Losing Objectivity and Developing a Science


Fundamentals of Mixing Rock and EDM


Lesson Info

Losing Objectivity and Developing a Science

One of the other fun things from aaa the last class but we could apply to mixing in a much more interesting way is you're losing europe objectivity and routing your mix is so there's, not a single person who has ever done a mix that hasn't driven themselves crazy, comparing it to things and going, why doesn't my mix sound like this? So my big thing is that you have to develop ways to regain your objectivity, so the best way we just talked about is having a couple of different speakers to switch through. Those speakers could say, if you know it well, you're able to say, you know what? When the vocals to out on the speaker it's always two out, when the bases to out of this I always have been happy when I go in my car or I put on my headphones, you have to learn some of those things, and then the other thing is is you have tohave mixes that you're going to do comparisons with. In the last class, I talked about a software called magic a b from sample magic that allows you teo abie your mix...

to a couple different songs, all right, on your master fader, I am a firm believer that you one of the most important important parts of your work before you get started in the mix is choosing a couple songs you're going to reference whether it's you just like the guitars of this one you just like the vocals of this you like the way the drum baby strum hits with this and you want to get something similar you have to find those things so you have a reference and you can listen back and forth there's gonna be times you get confused and especially to get confused a lot more when you're first starting out about whether you're doing the right thing or not um, because of this it's really important that you put on another song and say ok, is this working is my kick drum? Is there too much bases? They're not compressed enough, is it? This is it that an experiment with this aa lot thie other thing is, is your brakes? Yeah, well, talked a lot about how he takes a break and he walks away from the band all day. I used to do the same thing all the time back today, I now go take a shower a lot of the time or I put on a podcast sometimes I don't even want to hear anything and I put on headphones with nothing on and I just take a walk I work alone a lot since I mostly misc mixing master for clients were remote, so I often just answer e mails and sounds, but one you know, you need to be able to get away and listen to something totally different that's not you're mixing comparison sometimes if you're really losing it and you've been a being it's these things listen to something totally different and often help some people a shower really helps I'm one of those people, but there's something about that white noise that really just, I think, clears my years from everything I sometimes need to just go outside and change the temperature. I feel like you have to find something that works that clears your head, but to me the biggest thing really is is that you need to stop what you're doing, not get so micro and listen to something that crow we're going talk a lot about micro and macro in the next coming days. I like tio really feel like the general expedia occurs that I use since their show me so many details, they let me get micro, I can just get so lost, like I said about the six k in the symbol, but the if I listen up the jam box if I listen off the oven tone, small speaker it makes me think just about are these levels is this guitar coming through over the vocal? Is the guitar louder than the drums? That's the type of mix I want you know, whatever you want in that mix and you're hearing in the other mix is you have to have ways that you can get back to hearing that one of the best ways also in the best secrets for mixes is that you need tio have mono tests I use a mano oven tone I often used the anise ten justin mano I use so many these things I hate amano button interest because the great thing about mono is it gets you stops having you distracted from is this just seem louder because the stereo made it you can even do we're going to go into tomorrow? You could even pan in mono and hear the panting and mono and if you don't believe me, I will prove it to you tomorrow you're not necessarily hearing the panning as much as you're hearing the space in the mix and finding a place in the mix were an instrument can cut through a little bit more by turning that pan dial. If you have tons of things that are paying hard left and hard right and all of a sudden you pan about fifty percent of the way to the right and there's not as much there you will hear that in the mono speaker of you're just in a single speaker mount. So that's, the other thing I should point out what the mono is, a lot of people hit mono, and one of the ways they do it wrong is that they're still listen. The motto in two speakers it's not the way to do it, turn off one of the speakers and listening just single speaker mano one of the best ways to get your balance is especially when you're confused early on is that single speaker mano it really can translate great stuff to your mixes. When I first started out, that was like one of the saving tips that saved me is I would spend about an hour a mix just on one of my care case in single speaker mono, and then I'd get back to stereo when I tweak a little and then I go back over and over and over again, you have to develop these things that work for you and try out all these cities like every one of these I'm talking about is a different recipe, and when you're getting confused, try them out and keep trying the other thing about a lot of them and is like a lot of these I tried early on like I must have tried. Mixing on anna's tens ten years before they really worked for me, they only start working for me in the past, like five, six years and like, you know, you khun, try something and, you know, part of, like, what's nice about a lot of stuff is like, I guarantee some of this stuff, you'll try your book. I don't know why that worked for him. I have the same thing. I read articles all the time, and eighty percent of it doesn't work for me, but and ten percent of it doesn't work for me when I first try for ten percent of works a lot better later, when I'm doing something else different on top of it all these things are things that you may not be able to do today, but keep them in the back. Your mind for tips to try later, like, revisit this, come back and you know, when you're getting stumped with your mix is this is a pallet and some recipes you can try to regain it, so objectivity as well. There's a couple of great tips for mixing that I know really help if you're able to walk around the corner in a room while your speakers air at like that eighty two d b place, and you're like, I can't tell if this vocals to out