Inside EDM Mixes Part 1


Fundamentals of Mixing Rock and EDM


Lesson Info

Inside EDM Mixes Part 1

I guess the first thing we should talk about is prepping medium files is, I think, a little different than propping rock files because I think so much of, you know, there's a big thing with medium that synthesizers and all of the samples everybody uses today is our so already overly processed, especially if you're using vengeance samples over the place, a massive any of the cool, soft sense there I have so much reverb, compression delay, all the stuff I feel like the biggest thing I see when I get media mex these days is that if I open up the file somebody's processing on top of tons and tons of processing, I think we have to remember that while there can be exceptions and when you're using some of the more minimal sense that a lot of the time there is so much processing already on that you don't need to put ten d b of compression to get that sense that you don't need to multi band compress that since tow absolute death that if anything, if you're using, you know, like I just mentioned...

massive silence, uh, the rest will come to me that there's already so processed atmosphere, that's, one's really process, too, that you don't need to go too crazy with this stuff. A lot of the time I'm just thinking about where I need to set my high pass a little bill passed filter just to start why prep I obviously think about the stereo trick that we are discussed yesterday is this track really stereo we're going to get into that after the lunch break I'm going to show that trick again one last time because it's important it at home andi I'm just thinking about what character doesn't need to have done the one thing I will say about a lot of sense is that because of the filters you know sometimes it is that we've closed the filter enough to get it to be the right character but then it needs eight d p of trouble in one of the things we talked about is that like twenty deby of cute little vic you since khun b a little bit more of different ballgame on some of that stuff and I think that there is times that you know you have some of these sense that like in order to get it to have some air still because the filter was so close that twenty b can be the exception that rule but yet again it is not the rule if you're normally putting twenty b v two cumulatively on it that's like your normal thing in the mix that's probably something you don't need to be doing um the other thing I'm gonna caution is that you don't want to go crazy on solo when you're first starting mix as you develop standards and you know what things sound like in solo hit that soul, but all night and day you'll see me doing in the next segment, but I've been doing this a really long time I've been making tedium and been a dance producer since nineteen ninety six I got my per sample and started doing it, so in those last eighteen years I've really you know, I know what something sounds like and what I wanted to sound like. So with that I also wanted to link this one more time. We talked about the standards in the last thing color nothing dot com shop has some stems if you want to get to yet your standards to go and the first thing I'm gonna talk about is my buddies streets on fire this is one of their songs called find love off their upcoming album it might not be this song might not come out under that name, but their production crew called streets on fire out of virginia beach there amazing at what they do if you could find them on facebook dot com dash streets on fire and I'm going to open up this mix and start showing you some concepts that I normally use so one of the first things that we didn't get into that's really good for when you are mixing somebody else's material is the reference mixed track, so I often want to have a mix of what somebody already did just there for me now, I may not listen to this before I do my mix, but at some point before I print the mix, I want to listen to their mics and make sure they did nothing really cool that I'm missing, and I want to listen to make sure I'm not missing any files that they may have said a lot of the time why won't listen to it when I first start the song is I want to give a fresh perspective, I don't want to hear what they did because they want me to give a fresh perspective. I don't want to ruin that objectivity, so I'll listen after I'm pretty happy with my balance I'll see if they have any better ideas I'll see if there's files missing and I'll see if in general, if there was a better vibe or anything that I could get better from their mix, so the way I do that in pro tools is what you can see here all the way to the left is a track called reference mix, so what I'm mixing on pro tools, I'm putting everything in the box out of output a one two, but on this you could see it's on output three and four so if we go teo, then you're monitoring station, you usually have two inputs on your monitoring station. I put the reference mix on what one of the inputs and then my main mix on my main one, so I'm able to do this susan's falling along and she's putting her hands high like the song says, so basically I can hear their perspective as you could hear, that reference mix was just a bounce down of what they did tracking no weak you, but you could hear its way base here than mine. And maybe I I would find out that I wanted something a little bit more basic by hearing that doing that insurers, you get the best of your mix, and it also ensures that you don't make it idiot into your suffered for over the clients I highly encourage doing that, so you could maybe with that let's get into some more specific stuff. So as I was just talking about, if we look at the drums, so the drums go from here to here, you