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Fix It In The Mix

Lesson 13 of 17

Master Bus Techniques

Kurt Ballou

Fix It In The Mix

Kurt Ballou

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Lesson Info

13. Master Bus Techniques

Lesson Info

Master Bus Techniques

A bit sort of out of context of this class but I did do a bit of master bus processing as I was listening to these tracks and how they fit into the mix is a hole so it's kind of well first just sort of bring up the video I'm gonna bypass the stuff I have on the master and bring up the video again and just kind of watch the song and see how the whole thing's feeling oh my something about my sneer is getting a little pokey just goingto for now I think it's gonna turn down this near a little bit but as I wasn't back to this I think I'm a toggle between the unmixed and my mix um just to make sure that what I'm doing is actually constructive wait wait so to me what I'm what I'm doing which is I think I hope is obvious was the bigger, wider, deeper sounding version it feels more like what I know a show like this to feel like then the one that's kind of on mixed that feels sort of very direct so to further refine that let's just put a throw a couple things on the master bus again tried and tr...

ue filter pro multi band will help kind of just add a bit of class to the overall mix let's hear that actually we go back to the fast part I think we can learn more there you know so it's pretty subtle but I think it's helpful and then finally um well I think I turned down a little bit now just adding adding a final instance of maxim just because I don't I have a feeling these guys won't be mastering this so I just wanted to kind of bring up the level of hair and not knock a couple a couple of the peaks down just to just to make it a bit more listenable but this is not not exactly precision mastering work that way all right? So um you know that song is basically done um so I think we can actually move on um and I wantto wantto work on another project for a few minutes this we're not going to do quite is extensive of a of a run down on this other project but we're focused on the kicking sand which I think have a couple issues so before we dive into that and any the frost town questions or should we just just move on? How about how are how do you go about getting rid of harshness and guitars but not destroying their aggressiveness? I find if I cut the two to three k area they can start to sound blanket id quickly yeah, totally I mean the mid range is like I mean I guess everything's hard to get right the mid I think mid range is particularly hard to get right um and I obsess over guitar tones for hours upon hours upon hours and I'm never happy so I think probably everybody's in that boat, you know I'd say anywhere from, like, you know, one point two k all the way up to, like, four point five cake can be really problematic areas in guitar, um and there's not on easy answer of, like, always do this always do that, you know, one of the things that I that I just mentioned can be useful, which is using, like a d s, sir or multi band compressor in in the range that you're finding to be harsh if you kind of flatten out that range a bit and then, um and then restore its level, sometimes that can feel that smoother and class here in other cases it's like pulling out of saturate our like, decapitate er or sound toys radiator, for example, just finding a way to, like, soften those those dynamics a bit and other cases it's like one of one of the reasons why I really like that fab filter pro que tu is the integrated are real time analyzer, you say have that like spectrograph and you can, um, actually pull it up real quick, you can even, uh, not it there it is, um you going to use this track for now so we can talk but as yes so as you're doing as you kind of like mouse over this thing and it'll it'll pause on you so if you know if you feel like you have some problems at a certain frequency, you could do that and then kind of grab that frequency and not shoot out and then see how it sounds uh and that could be it could be really helpful it might it might not be that you have um you might just have a really small, narrow problem somewhere in that too k two three k range that if you are able to identify specifically what frequency it is and not shut out, it might make the whole thing sound better and also something I do a lot with the bottom end but can also be useful at the top is if you remove a bunch of off one frequency maybe boost on adjacent frequency band just so that like, you know, like if removing two three k makes the guitar sound really dull really quickly maybe you want to boost some four to six k to kind of compensate for that dullness maybe it just needs maybe the brightness needs to appear in a different frequency spectrum and and also kind of pay attention to what else is going on with the other instruments as well and if if you know, maybe if you need to cut some two, three k in your guitar, maybe you should be boosting that stuff and vocals or bass, or or room mikes or something in order to kind of compensate. So the overall mix has a has a balance reef, nc spectrum. But, yeah, I mean that's. That question is the obsession of mixing a song.

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.