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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 27 of 27

Bonus Video: Cubase Mixing Tips and Tricks

Joey Sturgis

Mixing Master Class

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

27. Bonus Video: Cubase Mixing Tips and Tricks

Lesson Info

Bonus Video: Cubase Mixing Tips and Tricks

So today we're gonna talk about maximizing your mixing workflow in Cubase. And a lot of these things are just designed to be short little tidbits of information that I've come to discover throughout my journey of doing this for a long time. These are just gonna be kind of unrelated and quick and just right in the pocket of stuff that I think is really cool about Cubase. And a lot of these things also won't really apply to other recording programs. These are very Cubase eccentric type things. Okay so starting with the first one. How to export stems. I get asked this all the time, how do you do it? Now the way that I like to export stems is I try to recreate the song exactly as it sounds. And there really is no quick way of doing that automatically. Now you know, you could do control E, which I have set up as going file, export, audio mix down. So I do go to file, key commands, and then where it says type in key, you can just click there and hit control E and then you can it'll tell you ...

what that's assigned to. Let's say it's assigned to something else, then you would hit this little trashcan which would delete the control E. So if I hit control E, I could hit the trash can and it'll say, do you wanna remove this key command. So what you wanna do is go up here to the search box and type in export. And then you have to hit it several times until it finds the export audio mix down. Or you could alternatively, I think you can just type in export audio mix down and it'll find it. And then you go over here and you hit control E and then you hit assign. And you'll get, that key command will be assigned to that command so you can, you can assign different key commands to different commands. So that's a really good one to have to be able to get to export really quickly. Now you could use this channel backs, channel batch export where you can basically select every audio track and just export every single track. The problem with this is, it will only go through a certain amount of processing. So let's say on this vocal track we have it going through these plugins. And then it's going outside of here and being routed to G screen, so that's a group down here, G screen. And then there's additional effects and plugins on that track. If you were to do the channel batch export, that vocal track right there V-main would not be processed through this group. So you would end up with a version of this vocal track here as it sounds going through this insert chain and then you would end up with a additional wave file of all of those tracks being combined into this group and so there's a missing middle piece there. That middle piece would be, what does it sound like going through the group, but by itself and not combined with other tracks. So how do you get that? Well you can't. So I'll show you how I create stems because it's a very interesting way of doing it. And it provides the artist with the original sound of the song. So the very first thing I'll do is Control Shift S, which is save as, right? And then I'll do, I'll name it song four stems. So I'm not changing the mix session. I have that mix session that we were working on. I have that and now I have a new session called four stems. Next thing I'll do is go to project and do remove empty tracks. And when you do that it removes all those empty tracks that you don't care about. None of those are being used in the project and they're empty so they don't have any sound in them. Now if you are doing some kind of advanced drum triggering and you're sending many signals to an audio track that has a drumagog insert on it you basically just destroyed so be careful. Don't do that. I'll also go through the track and I'll be like finding the things that aren't being used. So, this is muted and so is this. So I'm gonna click those and I'm gonna hold Control and click each one that's not being used in the song, there's only those two, and I will do hold Shift and press Delete and that will remove those tracks from the session. So we're basically just simplifying the session to get it to the point where we can start creating stem groups. And then I'm gonna go in and find anything else that doesn't apply. So like this track you can see that there's no audio in it, except for right here. And so I can tell that all that audio's been muted and so I'm just gonna get rid of that track as well. Right, so that looks like everything. And then the next step is going to be making the way that the project looks right now, is kind of complicated. You have all these automation tracks and stuff. So I'm just, I only wanna look at audio. So I'm gonna go up here to project and go to track folding and then I'm gonna click hide all automations. So when I click on that it hides all those automation tracks and just leaves the audio behind, right? So next I wanna create my stem groups and I just do this by selecting different tracks and putting them into folders. Right now the way the session is organized there's these folders that already exist. For example I have this folder here called guitar rhythm and it has some tracks in it. And then I have this other folder here called guitar leads and it has all the lead tracks in it. I could use those for my stems but sometimes I'll have my project arranged in a way that wouldn't make sense for stems, but does make sense for mixing. So I usually just ignore the way that I have it organized right off the bat. So I'll take and select the first track, scroll all the way down, hold Shift, select the last track, now we have every track, right? And then if you just drag that down one, click and drag the bottom track down one until it goes green, and let go, you remove every track from every folder. So now, see how this folder here, there's no more tracks inside of it? So now you have all the audio tracks without the folders. And then you're gonna go up to projects and remove empty tracks again and that's gonna delete those folder tracks. So now we just have just straight audio all the way down. The next thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to get rid of all group tracks, but I'm not gonna remove them I'm just