EQ and Compression Mistakes


Fundamentals of Mixing Rock and EDM


Lesson Info

EQ and Compression Mistakes

The other thing I'm going to try to impress is that you're trying to fix things with the trying to fix things that you can't fix with the q and a compression where you should be doing something else and a different technique to do it. A lot of times in the mix you're going to throughout your life, be trying to fix something with the q or compressed something, and you notice that you've been working on this kick drum for forty five minutes. If you've been working on your kick drum for forty five minutes, I'm gonna usually say that when it's time to do is get a different kick drum or think about this differently. So the biggest problem I have in my head a z younger mixer, is that, like, before I was getting the tones I want to get like I get today is that I would, for example, put on jimmy world bleed american and say, I'm going to make this record sound some like this, and the fact of the matter is while that kick drum is played amazing by one of the best drummers in the business and tu...

ne perfectly and recorded in one of the best drum rooms in america, I was doing drums in a room that was a lot like this on really not great gear. There is a big thing with that if you've been working on a sound too long that you need to sometimes say what I'm going for here is never going to happen, and I have to then think about a new reference for this, so the first thing I will say is that if you've been working on a sound too long, it may be time to stop thinking about this is the sound I have in my head and start thinking about is there another good sound that this could sell it? I think for every type of sound there's one that is good that you can find it just may not have been the one you chose in your head. So for example, to keep going with this jimmy worldwide american thing is I eventually then had to say, you know, maybe it needs to be a little bit more of a spotty kick drum like fars, water and solutions or some other obscure record with the kick isn't as deep and figure out how to mix that properly in a song and then keep striving for my goal on the next record. So another clear him that you're doing this wrong is twenty p v q could be totally cool when you've mastered the art of the cube like there will be times in this course you open up on you say that's twelve tv of base on that sound, jesse and it's because I was repairing something that I knew was broken because I know he sounds well, but if you're just starting out and even if you're getting towards intermediate at mixing twenty b v q is usually include that either one you have the wrongs sound in your head or to that, and you always say twenty two b v q I should clarify that this is q middle of e q. So I'm not saying that it's just one twenty d b boost, you know, a lot of the accused that we're going to see throughout these sessions, you know, there's not six, the ten debevec going on a lot, a lot of the moves when you're getting sounds right, you're mixing are very small moves that you'll see on everybody's makes ensure there are exceptions of when you need to repair something or get something to really move in the mix, but if you're regularly doing this, it means that you're probably going to reevaluate how you're mixing what your objectives are mixing and try something a little bit more subtle, maybe trying to get your balance a little bit better beforehand, you know, one of the things I think they're good offshoot his discussions, you'll see a lot of the big mixing guys, if you've read interviews with them, they talk about how many times they throw the favors down and start the mix over now, when they say through the failures down there also neglecting another detail that's not as fun to say is they also then turn off the cues and hit zero on those again, too. It basically means a lot of time you're trying too hard for something it's time to reevaluate. I'm one of the things we're going to talk about later is objectivity and how sometimes you need to reference other material. Sometimes you're not getting the right idea for this mix that it's time to try a different goal for your mix. So what I'm kind of try to say here is twenty b forty five minutes of dialing tone, it might be time to rethink what you're doing, like I say here most of the times that means there's a problem. So what do we do about these problems? So while this class is called the fundamentals, mixing what I'm about to talk about is a different type of fundamental ah, fundamental is the lowest frequency where a note starts in the spectrum, so for example, on e on a guitar is eighty hurts andi every time you know it's going to be eighty hurts so one of the big things like so it grabs was talking about how he goes for the big base in dance music and that's a really, really important part of it so one of the biggest mistakes I constantly see in especially mixing medium but rock as well is that you're going for this big big sound but what you're neglecting about that big sound is that the note that you're kick drum or your bases hitting is actually not low enough to give you that big sound you want you're actually trying to seek you in a note that's not there instead of a frequency that's not there so what I often try to explain everybody is that so if you want that big low punchy kick sound, you have to tune that bass drum well a lot of time when you're struggling in a medium song life's pretty easy because if your drums or inmate midi and you're going you know I'm just not getting that base it might be time to turn to a kick drum that's just lower and bigger sometimes it's not even the low sometimes you know I use this example does everybody wants big but sometimes it's even the thing of that you know, you need to go higher with the picture, but the thing I'm trying to be so this point here is that if you're doing this twenty d b v q uh, something maybe it's time to re voice it and put it to something else. If you're doing live drums, the nice thing you could have is that you could put it in a sample under kick drum, for example, so that sample could then be a kick drum that was lower than yours, and that might be able to give you that. Whoa, that you need it. One of the first things to consider is that the idea that you did not get this frequency right in this fundamental right when you did this the same thing I see happening while the time is up and a lot of arrangements, the ban will be like, oh, we want the course to be bigger it's like, well, if you want the course to be bigger, why was your basis playing on the a string in the