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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 24 of 27

Production Mixing - Bass

Joey Sturgis

Mixing Master Class

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

24. Production Mixing - Bass

Lesson Info

Production Mixing - Bass

Missing tons of bass. Let's see what we have. Looks like three tracks: Amp Direct, Shure Mic, and Bass Sub. So, let's check out what they sound like. (distorted bass) Cool. (distorted bass) And... (distorted bass) So, three different mics. For the sub I'm gonna filter out everything, and just leave those low frequencies. (low sub bass) And I'm gonna put the limiter on there again. Smooth out the dynamics in that. (louder sub bass) And then, I'm gonna get that balance right with how I have my mix right now. So, mute the other bass channels, and keep the vocals muted. All I got is guitars and drums, and then the sub mic. (heavy rock music) This is a point in the song where I kinda go through and see what the different parts are to make sure that there's not anything super weird that I should be worried about. (heavy rock music) Awesome. And for the bass top end, I only wanna use, I think I only wanna use one of these, so I'm gonna see which one I like better. (distorted bass) I like that...

microphone better, so I'm gonna just turn this one off. And use the mic. And then, go back here to the beginning, and mix in this mic stem as well. (heavy rock music) So yeah, I don't really hear it happening, so it looks like it needs some more accent, or focus EQ. I'll check it out. The other thing is I need to get rid of the low end on here as well, as we're only using the low end from the actual sub. (distorted bass) I loaded distortion, let's see what it sounds like. (distorted bass) Okay, definitely not what I want there, so I'm gonna get rid of that. It helps to have a bunch of different distortion plug-ins at your disposal for times where you can't find you know, the exact sound that you want. There's actually a lot of good distortions in POD Farm as well. Let's see if I can try... I like this classic distortion. (distorted bass) Cool, and then I'm gonna use a limiter to bring up the volume for it. (distorted bass) And then, see if I can get that into my mix. (heavy rock music) So, there's a couple frequencies that kinda stick out as I do that. So go back in, I'm gonna make a few EQ adjustments here. (distorted bass) I'm gonna check and see what kind of bass tone there was on the reference. (heavy rock music) So yeah, it doesn't need to be as loud. (heavy rock music) (distorted bass) (heavy rock music) And then, let's see. So, we've got our guitars, we've got our bass, we've got the drums. We're going to now start to involve some mastering chain. And, let's start with, for this I'm gonna use a different compressor I think, maybe... Let's try the V-Comp. (heavy rock music) No analog, and then setting your input... Actually, let's set our release to 100 milliseconds, and our attack kinda slow. (heavy rock music) This is the, this side right here is for the limiting, so this side's for your compression. So, set your release as quick as it'll let you. And then your ratio, I would say maybe a three to one or a two to one. You can go four, it's a little aggressive. I don't think I need it, so I'm gonna go with three. (heavy rock music) Yeah, this compressor's huge, love it. So that sounds good to me. Now I'm gonna put a little bit of multi-band in there, starting with the linear phase multi-band compression. Use this to kinda just control the overall balance of all the frequencies. You can get a nice little... I guess you can flatten it out more with this, and I'll show you how to use it. So, if you have this plug-in it's pretty intimidating if you don't understand sort of the steps to use it. So, always like to start with setting the threshold. And you'll see the input of the audio in each band right here in these little bars. (heavy rock music) So, just enough to barely kiss it, and then you can set your range. You know, the more you increase the... The more you increase the range, the more it reacts to the audio, so. (heavy rock music) Then you have your behavior, which can be opto or electro. The electro behavior is quicker, the opto behavior is more slow and relaxed. Depends on what you're going for. I want it to be on electro. And then, I'm gonna treat the lower band a little bit differently than the others. So, I'm gonna solo this band, and actually while I'm listening, change the attack and release settings so that I can kind of properly work with the low end and react to what's happening there. You'll see what I mean, so. (low rumble) So, when I have the attack on zero, you can see that it's reacting quite a bit. If my attack is more like a hundred, a lot less reaction. I want just enough to where I'm letting the punch of the kick through, but I'm still taming that low end. (heavy rock music) I don't think the high end needs any more compression, so I actually back off the threshold a little bit there. (heavy rock music) Awesome. Now, let's add in our limiter, so we can get our loudness. Always set this margin to negative zero point three, because you have a... There's a point three decibel error window that you have to worry about, so when you overshoot when you're limiting some peaks will jump out, and the industry standard maximum ceiling point is zero point two, so having it negative zero point three means that any of your overshoots will stay below that negative zero point two industry standard ceiling. (heavy rock music) And if you're actually, you know, mastering your track, I'll try to explain a few things real quickly to you about this particular window, because it's kind of a mystery to a lot of people, so. Your mode is the type of algorithm that's being used to do the limiting, and I have found that the IRC two is my favorite one. You can experiment with the others. Hard and soft are more like compressors, not much like a limiter. The character is basically the release, so if you have your character all the way up then the release will be really slow, and it won't be very loud, like this. (heavy rock music) I like to have mine pretty much around one, fast and loud. Transient recovery can help you basically recover the transients (laughs). Anywhere from zero to 200's kind of just a relative number. Stereo link will cause the limiter to not treat the left and right signals differently, it'll treat them both exactly the same. And then, dithering mode. So, for dithering, I just use the MBIT plus, with the noise shaping on lightest, and the dither amount on low. And then I turn on auto-blanking, limit peaks, harmonic suppression, and DC filter. That's the settings I use for mastering, I did a bunch of research on it, and you can trust me, those are the best. (heavy rock music) Cool, so actually kinda compares pretty well to the reference mix.

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.



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.