gonna put them in a different category. So I'm gonna take like this master track, the group tracks, I'm gonna take all that stuff and select it. Anything that's not an audio track I'm just gonna select it, and them I'm going to right click and go move selected tracks to a new folder. And then I'm just gonna call that stuff. So this is stuff that we don't need while we're making stems. I just put all the stuff in the stuff folder. Bring that up to the top, and we don't have to worry about that stuff anymore. Now what's really cool about Cubase is that when you solo something, for example this, if it's going through a group, Cubase knows that that group needs to be turned on. It's not stupid like Pro Tools which basically is the most frustrating thing to work with when you're trying to solo and mute tracks. The beautiful thing about this is you can have very complicated routing in your mix in Cubase and still be able to solo these three tracks and if those three tracks go to three different groups Cubase will automatically figure out the routing and play it back properly. Now this is really important for the way that we're making the stems because we're gonna have every single stem going through our mastering chain. So that when you take all the stems at the end result and you play 'em all back at the same time, it'll sound exactly the same as the mastered song, which is really awesome. So starting with the drums, just right click that, hit move selected tracks to new folder. I'm gonna name that folder drums. Go to the bass, do the same thing. And if you have multiple tracks that make up your bass sound, you would be selecting more than one track. So this whole part here seems to go together. So I'm gonna take all this, put it into a folder, I'm gonna call that bridge guitar. Actually I'm gonna call it guitar bridge. And the reason why is I like to have things grouped in alphabetical order, and also grouped by the words. So if you have all your things that have to do with guitar start with the word guitar, they'll all line up in the file system as well. So let's find some more guitars. Here's some lead guitar stuff and select that all together, put move to a new folder, and type guitar lead. Not lead guitar but guitar lead, 'cause that will put it with the other guitar stuff. Guitar rhythm. Select those together, move to selected track, and I usually remove just to keep things simplified, I take out the vowels on almost all the names. So like guitar rhythm just becomes GTR RTHM or whatever. Seems to help with the long names that you end up with sometimes, when you have tons and tons of tracks. I'm gonna put all of the production stuff pretty much all into one thing. Call that production, post production. And I'm gonna do different layers for my vocals so I'm gonna probably start with the main screaming parts should be these two. So these are the V for vocals and then SCR for scream and then main because those are the main tracks. And then doubles. Those are gonna go into V SCR dub. And then the remaining ones are effects, so we'll call those V SCR effects. And we'll do the same thing with the singing. I'm just finding all of my mains. So those are all the main tracks. I selected those, move selected tracks into new folder, call it V SNG for sing, main. And we'll do all the doubles. And if you forget some it's not a big deal. I'm gonna show you how you can drag 'em in. So move selected tracks to new folder, V SNG dub. And then we're gonna go into the harmonies. Okay. That's gonna go into V SNG harmony. And then what do we end up with? We've got this thing here, I think that's a vocal effect so we'll put that into V SNG effects. I forgot to move this woe into the main so I'm gonna select that and just drag it up and drop it in to the main folder. And looks like there's some gang vocals here. So I'll put that in it's own folder as well. So V gang vox. And then looks like we've got some screams here. I'm just gonna throw those into the effect folder for the screams. Some additional production left over so we'll just throw that into the production folder. And there we go. Oh wait, there's one more vocal. Put that into the singing effects. All right, so there's your whole session broken down into categories. So you have all these categories right here. So the last thing you need to do before you start bouncing is create a click track. So we're gonna do add track, instrument track, you just need something that makes sound, it could be anything. Let's try this. But not that kind of sound. Actually you know what I'm gonna do? I have a, is there a sampler on here? I don't think there is. Okay I'll show you how to do it with audio. So you'll just create two audio tracks and you will import a sound. Hopefully you have some sort of sound that you can use. If not you can always make one. Just go record. Go into the drum room and take two drum sticks and hit 'em together and record the sound of that, and that will create a nice little sound that you can use. I don't know where anything is right now. Let's see. No. Here we go. (cowbell ringing) Okay so I've got the small cowbell and a big cowbell, I'm gonna use those two sounds. So for the accent hits I'll use the small cowbell. And then for the other hits I'll use the big cowbell. And then we're just gonna do quarter notes. (cowbells ringing) Right, and then just duplicate that. I'm doing a Control D, so whatever you have selected, Control D will duplicate it. It's basically a repeat. And then I'm just keeping an eye on my grid here to make sure that my accent always lines up with my grid, 'cause you never know if there's a time signature change in the song then you wanna make sure that your cowbell follows it. And then that's basically your trick track. (cowbells ringing) And then just double check that it lines up with the drums. (drums banging) Cool. And then I'm gonna move those into a folder and call it click. And then all you would do is you would sit here forever and you would solo this, and you'd do Control E and you would type in drums, and you would set your output channel to master. And then for stems, basically the format that you wanna use is 44.1 16 bit depth and turn your import settings off, and then you would just export this file somewhere into a folder. And I usually like to have it where it's setup like this. So you have like the song name, actually you'd have the band name, and then you'd have a folder, it'd be stems, and then you'd have song name, and then under