verse? And then he went to the g string. The thinner, whiter string in the chorus he should have went to the east rig might be time to retract your arrangement. One of the things we'll also get into in this course is that, you know, while mixing should be a time for just mixing, you shouldn't be afraid to retract, especially when you're first learning it, so the last clue is that ten d b of compression on most instruments is usually a clue you didn't track it right? We all hear the myths of that, you know, chris ward alge is compressing everything by ten twenty d b to get that big, huge sound you hear on america an idiot, our green day's american idiot or whatever one of his records that everybody's obsessing about these days that's chris, lord alge, is the exception, not the rule. You don't need to be compressing everything by tend to be especially guitars, especially most drums, and if you are that's probably a clue, you're not achieving this big sounds or something else you're phase might be off if you see this teddy b of compression, the first thing I want you to do is having a warm go off in your head that you should look at other things, whether it's one the phase of things to maybe you need to ride feeders three maybe you needed to track this with morgaine, maybe you needed to distort it. Something isn't right here. So with that, um I kind of went over this that the first thing is that they go of is is there a way you retract the composition of this? Do you have the bass player while we're nowhere you need it? One of that so this tip, the turning your master up and your gain down vice versa? This is what I mean for guitars. So a lot of the time, with guitars, you're sitting there, you're tweaking this guitar here to do it. But the big problem is, is that you're listening to a guitar that was tracked with a totally different type of gain and your reference ignited, you're going, I wish my guitar sounded like lead american. Well, you had your master at one and the gain at eleven, and they had the game at three and the master at ted, you're trying to dial in that sound and that's never going to happen in a million years, you need to track the guitar different you're trying to compress with that. You should get a clue that cause you're doing all that compression. You probably need to retract that qatar to get the sound you want. The last tip I have here is that, like I said, before, you want a big trump sound, you want those load drugs you need to tune lower. If you're really striving for that thunderous tom, you can't be chewing that thomas high. As it goes with as much attention as possible, you need to get the drummer to tune it down lower, um so that's the end of that is the ready questions s so far on that absolutely yeah, we have what might be my favorite question of all time great seriously from jake fifth ah is it possible to create a great mix using minimal plug ins? One of the things I think you're going to see in this class is I'm not using you know it's funny because like the computer overloads a times but I'm really not using a lot of plug ins I'm using a lot of high quality plug ins which put a strain on the computer but yes on a lot of these tracks I'm doing very I'm doing much less and if there's anything I've seen with the mixers I respect when I've been in the room with, um is that yeah, there I know there's this myth of that like you're doing all this stuff, but you know what? One of the great examples I'd like to talk about is like nigel godrich talks about mixing radiohead's ok computer, which you know, for every musician nerd is the holy grail there's no mixing that record that took more than two and a half hours there's no automation on the mixing board that he mixed it with if you're tracking things right and you know what you're looking for in the tracking yes it's absolutely possible to do it now I will also say this if you're not using the best gear, you don't know what you're listening for, you're going to probably do this, but I would argue this that trying to practice I'm doing minimal stuff and seeing how good you can get your mix is much better than, you know, while there's ten slots of plug ins on pro tools, that doesn't mean that because you're supposed to use all ten slots every time, you know, just does it example, one of my favorite guitar sounds of all time, which is three ghost insides last record. Yeah, that sounds great. Yeah, no e q on that. Yeah, straight out of the board, I'm to be honest with you, I think that that's one of the other things to remember is that a lot of times, um, we're going to talk a lot about, like, your goals and mixing and a lot of times, like one of the things that you could set apart as a goal is when you first rough mixes song, you could go wow that qatar really sounds great while I build the whole mix around that guitar and actually make everything fit around that, and you can do that a lot like there's a lot of times that I come in and I open, especially like dance music files like that's sexual harassment track I played in there those guys did such a great job with those drums I said, you know I'm really barely touch these drums and then kind of like you everything and balance everything around those drums because they sounded so good just on the rough mix and I think that that is a great philosophy that you could do and but you know, I am also going to say this that's uh if you're just tracking through ah very low end interface yes you're probably gonna have to do a lot of work you're gonna have to do everything from compression uh multi bad expand should and multi bed compression to get some stuff to work your question I'm kind of wondering what what you say you're talking about getting it right before I mean you're tracking and then touching it minimally what kind of things can you not really here while you're tracking that you wouldn't necessarily hear while you're listening to your monitors later after the fact what it's like the biggest thing that would come up that you wouldn't you would miss when you were tracking that's? Well, some of us interesting is there's a lot of old school producers who would you know, even aim tohave almost like a flat board with us, so technically nothing like you know, honestly, honestly, I do a lot of garage records of my friend is a producer did respond and we really able we do those records to just the rough mix we have a pro tools with no nothing on it is kind of quite close to the mix we want to get like I gained the mic pries to get everything and you know it could be a pain later when the band doesn't like it but like you don't have to do anything like you can