can really see I'm doing some really, really minimal stuff to the drums. In fact, I'm going to move the last thing I'm doing over here so we can get a nice, clear picture of it, so as you could see there's really just a e q on most of these that tracks this is because these drums came to me sounding fantastic and they're really compressed sounds as it is now. I do have a parallel compressor going yet again. This is pretty common for my mixes and the one thing I will say that's a little bit different than the peril compression when we were doing the live drums is what can often mess up the compression in the way the compressions pumping on a live drum track is the symbols, because symbols of a lot of bleed and it's just not as much clarity and could get real rowdy ifyou're compressed thing, and it just doesn't have the same frequency spin. But on this track on going make a solo, the drums I have a percussion track going that compose because it just needed some glue to make that compression and groove on this move, we get to a part where we have consistently so you could see what I mean. So the track of percussion that I have going into this drum sub, I'm going to show it to you. It sounds like without that sub now. It just needed some life and I fat like when I heard it I wanted to pump the way the drums were pumping on that I want the accents to come out and you can really hear that it like almost accents on those quarter notes and I think that's just something you develop over time but yet again like we get back to that thing that there's no real rules to the stuff it's just like there's common occurrences in my cot most common occurrences that yes the drums air just in my drum compressor but here's a great exception that rule so let's talk about what's happening this drum compressor so yet again I should preface this to say this was not the actual one I used on this mix I use one called impact most of the time um turn off that along but because I hate it I didn't remember do it before but this is I basically took my setting that was doing on a compressor that's just like this and didn't on this one the one I use wouldn't play on the system so let's watch what it's doing here wait a radio so three d b of compression about a d b of compression of the kick and I just play around with that in the sense they sound good it looks like I didn't ended up even just having it at zero for a lot of this stuff I had the percussion turned out about sixty me so it's just getting a little bit of that just some movement with the compressor it's not even probably compressing that as much as it's just putting it in the movement and the sound of it so yet again we look at our friend the cue that goes in before that compressor so how it moves into that compressor this week? You yet again I'm getting rid of a little of the sub base so it doesn't have to work as hard but unlike in the tracks we looked at yesterday in the rock stuff I'm not adding all this bottom ends we hear the compressor I'm actually adding a lot of snap because I want that like high end to sound a little bit compressed and just tamed down in the compressor and where I want to get some of the high end of my drums is from a compressed sound and that's just something you weren't listened for, but I'm sure I also probably added some no, I didn't had some high end on that, but I did add a ton of high end and low end to this bass drum. I also have some of the these really tight surgically q cuts that we were talking about before I'm going to get into a whole bunch in a second let's talk about one of the other fun details in this mix so what you can see here is there's a snare track that only happens three, four times in the song this snare track is something you hear a dance music all the time which is just I felt like when I first heard the mix to hear it without this that we weren't getting a big enough reber blast into thiss part of the song theo so that's what it sounded like before and then when I heard is we needed and so you're saying, jesse, you talked about not putting river plug ins on the send you want to do this was shared this is a special effect river so what I have here now is reverb that is mixes all the way up and this is actually just me copying this sound down to another truck and then balancing because I knew we needed a big reverb shot to make this sound cool. So this is what I did here big nice reverb tale that just helps us get in through that gap as you could see in the reference mix there's a nice cap there it just is one of those sounds that makes it more exciting and as you could see right before that the guys in the group had put some river bs, reverse claps and throughout the song and diverse group that help it just have some variety in here for dance my way we added that there for effect I think looks like that was the only place we added it and it's just one of those things that helps the track move so looking at what else is in here what's not in the compressor even though it's a main drum is this coop truck here so this clap truck here it's like a kind of really thinned out clap that just helps the groove a little yet again just because we I kind of named a clapper or thinking about is an accent to the snare is a clap it doesn't mean that that needs to go into the compression I just felt like that should be a thin, diminished element on dh kept it well this percussion truck yet again just moving a little bit. So the one thing I did do aside from q on this track and as you could see, I'm boosting a whole bunch of high end because this is a really modern setting mix, but some of these other ones I wear black because yet again so much of this stuff is so processed um just coming in to me from the samples they use, you know, this