that you'd have stem, whatever the stem is called so drums or whatever. And if you notice I actually, when I went through and made these I named them what they should be called so you can just hit solo, hit export, type the name of that here, and hit export and then go to the next one. Export the base, type base, hit export and then that's it. So you would walk through and do every track. And what happens is when you solo this, Cubase automatically figures out all the groups and stuff that it needs to figure out when we do the double. For example it will turn this on as it needs to be turned on. And then it'll fast the signal through the mastering chain and then come out sounding like it does in the actual mix. And that's how you create stems. It's a very long version of doing it, but that's how I do because I like to have the stems sound exactly the same as the song, so. That's how you do that. Next this is to, how to make mix revisions. What I like to do is I will open the song, whatever mix it's on. So let's say we're on mix two. I'll open it, I'll do a Control Shift S, save as and I'll call it, test song and then I'll call it mix two. So if it's mix two I'll go up a number, mix three, right? And do a save as. Now what's really great about this is if you go from mix two to mix seven, and then someone says you know what I really actually the vocals a lot on mix four. I think we should go back to that sound. I know we were messing around with the vocals, we turned them up and down and changed the treble and blah blah blah, and we ended up on mix seven, but I really prefer the vocals on mix four. But I like the drums on mix seven but I like the vocals on mix four. What are you gonna do if you're not keeping track of all this stuff. So as you make changes on the mixing, you need to keep incrementing the number so that you can go back in time, you can open an older mix and take and copy paste settings if you need to, or grab tracks or whatever. There's been times where I've accidentally deleted something and I've been like holy crap how am I gonna ever get that back 'cause I deleted it then I saved it? And so now it's saved as being deleted. If you keep incrementing your mix number, you can go back to mix one, two, three, whatever, find that track, grab it out, and then open your newest mix and put it back in. It's just a good habit to get into. And I think the overall determination or determining factor of when you should increase the number is when you do something major. I'll usually do it when the band, let's say I make mix two and then I send mix two to the band and then they come back with a list of changes, that's when I'll increase it to mix three. However, I'll make sure stay on the same page as me. I try to make sure that I don't do a mix four and five without showing them because they're gonna be like talking about mix three and I'm gonna be talking about mix five and it's not gonna make any sense. So we stay on the same page. And if you do make a major change, like say you completely redo the guitar sound for example, then I would do a revision every time you change the tone. So if you change your guitar tone from mix three to mix four, just keep that mix four as your new guitar tone. And then if someone says oh I like the guitar tone in mix three, you can roll back. So just make it easier for yourself to go forward and backward in time. Now I wanna show you how to keep backups in Cubase, 'cause this is really cool feature of Cubase. So if we go to file and click preferences you can go to general. On the left-hand side here click on general, and you've got this thing called auto save. So we turn that on, and then we have our auto save interval. So this is how often it's going to auto save. So I wanna set that to one minute. That's how I have mine set. So every 60 seconds the project is gonna get saved. And then the maximum backup files is how many auto saves will it keep before it starts to overwrite the auto saves. So I like to keep 100. So now by having 100 auto saves, that can allow you to go back in time 100 minutes. So if you're working on a song for 100 minutes, every change that you made for every minute is saved. And if you accidentally delete an awesome bass tone. You come up with this great bass tone, you removed it and then you, I don't know, you closed the session or something. You open the session back up and now it's not there or whatever. You can go back 50, 100, however many frames you need to go back until you get to that point where you had that bass tone. I've had the power go out. And I've been mixing something for, sitting there for 20 minutes EQing a vocal part and then the power goes out and you lose that. So you can go back in time 20 minutes and you can find that EQ setting you had. So just these three simple settings, the auto save, one minute interval, and 100 backup files. That gives you 100 minutes of backups, automatically, without having to do anything. And then of course maximum undo steps, just leave that on infinity because that's awesome. And then if you wanted to make a hardcore backup of this session, I'm gonna show you how to actually do that. So this is a little bit of a tricky thing. So you're gonna do Control P which brings you to your audio pool. So this is every single file that is being utilized in your mix. This is everything that makes up your mix. The problem with this is it's also everything that doesn't make up your mix. So here's all the deleted takes that we did and did not keep. Obviously we don't wanna make up takes that we're not using and don't make up the sound. So first up, right-click and go to remove unused media. And it's gonna ask where you wanna remove it to. So we wanna remove it to the trash, okay? Next thing you're gonna do, right-click again, empty trash. Do you want to erase the files from the hard disk or only remove clips from the pool? Now I never ever erase files from the hard disk. Ever. Because that revision system that we used, relies on those files being in the right place. And if you accidentally removed a track and then you do this to make a backup, that old revision that you had, that has that track in it still, is useless now because you just removed the audio. 