there's something about rounding the corner of a room where speakers that just tells you what all those levels on the instrument are. I like to turn off the mix for five minutes lay down on the couch, my lounge is next to my control room. If I lay down for five minutes hit play again, I'm up within thirty seconds, I know exactly everything I did wrong on that mix, and I can place them all again, you know, four hours into the mix, sometimes you just can't tell if that vocal is too loud or too quiet right then and there. Um, I think the other great one I've learned is to is just just that, you know, especially if you only have two speakers turn the value, your volume not down all the way to the lowest point in the first point, you can hear that mix, you will hear balances really well and you won't hear you cue you won't hear compression, you'll just be focused on levels, the's air the most important things and re balancing those levels before you start turning it up and re adjusting that q and compression could be some of the best, you know, refreshing in your brain that you can get for a mix question from skylar reed is you're going to talk about using headphones to check mixes? Yes how do you set the levels for headphones the same way set level so in other words, you know you've got the eighty two d be magic zone how do you do that with head for lt's think headphones are a lot different so we actually got this one the last costume is really funny something like oh how do you do eighty two d b on your headphones? And I thought about it so I put it put my headphones to eighty two t b and went that was so loud I never would have put those headphones on because the headphones or closer to your ears you don't want to necessarily did a judy what I have learned to do it is, you know, so for me personally three clicks down on my iphone five s is a good place for me to compare mixes to other things I think you have to learn where you're comfortable in every headphones different, especially since so many headphones are active these days like you know the beats do so much processing there's tons of others that two tons of processing you have to just learn a comfort zone, find a volume you like and then memorize where that volume is so that when you're clicking between songs, you know that this is a place where you usually get that emotion from it's a volume you're used to, I'm very conscious of you know, I also have to hear over the subway on my walk to work so I might be monitoring a little louder than some people but find some volume that works for you on headphones question for you on that note because I listened to you know, I almost never listened to music in an area and environment doesn't have a lot of other noise going on like when I'm at the gym or jack, you know, street and he's like very like loud environments do you ever and there's a lot of times where I've listened to something and it sounded okay at home and listen to to the gym I couldn't hear very well do you like take that into account at all or have any thing that funny for me is when I walk like if I wished on headphones in my studio it's not the same is like if I go out on toe the loud streets of williams burger union city, new jersey where I test things there's just something about that background noise that I actually do feel like almost like gets mita not focus on yet again like what's the reverb tale sound like it makes me focus on is the kick too loud in this part is this you know, my basic balances and those are the things I'm most concerned with if you want to get micro sure find a quiet place to listen cover your ears or whatever, but I actually think there's a good thing to the noise that same thing that killed the car test cars are not the quietest place we've ever been in, you know there's an engine home there's some idiot cutting you off all these things go into it I actually think that it's almost a way of focusing it and it's like a good focus that happens that you have some background noise so you're not yet again getting lost in the micro and staying focused on the macro you know it's much more important what your overall balances are thin the slightest smallest one point sixty b at six k moves all right another question came in from brees, who wanted to know can you instead of using the view meter app to see what the arm s is for your reference track and compare it to your own? I'm sure there's some scientific way of doing that that you could yield results with but and it let me say this that could probably even get you pretty close. But I don't think that that's best practice because there's a subjectivity about different frequencies the way they hit our years and it's almost interesting to measure that in the outside world because I think like frequency distribution is so different from track to track that yes, you're getting this arms but how is that the way that our messes perceived is not necessarily how it is in the outside world when a speaker's playing it and how you're pursuing but yes, I'm sure you could get your arm s levels and yield pretty usable results I think it's just a lot faster toe kidnap on your phone and hit play I would just say yes, you could do that I don't think that's the best way to do it so that's why you're the expert? Oh yes! All right, let's keep going. Awesome. So we get to my pet favorite subject developing a science of the formula. So I was just kind of talking about these recipes for listening. So a lot of this stuff is, you know, how you get mixes to work for you and like like I said, you know, ten percent of what I've read other people do does works from a certain things work for me certain things don't you have to find these recipes and develop a way that you work now? The other thing I must say is this goes in the computer as well as outside of the computer um, one of the things I mean yeah, all kind of talked about this a little bit to that I think it's a bad thing toe just blindly throw up the same pre set or the same what do you call it setting on every single thing like you know you don't put the steam steri q and go, quote that's the good son eric you were done every program materials different every you know every time I get something like I have certain plug ins I used for my stuff, but as you'll see tomorrow in the next day I used totally different plug ins when I get somebody else's material because the way I track things is a lot different in the way other people track things and so I need to adapt as that goes so I can fix or team whatever I want to tame in a certain way so I have certain settings that are good starting points and sure, like, you know, I start off with many of this most similar settings in fab filter saturn or like there's five river bs that I used the most often but that's the other key to this is that as you get done with each mix, make sure you hold on to like, you know