commit your whole way through tracking once you know what sounds you're going for, I wouldn't and you know, I know for most of anybody I know who does minimal mixing you're not going to usually commit your river bs I mean, you might commit a reverb on a guitar or said or something, but drum reverb, you don't really want to print the plate to the snare but like I mean at the same time you could print it to a separate track while it goes down. I don't think there's anything you have to necessarily avoid like, you know, I really strive with my guitar terms like just like finn was talking about that, I think that goes inside record sounds great and andrew did a great job on it I strive to not have to process my guitars a lot of the time and what you'll see in these mixes as we go through the guitars tomorrow is that like almost every mix in here that I of the ones I tracked there's no blend between the two am sidetracked to absolute every guitar because I usually get that blend and that blood is exactly what I want and I really strive to get that from the get go I think that you know while we're talking about mixing you know it's very important to say that there's a lot of work and thought that goes into tracking well that's kind of an ah ha moment for me though I always thought well if I'm not if I'm not touching it that means I'm maybe not I'm too much of a novice maybe I'm not maybe I'm not doing enough to it and maybe it's not sounding right but I'm thinking it sounds right but having it be ok before you touch it is is a good thing and I got as for me I always thought that that was wrong and like you have to touch it you have to do at least something to it yeah, you don't have to do at least something to it there's there's a couple tracks even all the examples will do where there's just blank there's you know three guys did such a great job tracking it that I want you know this the base is already right I don't need the high passenger I don't need to add any more distortion they hit this right and I will say this that yes, most things you're going to do are going to need to be processed about saying like you know don't don't do anything but I can remember when I was younger I would and mixing on a console like I would really strive hard especially also pro tools was so bad what I started with pro tools that you really like putting any kuan it was like a bad thing is usually cuba is going to make it sound worse unless you really needed to fix it so you really want to fix it with a balance so you learn to find these mineral things and really how to track it like properly from the get go and really fight for that but I will say this that especially like you're tracking electronic stuff that so much of this since these days are pre cute and you have reverb on them and have these things that a lot of times you can let these things fire you know if you're like everybody else in the world who was using vengeance samples for your drums those things sound fantastic like right out of the box and maybe you need to put a high pass filter on a little bit more six k or some compression if you wanted to move in a certain way with the track but a lot of the stuff congar go untouched without anything if you're choosing the right stuff that's that's a load off my night I agree it's the nature of any musician there they want to overthink it toe to death basically that that might be some of the d program and we have to do today to is that you know, a lot of this stuff is we all read like I often joke that whether it's music, business stuff or recording stuff that I was so brainwashed by reading too many interviews over the years that I catalogued all these things like, you know, in order to be a great musician, you had to do these things that actual rose did that I read when I was twelve and some of this is that, you know, there's a different path, you have to just find what it is and if the trust what your ears here in the emotional response you get from your ears and the less we think about it, the more we feel often the music comes together like it never ceases to amaze me how many guys I know who are really great music you don't ever intellectualize and put a lot of logic into it they're just reacting to what they hear the speakers, they have no clue what they're doing and there's something really to be said for that but there's also sort of be said for when they get in a jam and they're putting that d s sir after ten d b of compression they're making their life harder so that's what I'm trying to do for everybody is that yes, you should feel the music but that no some logic so that when you hit a pitfall you have a rope to get out of that pit we have anything also other yeah let's do one more before we move right? Okay, this is from bess if who said when you say tune your drums do you mean pit shift if you are both so tuning your drums means if you were in a live drum set every note if you watch ya levi's fantastic class on advanced from production that was on two weeks ago they talked a lot about this that every drum is actually a pitch I know that when you're in music theory class in high school they tell you drums right non pitched instrument um but that is not actually correct like if you buy dw drums they actually have the note that you're supposed to tune them too um for their optimal sound. So what I'm saying is this is that a kick drum for example if the drummer comes in and he has a tune really tight cause he likes that first double bass but you want a will wear sound you have to tune that lower if you're doing dance music would say you're in battery re or machine you can go into to the pitch. And actually, what were the note that that sample is that? Or just find a kick that hits a different pitch? One of the more interesting things like, you know, I remember the first time I heard radio has idiotic off of ah today is that all the drums are in the key of the song as well. And so there really is a thing of that. I think a lot of time people are trying to eke you that when they should really be playing with the pitch and playing with the tune or finding another sample to go under it that does hit that note, then using your natural kick drum for some of the natural this, and we're going to go over that a cz well, tomorrow, but it's so depending on rock, iridium or I mean, I guess technically to since in rock music a lot of time, we're now using easy drummer and slate you khun to knows drums within the samplers as well is that you could lower the pitch or raise the pitch, as you'd like. So that's what I mean by tuning drums.

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.