'Cause it's looking at this table here and it's taking a look at which files you're using, and it's keeping or removing those based on this answer. So I always choose remove from pool 'cause that's the safest decision you can make. Next you're gonna right-click again and you're gonna go to prepare archive. And what this does is it grabs all, you might have a session made up of a bunch of files that came from different folders and different places on your computer. It's gonna take all those and put them into the same place. So I'm gonna, it's gonna ask if I wanna make the edits permanent, the answer's No. And so you can see it starts copying a bunch of files from a bunch of different places. And now it says pool is ready for archive. Hit OK. Now if I look at my audio folder here and I check the path, the path will be the same for every single audio file. So now it took all those audio files and put 'em all in the same place. And now we have our whole song is in this one folder path here at the top that we can see. So then the next step would be to go to file and to go backup project. But only after you did all those steps in the pool. 'Cause if you don't do those steps, this backup project thing does not work. So it requires the unused media to be removed, the trash to be empty, and the archive to be prepared. And then you would just find your place where you wanna put it. I would call it backup, and then the song name. And I hit OK and it's gonna say what do you wanna call it? I'm gonna call it backup. And it says do you wanna keep the current project active. So if you turn this off what it's gonna do is when it's done backing up, it's going to change this project that we have open here to the backup location. So if you wanna keep working on the song, you're just creating a backup, then you wanna have this turned on. If you want to actually start manipulating the backup instead, then you would turn this off. Then it's gonna say minimize audio files. We already did that so we're not gonna turn that on, and I don't like to trust Cubase to do it for me, so that's why I do it manually before hand, before getting to this point. Then it says freeze edits. This means do you want your warp changes, your time stretching, all those things that are left open ended. Do you want those to be mixed down into audio files or do you just want to keep it open so that you can still continue to edit it? I always keep it open. Remove unused files, nope we already did that. And do not backup video. And then you hit OK. And it will sit there and start backing up the project. So there you go, that's how you do it. That's how you backup projects. Moving on we have session and project management. So we kinda did that a little bit when we made the stems but I wanted to show you the features of having the folders. So we moved a bunch of stuff into different folders and now our project is super organized. What's really cool though is that you could take all these folders and put them into another folder and call that song, and now you have the ability to move your song around. Now you'll notice when I did that some stuff didn't move, that's probably because it's locked, yeah. So these tracks are frozen and they're locked so they can't be moved. But if you find yourself messing around with arrangement changes a lot, you can take this folder track and you can cut it up into bars. I could cut this, I could take like this section, cut this into a bar. Cut this. And then I could say duplicate that part if I wanted to. It makes it really easy to just do really crazy changes to your song, very simply. It also allows you to do like, I don't know if it would let me do this. I can try but you can make alternate mixes of your songs. So you can take this and just do duplicate. I don't think it's gonna let me. Hold on let me see. I'll try with just, I'll just take a couple of tracks like these four or something, right? Let's just say that these four made up my song. Let's pretend. So you can take that folder track, you can right-click, you can hit duplicate and it'll literally figure out everything it needs to do to create two copies of the same song. And now I can go in here, I can take my main vocals, I can completely mix them differently if I want. And then I can go like this and I can compare two different mixes of the same song just by pressing N. 'Cause I got both one track muted, two tracks selected and hit N. And it'll do a toggle between the two. So you could have like really advanced session management by doing that, and allow you to make crazy mixing decisions if you need to. And then the other thing I wanted to show for session management is that I do these cool things called, actually let me go to this next slide. Backing up a little bit here, let me go back to, let me revert back to what we had. I wanna show you where to actually, how to structure your sessions. So starting with file structure you're gonna have a folder on your computer and it's gonna be called production, right? And then inside there you will have each band that you work on. So the band name. Then inside there you will have your song folder. And then inside there you will have your project file and all of the various other things that Cubase creates automatically for your session. And then as you create mixing revisions, you will do Control Shift S, save as, and that will go into the song folder. So you can actually see that I've already done that here. So you can see all the different versions of the song, all the way back to December 2012 when we did the pre-pro. There's the first version of the whole thing that we ever did. All the way up to mix three, which is the final mix of the song. So keep everything that has to do with the song revisions and all the mixes and all the versions of the song and the pre pro and everything, keep all that in the same folder, and that's right here. So you have your production, your band name, your song, and then all the files that go with the song. And so there's a folder for every single song. So you might have like song one, song two, song three. And then inside there you might have song two mix one, song two mix two, and so on. And this is a really organized way of doing it. And then you can save as different sessions. And so I'm gonna show you how to create basically more efficient projects. Because when you start to get into these 80 to 100 to track projects it's like how do you manage it all? It's like your processor starts to freak out and your hard drive can't keep up with loading all the audio and all the stuff. So, if you have it organized, it is kind of organized. So guitar leads, guitar rhythms, all that stuff. Let's say you wanted to have a version of the session where you only work on guitars. So