what's nice is session files are really small files on each file on you don't you just save the oil forms hold onto your session files especially the songs you like the sound of and when you hear song and you go hey, this is kind of like what I went for in this song bring in some of those things you know, I set the harmonizer one of two ways by use a harmonizer on almost every vocal on every mix I import that harmonizer like I said, I import a certainty q curve on the master bus kurt talked a lot about prepping the mix that, you know, if, you know, you know, nine times out of ten, I know I'm going to put a fader rider q and a compressor on a vocal I know I'm gonna have an ox that goes to a reverb, and I know I'm one of the knocks that goes toe a harmonizer if I don't use them, I have a mute button, but why not save yourself some time and make some templates and important from those other songs and see how and get this stuff in thie other thing I'll say, if we could pop over the pro tools first second, I'll show some ways that, like I've developed my science over the years so here's a great example is just like the simplest thing is this gate I know for myself that I could spend each time if I open a mix, I could reset up that gate every time the same way because I pretty much run it really similar everytime I tweak on almost every song when I first start mixing, I tweak that attack I tweaked that release, I might tweet the racial I definitely tweaked the threshold, but they usually start somewhere around right there, so I haven't saved that hyatt filter and that look ahead button I might not always remember to press those buttons, but those make my life so much easier when I'm dying, dialing those like particularly this high filter I used to forget toe click this all the time, yet it makes getting a kick drum million times use your make a kick drum chain where you've remembered hit all these buttons and keep developing your science update your template update the things that you know you do, but also don't just say cool I reported my template this kick drums ready to go every single time you get a song there's different things you'd have to tweak, but I will say this I usually just once a record of the star of the record have to tweak this gate and usually it's set to go for most of the rest of the record even when the program materials pretty different if I track it because I usually track kick drums really somewhere I might have to tweak it a little bit from song a song but it's most of the way there it's the same thing with with you, then I get to the c q in the kick trump now I don't leave import these curves on it, but I do import that when the cq comes and there is a high pass filter already set up there when this comes, stockett cz set a low shelf, I know I'm always going to use a high shelf filter. I know I like starting off, you know, with fab filter, saturn there's a certain setting I use all the time, this basic saturate er I start with that at zero percent. I have that in my template to do it all the base, I know that I like this thick, this is usually actually a little lower. I have it set there already with this amount on zero, so that way I could just go in dialogue, and I already have it. I don't normally works that I play around with it and see if it works. People will tell you if you do this said, if you're using these presets, your stuff's gonna be so cookie cutter it's not true if you adopt it different each time and you use it different, what you can do instead is you can recall things and you can recall ways you've got sounds each time now if you work on a lot of diverse stuff like I do, like, you know, one of the things I love about where my career has got me is that I usually work on a pop record for a week and then the next week I have some crazy grind core abandon and then I'm doing a country record three days later and it's really fun to do this different material but I will say time and time again that I always know I'm going to need two week use on the base one that's a poll textile that I may or may not use eighty percent of time but it's the least sitting there for me to hit bypass that this you want to have a whole lot of recipes so I have a folder every time I get done with a mix that I really like I just tossed the session file in there so I could say you know especially if the bad came back and they say you know we hated the guitar tones on the last trucker but we love the based on I could import what I did with the based own toe audition it make sure we're on track to get the same style based own for the next record um taking really good notes on all the stuff and the processes that got you there didn't I your favorite mix then you got so far was one of those mixes where you did listen choir keep taking notes like we've a diary like I just went through some of my notes from nine years ago for this class to remember where I was out when I was a beginning mixer so I remembered some of the things that would got me here because you know, I stopped taking those notes nine years ago when I was six years of notes of developing things that work for me over and over and over again like just even learning the things of like I talked about the plug in order no one taught me that I had to learn that and think about that and play around with that learn that stuff learning that if I hit the reverb harder on this certain reverb making the notes so I remember it for a while I was putting my vocal chain in a different order I went back and saw a different mix and I realize that I should be actually putting the delay before the tape saturation cause there's something about the way this tape saturation brings out this certain delay just small little things that I learned you want to develop that science and formula over a lot of time and really one saves time to save your ears and three makes you get better mixes because you're not slaving over all sorts of things that you've already figured out. You already know that the look ahead button on a kick usually works well just keep it on it's not in the fight on in the factory default when you turned on you don't want to forget to turn it on. If you do a side chain gate on your room like from your standard, um, like will talk about tomorrow, that's, another recipe you could save. You could have saved how to set up in case you forget how to set it up the next time. Keep all this stuff in one file. I have a session file folder that dates back to nineteen, ninety nine, because I did a cool reverb on a record in nineteen ninety nine that I every once in a while, one of bust out. You know, I did it on a rap record, and I put it on a metal record. It's there I have the recipe. You have to keep developing these recipes so that they're easy to be found, because you're not always going to remember how you did them.

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.