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Mixing Master Class

Lesson 3 of 13

Macros and Actions for Cleaning Up Tracks


Mixing Master Class

Lesson 3 of 13

Macros and Actions for Cleaning Up Tracks


Lesson Info

Macros and Actions for Cleaning Up Tracks

So we're going to start off by cleaning up some of the track. Now, this is a little time consuming. As I mentioned in the first segment, there's some time consuming elements to setting up to mix. But one of things I really like about this that if we zoom out a little bit, you could see that all the all the items of playing it looks like they're playing all the time. Obviously, they're levels are up and down like this, but if you clean it up a little bit more like getting trimming these things down a little bit so they look like this makes it what it easy to see when they come in. So I could take a little time to do that, and it is a little time consuming, so I just wanted to let you know ahead of time. Now, before I do that, I'm gonna show you a few different things. Little one is, and I probably should have done this. Showing this earlier is a feature on Reaper called Locking. Now, if you go right up here to this toolbar right here, it's a lot and right click it and everything in Reap...

er is all about right clicking. So if you're not sure how to use anything in Reaper, you hit right click or two fingers on the track pad and opens up the settings for that feature. Now, if we turn our locking right here, there's a bunch of different parameters to decide what is being locked and for mixing. There's certain things you don't want to accidentally do. One of them is move items. Two different tracks, which in that situation would be our up and down movement. So if you click this and I grab this item right here, I can't put it up on this track, which you see, I move the nothing right, which is bad. So I will undo that. But you can't move it to a different track. So, um, make sure I didn't move it again. I did not all these paranoid about moving things accidentally, which is why I'm showing this feature. So we're gonna turn on up and down movement being locked. The other one is the one. I was just showing you left and right movement. We turn that on, I no longer can go like this can go up down or to side to side, so it makes it a lot easier when you're mixing not to make a mistake, and you don't want to change the timing of when he attracts that way. So it's a good thing to walk. And if you look at any others, I'm not sure we need the others right now. Like I'd images or volume stretch markers, envelopes, the other stuffs all good. Just wanted to change that. So when you mixing, it's a good idea to turn that on, so we will zoom out and start cleaning things up. So let's go to our first track. Oh, I should show you a few other things. Um, Reaper is one of those, uh, one of the great things about Reaper is that it's very customizable. And because of that, you can really work the way you want to, instead of being conformed, to work the way it's set up, figure with the defaults, which are good. You can also change them. So I'm gonna show you if you change that. I made that make it will quickly to do what we're gonna do right now, which is clean up our tracks. Now. You could obviously, by default, just go. I left here, see how the cursor changes and then bring this up to clean this up a little bit, and that works fine. But it's a little bit slow. And it's not gonna work on a track like this that zoomed in this much. Nothing we could do a zoom in, click it hit, asked to split it and then just delete this. That works fine as well. But I'm gonna show you a few little tricks and we'll be using along the way. And I think it goes a little bit quicker. And I'm not gonna clean up things like this where it plays in between these notes. I'm just gonna clean up big sections like this. So I know that now they're not playing and we'll go to the end here. So he has some other things called mouse modifiers. I want to show you Let's go to our preferences. And if we go to media items down over here, this is something I customized under control for a Mac which would be command on PC by default. This is turned off. The fourth action is nothing there so that by holding this modifier down and left dragging. You're not gonna actually do anything, But it's a few things you could do that are hidden. And one of them is to where in the item is to Marquis. Where's mine thing? Mark? He slept items. So if we choose, just select now I can whenever I'm in an item like this, like hold on control and I could select like this actually want to do something different. Let's go back to that. I'm gonna make this marquee select items and time selection that's gonna do, do the same thing. So it created construction as well, and I can cut that section. It's gone. I also created custom action. I want to show you in our actions menu. Now, another thing that's great about Reaper is you can do matter create Mac Rose in the program. So actions are everything you do like cutting and pasting. Whatever you want to do is an action. Ah, custom action is a group of them. So I'm creating one here called customer custom. Remove. So if we go toe edit this, you could see these. The action is gonna happen when we perform that one action with a custom action. This one's removed from that area of items, which is what we just did before when I cut it. But it's also gonna move the time selection and then on unset all items. I'll show you why you'd want that. And it's triggered by Control D on the Mac, which would be commanding on the PC. So let's undo that cutting made before. Normally, if I do this, I slept from here to here and I make that cut. I still have the time selection, and I still have these things here. I can clear the time section by hitting escape, and I could just click here toe on select those. But by doing that with one step, it's a little bit quicker. So it's undo all that and do it with my