what you would do is you would select all your tracks like this, and you would basically un-select the guitars and then hit solo, right? Hold on let me redo that. Hide automation. Remove empty tracks. Take everything out of the folders again. You have to before you do the folder thing you have to actually unfold the tracks. There we go. Remove empty tracks. Okay. Now I'm gonna select everything except for the guitars, so I'm gonna, let's just say that's our session, right? I'm gonna solo that. I'm gonna bounce that into audio, so call this song, keep the output setting on master, keep the path on user project audio folder and set the bit depth to and set import project to having the pool and the audio track turned on. So what's gonna happen is you're gonna export the song and it's gonna go through that whole process and then the song is going to actually come back into the session. I'm gonna pretend that this is the song. It's gonna come back into the session as an audio track like this, and you're gonna name that song. And you will still have all of the solo tracks selected at that point. If you had actually waited for it to bounce. And once you've done that your gonna do Control Shift S which is to save as, and we're gonna call it song for guitars, right? And then I'm gonna do Shift Delete which is gonna remove all those tracks that we just bounced into an audio file. And now when I playback the song it's everything but the guitars and then I have all these tracks here that are my guitars. So you just created a copy of the whole session with everything committed to tape, so to speak, up here at the top. And then a bunch of guitar tracks that you can mess with, right? Now, you might be wondering okay, we did all that, we messed with the guitars and now we're happy with guitars, how do we get the guitars back into the original session? So I'm gonna show you how to do that. So for the sake of this example I need to unfreeze these tracks real quick. This will not work with frozen tracks so don't use frozen tracks. Okay so we've got everything that we want to put back into the original song. So I'm gonna select the first track and then Shift select down to the last track, and then go to file, I'm gonna go to export, I'm gonna go to selected tracks, right? It's gonna say do you wanna make a copy or a reference. I always choose copy just because if I choose reference I found that sometimes it can create errors where it can't find certain files. So if you just do a copy it's gonna automatically copy all the audio being used in those tracks, so you don't have to worry about things getting lost or file links being destroyed. And then you're gonna create a new folder and it has to be blank. The folder that you use to do this has to be blank. So we're gonna call it guitar archive, right? I'm gonna hit OK. And there it goes. It's gonna copy all the audio into that folder and create a file. All right so now we're gonna go back into the original song. So let's just say mix three. I'm gonna show you how you can basically bring all those elements that you mixed in a separate session and bring those into one session. So you can do this with drums, vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, basically that's how I work is I'll take and make multiple versions of the same session, but I'll remove all of, like for the keyboard session I'll have my drums and my guitars and everything at the top but there's no keyboards in that audio file. And then I have all of my tracks of keyboards. Then when I'm done I bring them into the session like this. So go to the very bottom track and create a folder track. And then do file, import, track archive. And then there's our guitar archive that we made. So when we select that and we hit open. It's gonna say which tracks do you want? So we're gonna select all tracks and it says use media files from the archive or copy media to project folder. If you do copy media to the project folder it creates a third copy so you don't really need a third copy. We'll just use the files from the second copy. Hit OK. And in a couple of seconds, boom, there's all my guitar tracks exactly how I mixed them, exactly how I automated them. All the automation is intact. All the mixing settings that you did, it's all there and you can freely import and export various parts of your session which allows you to basically utilize your processor better. If you are working on a session and your processor keeps running out of power instead of limiting yourself by not being able to do anything else to the song, just do like I said where you select everything except for what you're working on and create a new version of the session. Then you can bring it back in later. Okay next we're gonna talk about note tracks. Now this song doesn't have any note tracks, but lets say I'm listening along to the song and I get to this part here and I kinda thing that the vocals aren't that great and they should probably be redone. What you can do to remind yourself, and this is something that I've found that makes me hyper productive and keeps track of everything is I created a way of doing note tracks. There's not actually a system of doing note tracks in Cubase. This is just something that I've come up with, so. I always do it by having an area in my session where I expect the note tracks to me, and that's usually at the top. But if I'm trying to create a note on this vocal here I'll start by doing add track, MIDI. I'll just do one track and I'm gonna start with the word notes. And then I'm gonna type in vocals. So I know that this is a note track and it applies to vocals. And then I'm going to hold Alt and drag my mouse across here so it's in line with this vocal part right here. So I've got, I drew a blank MIDI event in the same place where the vocal happens, but it's on the MIDI track. And then when I click on this MIDI event, up here on the top-left if you have your info line turned on, which you can turn on by clicking right here. You will see this thing called name, and that's the name of the event. So in the name of the event you can actually type your note. You can be like I think this vocal part could be more aggressive. Let's rerecord it. Okay. Now what's cool is when we open the song up the next time we work on it, we have all these note tracks at the top, right? And we can be like oh, there's a note here, let's see what it says. And so you click Z and that'll expand this track. And then we zoom in and we can see it says