative live audio section, kurt kills it,!! thank you!

Ashton Thebault

Definitely some handy tips in here that are useful for mixing live music, poorly recorded tracks and anything else that couldn't be rectified during recording. Kurt gave some tips I had never thought of and there were some valuable insights that came out from his discussions with people in the room. Very valuable if you deal with any sub-standard recordings and if you just want to get some tips.