Common Plugin Mistakes


Fundamentals of Mixing Rock and EDM


Lesson Info

Common Plugin Mistakes

Like the internet mean goes, you're probably doing some of these things wrong you're that fox with his head inside the ice that we see all over read it the sections a list of common mistakes that I see in the mix is I get at my studio whether it's assistant my assistant to interns to may the people I master for I often call them up and I say, hey, there's a problem the symbols have you tried this this and this? I see tons of it common ailments I made a list of those we have twenty of them identified for today we're going to try to get through all of them today. I don't want you to think of this as old man jesse lecturing you, I made all these mistakes and I wish somebody told them to me in the past fifteen years I've learned from these and I don't do them anymore there's probably still someone even making today and I'm gonna work from those bombing to try to save you fifteen years of my mistakes in the next three days. So the first thing we're going to talk about is your putting plug i...

ns in the wrong order so we've all had that thing where we're trying to get something to sound good that just doesn't sound the way we tracked it, our sound good, the way we tracked it and one of the things you couldn't run into is that you're just not getting that sound no are what a lot of time is this is because you're fighting against what you did in your plug in order, so the first thing I'm going to go over is that the concept of what you should be fixing first. So in general compressors gates, any of the dynamics modifications onto distortions, river bs delays all work better if you get rid of any of the high or low information you don't need. So high pass filter base is so much harder. Tio get toe work right in a compressor if there's too much bass there, you will hear compressor working way mme or if you dont high pass filter at first. So what I like to do before I do anything in the mix is or on a particular track, I want a high pass, filter it and get rid of any low, and I don't want to deal with, so I don't have to go through this. This also goes for when you're getting something, so if you're getting the top anything from a tom to a vocal, you're gonna want toe, make sure that you got rid of all this information, so it doesn't have to work against you. You know if you're getting rid of the kick drum and your stare mike with a high pass filter and the kick drum or the toms or sometimes triggering getting rid of those low frequency since the snares a higher frequency usually is going to make the gate work easier you're also not going to hear is much compression. Um the next thing you're going to want to do is you're gonna want to do any modifications or dynamic fixes that you need to do to the character. So for example, if you need a d s a vocal, you want to do that next before you put a compressor on a vocal before you put a reverb on the vocal, nothing sounds worse in a reverb than an s going through it that bull general be when you first start out mixing, you'll hear that as to the reverb and you'll go my reverb sounds terrible I'm just going to turn it down in my mixed though I can't hear it anymore. D s ng gating well, all fix that one of the plug ins I have in there that I talk about his deaver being spl makes this wonderful plug and we're going to go over a bunch in the next three days called the transient designer that can actually get rid of some of the room tone like you probably hear in my voice right now the slight amount of echo that comes in this room or not, echo reverb, if we put that plug it on you would just I would sound like I'm in a sterile cold room, like when you hear a normal voice over, I think this sounds very pleasant for this type of class, but that's, what that plug in does, but the reason you want to do this is if you compress and distort, you have less dynamic range toe work with, so if you have a less dynamic range, it's harder for your gait or your dsr to decipher that those frequencies and get rid of them when you're working to get out of problem frequency, if that problem frequency is jumping up really loud, it's, way easier when you're compressing a distorting, you're cutting off that frequency so it's harder to do so, you always want to have those before you do anything else to the signal that modifies its dynamics. So the other thing I would ask you is to is that if you're going to clip compressor, saturate, or do you want to actually compress it? So we're going to go over this a lot, maura way later in the class, but the idea here is that after you're done with those three things before you get, start sending your signal in tow any river bs or delays you want to make this decision that if you're going to compress you want to make sure that the volume is going to be in the steady place that you want it to be so that that way you're reverb isn't too dynamic your delays into dynamic and then you're not having to do vote rides or thinking you need to compress your delay your fighting that it's not sticking out in the mix as much as you'd like taking care of those dynamics in advance will make it so you have a much better tone. One of the things I will also get into a little bit later is that you'll see the big big mixing guys they always talk about driving the wine and puts on the rest of cell that's the same thing you're not we're not talking about compressing here we're talking about the idea that you're getting your dynamics in order so that you're able to make the sound proper before it's in the river been delay. So the last thing I will say is that big cart ahead together is that your time based and modulation style plug ins will usually come last you want to make things sound good before going in them so like I