custom action by hidden control D and you see it cleans it up a bit better. So that's one thing I wanted to show you to make this a little bit quicker warships a lot quicker. So I'm gonna clean up in this section here, just go down a little bit. These are live germs here, something to make sure they fade out quicker. Fade out before you do this way, live drums on and just cut the samples because I want to lose that crash symbol way. What zoom out and nothing wanted to show you in the mouse modifiers is if we go to track and we go left drag. There's one here called Marquis Zoom again. This was off by default, but I created this one because wasn't being used down here called Marquis Zoom. You could see it's not one of the defaults, so it's kind of hidden what I think toe use. And if I go into a track, hold down control. I'm sorry. Go around the track. Not the item turns into this little Matt magnifying glass so I could zoom in to the just this section right here and it zooms the whole screen to that and I make I made another action, which is in my actions menu here. I'm just showing you these cookies are entered in the default. So I created. I don't want to get confuses what he's what He's actually knowing what I'm actually doing. And if you go to, uh, previous zoom in the filter, she is option right down here Restore previous zoom level. I made a control Z which again it's not set by the fall. This is usually turned off, but you can hit ad the control Z and add it. Now I won't use the previous zoom level what I'm doing with my marquee zoom so I could go back to the previous whom I had before. So I can quickly hold on the control zooming to just this area here and revert to it or previous zoom by hitting controls. A So that is what I'm gonna be doing in this moment right here. So, for instance, right here we have this end of snare here and it doesn't play again over here. So I could just hit, split and just tweet it. Or I could zoom in with what I just showed you to get closer to it, split it and then deleted and going by previous suit. So I'm gonna just go through and do some of this cleaning apart again. This is the end of the song, so I don't wanna erase any crashes. I'm gonna leave us here that soon out and let's go to the beginning of these are drones, which is right here. Here's our live drums so they don't come into here, so I will split it, delete it, do the same with this guy. Zoom out. It just makes it easy to see where it's entrances. And it's more noticeable on these tracks here, which don't play quite as often. What soon, in my zoom tool, get close to these three tracks. Go and split them all right here, Previous, Soon that Now this one's been working a big area. So I will go from here, you hear? And just cut thumb come out to mean go. You could see it makes it a little bit easier to see when each instrument actually coming in shakers to some of the beginning parts here to do boo boo troll human on all these a little bit more. I've been told before I can use dynamic sport to do the same thing which is built in, which does work well for cutting up your items based on silence, but also is gonna make a lot of little pieces here because it's silent. I don't want that. I want to make these big cuts to me. These checks a little smaller. Let's see them doing correctly. Can a little nitpicky here? That's good. We'll just split this one now. The tracks were very noisy. These tracks are actually, well, pretty cleaned up, but hip in my time explained if the tracks were noisy, you want to go in and actually clean them up so faded and faded out when there's not actually noise happening. But I'm not doing any of that. This is just all dead space on cleaning up right now. It's clean this up. Tan Marine doesn't play here nuclear That piece. It's also nice about this. Part of it is, it gives me a chance to relax. Sometimes I'll actually listen to other music or talk radio or something. Just toe clear my mind of the song that's gonna work on. So I'm not so stuck in it so I can kind of do this and get a little was zoned out as to, uh, the song I'm actually working on and work on clear my mind to the mixing task at hand. Kenny, when you're when you're mixing and doing projects like this, do you take intentional your brakes? Do you like, Yeah, some guys will take, like, five minutes every hour or so. I don't want you back soon, but I try to do a task oriented. In other words, if I'm doing if you say Let's say the vocals have to call it the arts and I go, I get the vocals cartoons. Okay, if I to move few notes that say, Yeah, no problem, just to make it sound good in that head space of tuning their vocal is very different head space for mixing. So I will take an hour, say, get the vocal tuned and then I'll go off and do something else. And it's not just a break. Not a 5 10 actually have to do something completely different. Like I said, cleaning my house, mow my lawn, going to the store, actually take an hour or two and break my day up into those different spaces. Have dinner with my family because then you really start over, you know, in terms of really thinking like okay, now sitting down completely fresh. I mean thinking about the fact that I tuned that vocal because a lot of times we used to say one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and I've done this many times, is tracking vocals and then mixing assault because you every single time you coming next day those vocals away to that Because you've become so focused on vocals, you forget your stop thinking about everything else. You need to come in with complete first perspective and not thinking about the tuning of the vocals, not thinking about any other kind of things. So those brakes are very important. I would say the more breaks, the better. It's hard because I mean, I mix from home, so it makes it a lot easier to do other things. You make phone calls and things like that. You're in the studio. If you're paying per hour, it makes it hard to