reverse clap didn't feel like it needed anything to me that snare didn't feel like it needed anything even though it's getting in q in the compressor, I might have tried to bring that out there these all the samples these days are so processed as it is that it's not always necessary to drive that home and bunch, but what I didn't do and what you'll see all over this mix, especially the sentences I dialed in some fab filter saturn to make this percussion loop more exciting instead of compressing it because it already doesn't seem like it needs a new compression. It's just harmonics just sounds way more exciting to me once that's on it's all it really comes down do so that's what I'm doing with the drums here, um, and the drums air pretty consistent. I don't think there's really any automation on them, which is not always the actually I am wrong, I see that I didn't do something so here's something that's really interesting is as you could see here I have a it says gain because I process this would gain a why a time when you're doing sneer, russia's, they can really get out of control of the mix and you'll need to ride him in this case, this song I just overall gain them down and it felt really good to make things throughout the song. Whenever there's a snare rush, I gain them down. And this is yet again because I didn't want them going in the compressor so hard and it was nice and fast I didn't want if I distorted them I didn't want them being even mortar stored there I wanted it to naturally process how it goes so but that was really all the automation on the drums in this song so let's get into the base processing this has something interesting on it so one of the theories with base especially when you want allowed record and especially if you're doing vinyl so I oversee the production of a lot of buying all these days and one of the big things is vinyl can get really weird with base especially if the bases on the far left and right on the vinyl it can get really hard to cut at times I cannot tell you the science we on that but I can tell you that I've sent a lot of records to get lacquers cut and the mastering engineer calls me up and going hey dude so what's up with this base in the center really helps so initially when I got the base in this file it was panned all the way out on a stereo file it's a true story a file but I wanted narrow it but I found when I put it directly up the middle like I normally do it just didn't have like some of that cool movement so I penned it just a little bit more narrow too as you could see about forty eight, forty eight so halfway through its we have this here let's listen to it so there's of interesting stuff I think going on with this one so yet again I'm going to talk about this in a second is we kind of talked this last segment really narrow cuts somewhere to make some space I the fab filter saturn cranked on this to give it some aggression cause I wasn't feeling the aggression initially let's listen to it without both of the distortions that are on this I felt the need to give that some serious distortion now what's also look at the c q I had on here so there is no need for me to do a second take you here aside from for some reason I wasn't getting the aggression I liked, I felt like what I did this week you going into the saturn? It wasn't something good. I think I accidentally just put the cq on and it sounded better sometimes we have to just accept that logic doesn't make sense and we're just going to go with it the other thing we're talking about is that yes, even though we want big bass in the song and I think the storm is really big base if you listen to that theme with the bass drum has a high pass filter twenty six and the base which is by far the world's frequency is by high pass filter thirty and the mix bus, which is here has won a twenty three hurts part of getting big typeface is high past filters all the way down I know it defeats the logic, but there's a tightening in the way it lets the speaker's move by concentrate the energy and frequencies you could you keep in mind you can barely hurt here twenty three hurts a z human, so tightening up some of the frequencies that you don't need for audible perception can really bring them out in the areas that you do here because it takes away energy that the loudness would otherwise have to deal with the doll you're allowed ms maximizes would deal with that. Um, so bringing your energy to more important frequency spectrum could be really, really, really helpful for your mix. So let's, talk about some of the more interesting things I'm doing with this, so I have the saturn doing a ton of distortion I have then this many american, I hope I'm saying his name right distortion adding some mohr distortions of this I believe this was literally a preset that I just scrolled through and then clicked and said, great, so here's, another plug and I'm going to really plug away on this's his plug in called tone shaper it seems to me like this is a dynamic cue that he has on here. This has become my go to for when I don't like the way a sound sounds, I scroll through presets and then I tweak the presets like we talked about in my master in class there is nothing wrong with going to a pre set and then when you go hey, that sounds a lot better seeing if you could make it will better. But the key is with the presets yet again is see if you could take it a little further by giving it a tweak or two. I also love that on this book and there's a direct signal that you can blend in there's, a couple different frequency spots and each one of these. And so I'm pretty sure like what? I just I basically took this. I think if I remember correctly, I added a little bit of low mid to this one and that was that. But I love this