right here. I think this vocal part can be more aggressive, let's rerecord it. So we scroll down, there's the vocal part. And so then we can just mute that and record a new vocal. And then you record your new vocal and then you're utilizing note tracks. The other thing that's cool with these is you can, let's say there's a part that repeats. You can always remind me to repeat this. And then you can put where it needs to repeat. And so now you've got these little markers of where that part repeats. And then you remember okay this vocal track needs to be repeated here, here, and here. And then you can do it later or whatever. Now if you wanna be able to look at this note track but be able to scroll up and down, what you can do is you click on this track so that it's selected, and at the top-right you have this here that looks like a diagonal line, it says divide track list, just click that and then you can drag your note track up into this area and now you have two windows. So you have a top window that has it's own zooming settings and it's own scrolling location. And then you have this bottom area where your project is. And so you can scroll up and down in your project and then still see your note tracks at the top like so. See? And then you can, it's a lot easier to see where things apply. But you could also use a marker track like this. And you can always see your markers at the top too. You can keep adding track in this upper area and you can keep adding tracks in this lower area too. So it's a good way of basically managing your session. And then the way that we actually backed up the project is the same way that you would give the project to someone else. So if you were working with multiple people on a project, the steps that I went through to backup the project, just do the same exact thing and that's called mobilizing the project. It allows you to send it to someone else. And then the last thing that I have for you is some nifty little key commands. So if you, let's say you're working on vocal compression settings for your song, and you have a bunch of vocal tracks and they're all compressed. You can actually select all of those tracks and part of how I setup my insert chains is I make sure that I keep my compressor in the same insert so I have the compressor is always on insert three for all these tracks, right? And all these tracks are related. They're like all the singing tracks. So if I hold Alt and Shift at the same time I can turn on and off all of the compressors at the same time. I can bypass all of the compressors at the same time. I can also load an EQ plugin all the way across. And you can just, I'm still holding Alt and Shift on the keyboard. So I'm holding Alt and Shift, choose a plugin, like this. And it will get copy and pasted all the way across. And then I can do no effect and it'll remove the effect. I'm still holding Alt and Shift, removes that effect from all the inserts as well. I can turn off these plugins as I need to. And then also if you have a setting, let's say we have a high-pass filter that we want to copy and paste all the vocals. I'm gonna remove all these. So here's our high-pass filter that we have coming into the vocal. You can hold Shift and then you put your mouse over this number here and that allows you to start dragging the insert to different inserts, as well. As long as you're holding Shift and you drop it, it will copy and paste that plugin and all it's settings into that insert. So you can, as you can see here I can just keep copying pasting this to all the vocals. Now let's say you have a vocal chain that you like and you wanna put it on all your vocal tracks. You left-click on the track so that it's selected and then you go over here and there's a little button that looks like a copy symbol and you're gonna click on that button to copy those settings. And then I'm gonna click on the empty track, the first one, and I'm gonna hold Shift and click on the last empty track so that I select all the empty tracks. And then I'm gonna hit this clipboard thing that looks like a paste symbol, click that, and it will paste that chain into every single track and set all the settings exactly the same. That takes a minute. And then finally if you want to be able to control all those tracks exactly the same, you can select them all like this, and then you can right-click on one of the selected tracks and click link channels and that allows you to link the faders only. So the only thing that gets linked is the faders. And then you can move the faders up and down. And then when you don't want them to be used anymore, you just click one of the tracks so it selects all of them and then you do unlink channels, and now you have control over each one individually again. And those are a couple of, basically a couple of tips and tricks for Cubase that allow you to speed up your mixing workflow. When you're channel's linked like that can you still move them individually by holding down another key command so you don't have to always link and unlink? Good question. Yes, hold Alt. And just found that out for the first time ever. Yeah everything you're doing is pretty similar to a Pro Tools type thing just a different way. Which is pretty normal I guess. Well I like the folder system and I know Pro Tools doesn't have that. Yeah that's kind of the only one where I was like oh that's cool, other than that it's like everything else. There's just different ways to get around the same type of process. I really live and die by the folders. I would be screwed if I didn't have that feature 'cause some of my sessions are like 200 tracks, and it's really hard to get around. And so yeah, that's a really big time saver. It also helps with the stem creation, because I like to have my stems individually mastered. There's really no other way to do it. And I think new versions of Cubase, this is Cubase 6. by the way, newer versions of Cubase like Cubase eight, I believe have the ability to automatically bounce all of the stems, going through the master chain. I think that's like an actual feature, like it says bounce audio going through master chain, like you can turn it on and it will individually do that, so. I should probably get Cubase eight so that I can stop doing that manually because it takes forever.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His sound is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in this class, he’ll show you the unique mixing techniques that are key to getting it.