said, the s is sound terrible on re verbs one of the most common techniques that if you've watched any interviews or videos on the internet about dealing with drum reverb is that you'll see that usually the big mixers send samples not live drums into the river because usually the samples have their dynamics more controlled the sound doesn't have as much bleed because they've pre gated this will create a much better sound in your river bs so if we can go over teo the pro tools now I'm going to show some examples of this so in this session here um the first thing we have is a kick drum and as you can see I'm taking care of the kick drum with a gate on this gate two very white gate but when you can also see here is that I'm getting out some of the low end so that's why the queue is in first we also have our friends or I'll go here next is that the next thing I'm doing is I'm dealing with the bottom end this is the high pass filter I talked about so that any of the compression I'm doing later is it gonna have toe work is hard against those frequencies after that we have in spl transient designer which is what I just discussed so since we're going to talk a lot about this plug in one of the better modern plug ins I might as well give a good introduction to this the transient designer is exactly what says your transient is the first part of the signal that comes in and you know, basically the first initial hit of the drum is what we consider a transient that are the hard close of a lot of p or an s in a vocal those will be that the transit designer allows you to harden or soften that sound I will play around with this a little bit for any of you are not filling familiar with it so you could see how great this is so on this kick truck and it looks like I'm in solo on more than not so we fixed that that's playing around with the attack me do a little bit more of that as you can hear that there's quite a lot this is the sustained which is the later part of the sound as you could hear that kind of almost acts like a gate as well oftentimes this one can be switched between the two and you could do it above the sustain is much like the sound of the gauges as you could hear when I turn this sustain up we got a lot more of the bleed, but the big thing the notices is that the next thing I do after that is modify it with distortion so on this track what I'm basically trying to do it is after I tweaked the transient designer I then distorted so that basically I'm controlling that if the transit designer brings out too much attack or I want to bring out more the sustained I also want to flatten out that sustain and have this affected instead of having it not catch anything that comes up above the threshold of this distortion I'm so the last thing you'll see in this chain in the auc's is that it goes to a knox and then there's a drum sub of compression so I'm doing both distortion and compression on this but I controlled all of this before so the compressor wouldn't have to work so as you so I got rid of some of the bottom end I did the gating because the signal needed the gating I did the transient designing because it needed that so this had anything that's in your oxygen's comes after that and makes the job of this compressed bus compressor like you know we all hear how you have two parallel compress one of the biggest things we'll see is in this class is that we're pretty much always parallel compressing a lot of things because that is a lot of the modern sound of music today this goes through the compressor last because basically it would make our job a lot harder if we did it any other way so the other example of this that I can show is that also on our ox is we have river printed last going last these two are both different river bs I have in this mix and since the auc's is air always after the plug ins as you could see in this tom track that I'm pointing out here I distort first and that's the only modification I'm doing this because this is a sample from sleep and it already sounded great q wise um the distortion happens to control it either that the transients and dynamics and then after that I go into the compression in the two river bs I have it sent to um so that's basically mainly the plug in order thing I'm talking about but basically a lot of this is is it makes your life a lot easier if you weren't just thes three simple rules of putting these plug ins in order um is there any questions about that so far so reaction and had asked who is from dubai so what? Well by very cool said I noticed that jesse has both a headphone and speakers which one preferred for mixing and mastering uh well uh speakers for working um I will do all my work I brought with me out here pair of genelec ten thirty's which is what I work on all day I have a spare set so we shipped him out here because I will actually be mixing songs in the class and I don't wantto be making decisions that I'm even more unfamiliar with obviously I'm not familiar with this room as much as I am but the's speakers or what my relationship was with and we're going to talk about this a lot later but I used my headphones anytime I get confused I have my headphones I take a walk I listen and since I listen to the majority of my music while walking around the city on headphones if I hear something on headphones I hear it's wrong I trust that very greatly but I don't pretty much ever work off of headphones unless I'm feeling very confused and like I need a drastic new perspective all right? We have a question from my my dad who said what other plug ins what other plug ins do you know of that are similar to to the distortion plugging that you're using? Uh well, so we're going to use a bunch of different distortions in this class so that's the stock pro tools distortion plugging but but I also use fad filter