plug in for when a file is not quite what I wish it would be and it's really become my go to for repairing since so let's talk about this so what? I have us rocks on I think of the base and the guitar is separate things, but a lot of time I think of the base in the since really especially in a lot of this modern dance pop stuff really is just all one instrument, so I'm trying to find space because they all occupy a similar sound to me that can be a different case like, would you have like a really you know, complex way for parole office said so that you just won a really sinewy base it can be a totally different thing, but like in this song so let's just give a little blast this song since I haven't really done it would give you a verse in a course keep the best fish in scream at me telling you something you're not your dad the whole way body girl way readyto first way cool. So you got an idea of what's going on here and there's a lot of sense that air the very same area. So let's talk about what I hinted at before is that instead of that rule about I'm going to scroll through these accused, you could kind of get an idea what I'm about to say, but these are all the sympathy cues that I'm doing here and what I'm going to basically try to impress upon you is that every one of these since has at least one of these really, really narrowed cute cuts I got thirteen q you know this one has a ten q and this one has an eleven q and then sometimes there's like a more character q which has like a one q so a lot of time, what I'm doing here is I'm shaping and overall character when I'm first getting the song going and then when I went, you know, this is way too cluttered I want that space that I hear and the things we're compared to so it's also talk about this when we talked about that, you need a goal for the mc these guys and I you know, I also say these guys are my friends, I love hanging out when we talk all the time we said hilarious text messages to each other of internet means and, you know, we talk a lot one of the things we really wanted as we wanted this to not be so their bait making this record of what they have a publishing deal, so part of it needed to conform to the kind of safe world of tv licensing is they want to get this stuff on keeping up with the kardashians like where there are other songs have been before, but we also wanted this to be kind of street and modern and like you know be able to sit with underground tracks so what we're doing for referencing for a lot of stuff is we wanted the frequency span that like fresh and new tracks have sora listen to like a lot of like the big beat record stuff like porter robinson like some complex stroh stuff there's a new record from a band called cash cash that we're listening to a lot and we just wanted like this fresh new kind of it's not super underground but it's definitely not in the pop mainstream where's this song is much more pop it I think that's one of the big things where you here with a lot of tracks when they first get popular in the pop world especially the dance is that the ones that come through our kind of borrowing elements from, like what's fresh and happening in the not super underground but the almost above underground like just right on that brink of getting really popular thing? So we were really trying to bring that to this. So what? We were hearing in a lot of these tracks compared to like if we put up like an a b to a lot of the pop songs there was much more less like aggressive high end there was much less thumb p base so like when we put up like a porter robinson track we just hear like tons of this really sparkly trouble so we were a being between that constantly making sure everyone these trucks had a lot of base and a lot of trouble up top, and I think that that's a big thing is, like, when you're making your goal, you know, you want to be conscious of this. Are you trying to make something that fits in? Are you trying to make something that's a little forward thinking, you know, we're also listening to a lot of that disclosure record, which is really big and the dance underground right now and like, we're really like trying to find the parts when they get simple to have the space that disclosure records, because there's so much space, and so that brings me to the z q cuts is that, like, at times, you know what I hear on that disclosure record is that, like, there's just so much space? And I hear a lot of space being created by lots of narrow e q cuts through the spectrum, letting everything really have its place in the mix. So the way I came about doing these e q cuts is that basically, if I solo one of these instruments, not all of them, one of them let's, also get to a part of the song that plays what I heard is this frequency at five fifty eight was my least favorite one, so I find this ironic is usually on guitars I love to turn up five fifty eight, and this is acting a lot like a guitar melody, but this is just how this mixing worse, I mean, so what I'm doing is I'm doing that thing you saw me do a lot mixing yesterday if you watched is I'm sweeping around the frequency with a very narrow, cute this gets up to a twenty five point six q or maybe even higher if I twenty five point six, I could sweep around and find a frequency I think there's too much about this somewhere right around there I said this, and then I keep playing and find how much of it I need to get out that I unsold it and see how much of it I want to cut. I repeat that process, and sometimes I'll do a second and third round of this if the sensor so dense that I really feel the need to. So the only other interesting things I would say about these since compared that in part on you is that you don't I have a sounder and exciting, almost all of