This class picks up where Joey’s Studio Pass class left off: you’ve got your session tracked and edited, now how do you turn it into a polished, world-class mix? 

He’ll show you how to get his signature sound, including: 

  • EQ and compression strategies for drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and synths/effects 
  • How to use automation to fix problem areas and bring out the song’s dynamics 
  • Tons of little tips and tricks to take your mix from good to great 

If you want to elevate the quality of your mix, don’t miss Mixing Master Class with Joey Sturgis.

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I don't work exclusively in the same genre as Joey but I always make sure to clear my schedule when he's on CreativeLive. This class definitely didn't disappoint and it was awesome getting to see Joey work on a track from start to finish and what his approaches and thought processes are. And not only that, but I appreciate that he briefly touches on client communication in regards to production, mixing, etc, and the business side to the mixing process as this is an area I'm just now dipping my toes in. Even though I often find myself on the rock, indie or post-rock side of things, a lot of these ideas can apply to anything you're working on and I definitely picked up some ideas to try and work on myself. Joey gives you enough to inspire you and make that light bulb click and does it with an admirable humility that I respect. He gives you more than enough on how and why he does what he does, but I never feel like he reveals all his secrets or magic; I honestly prefer it that way as it leaves a fun challenge of taking the ideas you've learned and figuring out how, when and where you're going to use them in your own mixes. Especially if you're not doing predominantly metal, like I am. The ideas are inspiring. This class isn't about those perfect settings to that phenomenal mix or tone; it's about why you do this and how you do that. It's cool to be able to watch his process and pick his brain, start to finish and all in the box. Joey definitely doesn't need to do these classes for us, but the more I see him getting active on social media the more I get this vibe that he genuinely wants to help make the creative and mixing processes easier and help us expand our knowledge and skills. I get that it's smart business, but I respect and appreciate the hell out of him for taking time to do these classes and answer our questions... Even if there are shameless plugs here and there. I love when these great engineers take time to show us you don't need school, you don't need thousands of dollars of outboard gear, etc. It's your ear, not your gear. We live in an amazing day and age with the Internet and awesome resources like CreativeLive. I love it and these are great classes to watch and get in their heads. It set gets the hamster wheel in my head spinning and I always keep CreativeLive classes on my calendar. They're motivating and inspiring. Looking forward to the next one!