take it to have a break. But as many as you can really does. Help helps the mixing process so much. In fact, one of things I discovered and I probably won't approach it this way today is once like everything ready. I'll make a quick mix in about like, one or two hours, and then we take another break and listen to a completely fresh and see what jumps out at me, because sometimes you get to the thing which everyone calls the rabbit hole where you're mixing a song for, say, eight hours straight of really just digging into every single track. And you lose focus on the most important things. He wasn't with the next day like, Wow, the guy I got this wrong. I got this wrong and you Instead, it focused on things that didn't matter as much. So you do that thing called quick mixing you quickly come back to it with fresh ears and go, OK, I spend He spent an hour or two on this what really needs the most work, which and then I focus on that. You find you make so much quicker because all those things that you worked on, that didn't matter. You're not going to spend time on and the things that really jumped out at matter you get it right that time. And then you come back to the next day. You probably want to change anything because you are. You mixed it with go clean perspective. She actually boy that mixing the whole thing in 2/3 as much time If I have the time, we got some questions from looking questions. Internet. Just about vocals while we're on the topic. Sure. Um, aren't you scared that the unedited vocals, uh, are unedited? Vocal is to free to find a suitable place in the premix unedited vocals to vote. It is too dynamic to find a place in the Roughnecks know that there is no question about it. That's why, with first things we're gonna do is get the vocal to set a little better in the mix. There's no question about that. Which is why I mentioned at the end of the last segment that getting a vocalist sound at least close 75% of way there is so important before we even start tackling anything else, Okay? Sid wants to know. How do you keep the rough mix from influencing the original version of the song that you had before you started? When mixing? Sometimes I lose track of where I want to go with the mix or how to get there because you're stuck on what the rough mix was. Yeah. Um, tell the truth. I don't really revisit if I actually print a rough mix. I assume you're talking about not the rough mix. I just made the same in rough mix. Unless they've tracking and you're going back to it, how do you not get influenced by it? I will usually listen to that rough mix to see what I liked about it, and then I put it away. I don't think about it, and then I just go mixed the song and then I'll go back to at the end and this into and go. Is there anything I missed? But I really don't try to go back and forth constantly, doesn't want to match it. And sometimes you do get into that battle where the label of the artist is like. I like something better about the Murph mix, and it's like you like drums better because the drums were tend to be lower than everything else. I can't do that unless you really want to mix that way. So you do have those battles. You have to deal with the times, but I really try to. If I didn't like my rough makes, I want us into it at all. And if I did like it, one of the artists liked it. I wasn't too in the beginning. Think about mentally what I want to keep from that and what I want to fix Bix the song and then maybe go back to at the end of go. Is there anything I missed that was better on the rough first this, but I really don't try to chase going back and forth in between. I try to really just take a fresh perspective on it. So I think everything is clear and now is actually one of the spot I could also clean up. You see, this is a little bit easier to look at. I know took a little time to do, but for me at least I find this a lot easier to look at it with acoustic guitars on coming into here. These guitars come here and he's coming here and my background vocals Air coming in here to clean that up a little bit. It's not gonna make much noise unless the recording was noisy, but But it will make it easy to tell for song region purposes when everything comes in and comes out just visually because one of things about mixing in ah Rygel analog mixer versus in the computers they can visualize at the same time. Where is the old days? We used to have the track running and you didn't know until the track came in when actually playing. Now we have this visual map off when things are coming in and out, so I like to take advantage of that.

Class Description

Kenny Gioia is a multi-platinum engineer and producer behind pop and rock records from the likes of Bayside, American Authors, Ingrid Michaelson, and Mandy Moore. He is also a trusted educator and founder of

In this mixing masterclass, Kenny will walk you through his specific mixing techniques getting top-40 friendly mixes entirely inside the box in Reaper. He will cover:

  • EQ, compression and dynamics
  • Reverb, delay and time-based effects
  • Vocal automation and vocal tone
  • Drum, guitar and bass mixing techniques
  • Mix-buss and pre-mastering tricks
If you’ve been looking for a way to get that big studio sound from your bedroom DAW setup, Kenny will show you how to get your mixes sounding like they’re radio-ready.



this is really great mixing course, kenny has a great workflow and i learned quite a lot and it was easy to undestand, and i dont even use reaper, what you learn in this course applys to all daw and tools, which is great

Evan Phillips | Alaska

Kenny's Mixing Master Class blew my mind. His workflow and level of organization during mixing is a real eye opener. I'm also a longtime Reaper user so this is an excellent all around resource for me. I feel like I just stepped up my game. Thanks Kenny!

J Dawsun

Great course for quick dive into the typical mixing tasks! Recommend!

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