them, you know, to get back to that same track, just a little extra excitement on it. You know, on dh yet again I consider this more character to the sikh you a little bit more surgical? I'm just trying to really like, you know, with make space and give a good character without the cq thief there's tons more based on fact I'm taking out a ton of base or that that because it just was muddying up the mix so that's the other thing too is your high past filters could be doing a lot of that and I'm just adding some excitement saturday so let's get into the multi banning of the sense sometimes when your filter out all that it's a little too extreme and you shelf but it's just not right this could be a great way to get rid of it so let's find I think this is the interests and so it doesn't play here on it does actually so this interests in fear to the main roof of the song. You know, all I heard is that whenever I was taking out the bottom and especially like if we go to their reference mix there's so much more based on the sound I was missing a some of the baseball is doing it so I just wanted multi bannon I'm just controlling the bottom end alone what I love about the multi bands as they could just keep your sound a little more consistent and so on this one this track plays let's find where? Pretty much through most of the song. I want to accentuate the pumping so I did a little bit of pumping in the bottom end and then I noticed that this was getting in the way of the vocal more than I like pumped and it came out so I'm did. The upper mids were the vocal sets got a man way. Radio first just gets it out of the way the vocal while still out, being able to have that same nice night as you could see in the mix that said that's pretty high the last thing I can impart to you it with these symptoms is that we now have our friend the stereo with with my preset wider I will often adjust the width on this wider precept. But this priest it's great. This puts it outside the speaker's. So the thing I noticed with this and here is is I loved the synth but there was not a lot of room for it, no matter where I panned it. So I said let's, try painting this out. What's here in the mix the difference this makes wait a three minute video it's night and day the way that synth comes out and that's because that's their with to do it so that the one problem is that we get into is what does that do? Mano when it collapsed a tomato I found it still worked out enough because there isn't still enough information in there but yes it's not as fantastic but I want to find a way that this storm or go ahead it that yeah that's ah crazy night and day on that I mean for from just listening to it sounds like there's a volume difference but there's no unit volume going oh yeah, it really is. You know, that's why panning is also so important I tried panning this like just the little left just a little right all over the place I was painting this everywhere and I said, you know, this is just that sound that needs to be that other worlds there and let me also say this if you use stereo with processing on only one element in your dance song I mean a lot of songs and what I saw was even on this record we did it thirteen song record I have it on a couple developments but usually not more than one that plays at the same time is the other I tend to find if your stereo processing and you're putting tons of things wide it then all the panting is gone in that extra wide part it's really good like one part of the time to my ear personally sometimes you can get away with a cent and a backing vocal that has a stereo with on it but usually you could just get away with one so the last thing I'm gonna talk about what these sins is talk about river so on this same sense I just felt this one didn't have a river but I wanted it to feel like it was part of this I didn't think that any other instrument needed so I just put it on this track a cz you can hear that's a really big difference and that was me kind of hearing that what they initially tracked wasn't the approach I heard for this I heard this being a much more ami apart so I drowned in reverb and we really liked the way that came out so the one note I will make is that a lot of the time doing stereo with processing I like to do it last in the mix because it does something like when I q f minister with the stair with sometimes sounds were in the queuing feels wrong to me so I usually always have the stereo with last after everything but in this case I played with where these two sat and it sounded better to do the story with prospect then the reverb it's something to play with whenever you do that that the reverb sometimes doesn't, but I tend to find that tape saturation distortion que sounds a little weird when the stair, with its pride, the way it's playing with the phase and then interacting with it. So if there's a rule I have his stereo with should usually be pretty far at the end of your chain on dh, you'll get a better result will be zero. Q. So the last little bit of reverb did did I have? Is that pretty much whenever I'm mixing a dance song? I have oh, long haul on it's something and so this interesting, I just felt like it needed some little bit of a haul reverb in this case, I'm using the man am I use a couple different halls, one on re vibe, and it just seemed like this is what it needed and, you know, a lot of the time I saved a whole river because if most of the time you can draw all the river bs into a space that really sounds good if you have that singular reverb like we talked about that, putting it all in this simple room in general, it seems like this is a really common river, but I always have this set up for every dance um, yeah

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.