I’ll start off by saying this a amazing class not just for those looking for or interested in “The Sturg” production, but for anyone interested in mixing or mastering. You get everything from the must have fundamentals and basics of mixing and production, to the more advance technical aspects, and of course Joey’s personal approach and method to mixing. Everything from EQ, to compressors, multiband compressors, automation and chain signals. If you ever wondered whether you should place delay in front of your reverb, or reverb in front of delay, or other common chain effects, chances are they get answered in this class. The class is organized in several lessons following a logical order, each covering different topics. All the techniques are shown with examples and Joey does a great job of making it easy to understand and follow as well as explain the reasoning behind the techniques. And it’s not just mixing or production that is covered, but the importance of good songwriting, good communication with artists and good workflow. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to take their mixing or production to the next level. Regardless of skillset, if you’re a noob, intermediate or advanced mixer or producer, you’ll find very helpful and informative lessons, regardless of what style or genre you do.

a Creativelive Student

I own both of Joey`s courses. While both are full of useful information to get you started in the audio production world with lots of good technical explanation and awesome concepts for a fast and individual workflow, Joey actually comes up with average or "mediocre" mixes and tones. If you want some really detailed information about how Joey works, this class is for you. If you want to know what plugins Joey likes to use and wanna see him promote his own plugins, this class is for you! If you expect to learn how to create or come up with outstanding guitar and bass tones (which Joey is famous for) you won`t learn much and won`t hear anything in this particular regard, unfortunately. However, I`d still recomment them, especially the first course he did but again, if you expect to hear a typical Joey Sturgis mix quality, you won`t find what you`re looking for.