saturn bx saturation is really fantastic. The slate tape machine plugin is great and weaves just came out with a many american I think is how you say his last name distortion many m distortion that calling the computer I'm gonna be safe with that one but all of those air really, really fantastic anything else we've got a few questions about like what do you think about this plug in? What do you think about that italian can you kind of may I know you're going to cover, you know, some some of your opinions on very specific brilliance through the class book, can you maybe touch on that topic? I believe that you can get the spl transient designer for q base on nearly positive of that, and yeah, I absolutely love everything slate does, I don't think they're always the right tool for everything, but in general, I think all their plug ins and all their drum samples are really great tools as well. Is there used in moderation just like anything else, you know e guess what I'm where I'm trying to lead you is, you know, maybe talk about, like, what you touched on before about, you know, kind of the importance of keeping your program material and the goals of your specific, you know what? What you think about a plug in is one thing, but what about so I think that the main thing we should try to impress is that it's not about which particular plug in like, you know, alan doctors who I weren't from who will probably be quoting throughout this course, and if you watch creative life courses he's like thea plato of quotations in the audio world. He's always being brought up has a great saying called pick a format and get to work. I think one of the main things we want to do in this class and I want to get everybody's mind off of is that you shouldn't be sitting in obsessing over and drooling over all day that you need this piece of gear in order to make this out nearly every plug in and you know there are some exceptions there are some terrible plug ins that air have bad math in them, but like most plug ins, these days sound really good and if you know them really well you khun get great tones out of him some khun make it easy for you when you don't know what you're doing, but if you really listen and explore these like an instrument just like learning where two front on the guitar and had that picking with the edge of the pick instead of straight on with the pick sounds different when you're learning guitar or getting your ghosts notes down in the drums it's the same thing is learning how to explore different compressors. I think it's a really imperative that you don't get obsessed with that? Yes, I'm using that one you know flux, for example, makes a free transient designer called bitter sweet and while you're like, oh it's free it can't be as good as uh the tread spl transit decider I before us feel transient designer had ah plug in version of it I was using that flux bittersweet forever and it works amazing and I still use they have a slight version of it in the alchemist that sounds great question. So I'm kind of curious where you actually find plug ins who you talked to I mean, you're obviously well entrenched and in the industry, but for somebody who may just be starting and mastering where what it would great resource is it would be for I'm plug ins I think a great thing to do is obviously every program comes with decent enough stock bargains. I really like the reddit audio engineering for him I think has a fed task to community right now there's some communities on the internet that have been poisoned by trolls who shut down every beginner there's a form called pence oddo's students on facebook that are passionate audio students that are I I'm happy it's very rare I go on facebook I say, well, I'm really happy to see what's happening here and when I go on pence otto's students I'm actually very happy to see that if you look through that stuff and see what people are talking about and then you know what's great about politics these days is you condemn o play with and decide what you want to buy I think that that's the best way I am very much ones, people. I when I see somebody I respect, or something that looks cool or catching youtube, that it looks cool, I just sit in play with something on a mix, and then I decide. I mean, I might have a little bit more disposable income than the average person with this, but, you know, I play with it. I decide with what, what I want to buy and there's a nice bragg there, by the way. Oh, yeah, well, you know, I try anyway, um, I think that there is that watching the forums, I mean, there really is a thing there's so much coming out every day and there's so much an expensive stuff that it's really easy to find this stuff, and I really do think it's about just not about obsession. Find one or two that work and get to work.

Class Description

While it’s easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest gear, plugins, and flashy tricks, the real key to a great mix is mastering the fundamentals. In this online class, veteran producer/engineer/mixer Jesse Cannon (The Cure, Animal Collective, Senses Fail) shows you all the essentials of mixing rock and electronic music.

In this 3-day class, you’ll learn how to set up a session the RIGHT way — including routing, gain structure, listening techniques, and other best practices. He’ll show you how to mix vocals, bass, drums, guitars, and synths. You’ll also learn how to use compression, reverb and EQ to make your mix come together, while achieving the punch and separation that takes it from good to great. The class is taught with Pro Tools, but the concepts easily translate to any DAW.

Whether you’re new to mixing, or are a seasoned pro looking for a refresher on the basics, this class will teach you how to seamlessly merge individual sounds into polished, cohesive tracks.