Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp


Lesson Info

Routing and Bussing

Welcome to day 13 of my recording bootcamp. This is Eyal Levi and you're watching Creative Live. And if you're here for the first time, you don't know what's going on, well we've spent the last 12 days going through pre-pro all the way through recording with the band Monuments. Yes, the band Monuments that you've heard of. They're really, really good. So at this point we're getting going on mixing stuff. If this is your first time, I would suggest buying the course, going back to the beginning, and watching all the way up 'til this point, so that it makes a lot of sense, and you're familiar with the tracks that we're about to start working with. But for those of you who have been following along up until this point, we salute you, and let's get going with this. So, I have Pro Tools. This here is a session that my engineer, John Douglas, sent back to me, of the song. Now, I would normally say that when he sends me back prepped mixes that they're ready to go, but this one's not. This one...

's not. I have a different idea for it, and it's so much more complex in the arrangement than most, that I want to work with it, and just make it an easier mix. There's also a few other factors that make this more complicated than usual, which are that I still have all the different options that we made while tracking. Normally, I would have gotten rid of those by now, but for the sake of this class, I've kept them in there. For instance, we used multiple guitar cabinets. Here's the rectocav with the dual rec. We didn't like that, I would have gotten rid of it, but just for the purposes of this class, it's in there. As you can see, we've got the bass DI and then this huge bass chain that we made. By the time I got to mixing on a regular album, I would have had one or two tracks here. So this is a little bit more, I don't want to say convoluted, but there's more information here than I'm comfortable just starting to mix. As you can see, that's lots of tracks. Before anything though, let me show you some of the pre pro moves that John employed in order to get me started, because still this, this really does get me closer to being able to mix than I was before. And I'm talking by many hours, or maybe even a day or two. So start with the drums. If you notice, right now we're at the the toms and the close mic cymbals, as you can see, they're all manually gated. No noise between them. It's the hat, ride, stack and china. And then, same deal with the toms right here. It's pretty self-explanatory. The rules that I follow for this is that in general, you don't want these to, these tails to be longer than 300 milliseconds, unless, if it's a section where a tom rings out after the music stops, like say the chorus ends, and the bridge starts with one guitar, and tom is ringing out, yeah, let that sucker ring out. So okay, so the cymbals are all cleaned. The toms are all cleaned. He even printed me a slate room. He printed me some of the standard samples that I use, though I don't know if I'm gonna use them this time, he left them in here for me to pick. I might add some other ones of my own. And he did the same with kik, added a couple samples. As well as that he routed everything to buses. So as you can see, these cymbals are going to the cymbal bus, which is then going to the drum bus, which is... Where are you drum bus? It was right here. So as you can see, all of the individual busses, like here's a kik bus. You see all the kiks. See that they're output is kik. Here's kik, they're all going to this kik bus, which is then going to the drum bus, which is then going to the mix master. And that makes sense to me, but I'm going to simplify things a little bit more. I'm gonna keep talking about this before I do that. So above that, I've got the midi for the drums. And that's in case I want to lay any of my own samples. He was cool enough to align midi for everything, and now I can drop samples, or do whatever I need to with midi for the whole song. And he also gave me super gated snare, gated kik, and gated tom options. As you can see, they're super, super short. The reason for that is, is a very live room. So he gave me this option as well, even though I probably won't use it. He did the same thing with the bass. As you can see, all the basses go to a base bus, which then goes to the master, and you know, all follow suit through here. Clean guitars, lead guitars, harmony vocals, lead vocals, screaming vocals, vocal effects, and then up to this master chain area. And the way that it works is that you've got mix master, and then master. And all the tracks are routed to mix master, because it has master bus stuff, minus the limiting. The limiting is on it's own track. That way we can print out of this track, a non-limited quiet track. Simultaneously, this mix master quiet track gets routed up to the master track, goes through the limiter and prints at the same time. So we get limited and unlimited for, so one for you to listen to, and one for your clients to listen to. It's important to always send clients a limited mix. Back in the day when lots of people didn't master their own work, maybe it was okay to send quieter mixes to people, and they would be able to tell the difference. Nowadays, everyone's used to everything slammed, loud. So send them limited mixes, because if not, they'll think your mixes suck. Trust me on this, everybody does that now. So as you can see, this is probably gonna get a little complicated for me. And I'll just have to show you a few of the reasons why. Even though John did a really good job, there's a few things here that are just not going to work for me. Like for instance, cleans and leads are going to the same bus. I don't want that. I want to effect cleans and leads differently. So that's one thing. And then I also noticed down here that, that I have my rooms, and my cymbal mikes all going to cymbal, so I don't have a bus for just rooms. And that's not going to work for me either. So we're gonna fix that, and just go throughout and make sure that everything is going to an appropriate bus. Also, since there's so many different things going on at the same time, I want to be able to mix on as few channels as possible, rather than jumping around all this time to make a change. What I'm gonna do, I'm giving you guys an overview, and then I'm gonna just go do it. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna set up that all of the individual instrument busses route to a master for that instrument that I'm gonna set up right here. So for instance, right now, you've got vocal scream is a bus that goes to the mix master. Vocal sing lead and vocal sing background also go to the mix master, and then vocal effects also go to the mix master. But instead, I'm gonna create a channel here that's just vocals, and all of the vocals tracks go to that, and then that goes to the mix master. And I'm gonna do the same for drums, guitar, bass, extra guitars and synth. And that way, I'll be able to mix it all on seven faders, and then if I need to make additional changes, automations or whatever, then I can do go down to the individual tracks and fix them there. But at least I'll be able to get a lot of the balancing and a lot of stuff done just on seven faders that are all in field of view. Because right now, this is gonna be confusing with all this jumping around. So let's start with, let's start with that. So first things first, gonna make some tracks. Like I said, it was seven. I'm gonna make them auxes, and then I will also make a print version. These will be audio. The reason I'm doing seven and seven is because, what's really cool about this is that I'll be able to then send, send the audio from these auxes to this print track, and then print stems, too. So I'll be able to print stems, and print mastered and non-mastered versions of this mix all at the same time. So there we go. So let's just get started. Drum aux, bass aux, guitar aux rhythm, lead clean aux, vocal aux, synth aux, okay. Well, I guess that's one less, one more than I thought I needed, cool. Now I will do the same with these print tracks. So drum print, bass print, rhythm guitar print, lead clean print, vocal print, synth print. All right. Delete that extra guy. All right, so I don't know if you remember all the way back to day one, when I was talking about doing a tracking template, and setting up your templates. I talked about naming your auxes. Well, now you're going to see why I really like to name auxes. It really, really helps a lot. So I clearly want to be able to send stuff to these here, so let's go to the I/O. As you can see, I've got some already named. Like mix master and drums, tuned, vox Fx, that's good, yay. Let's just start with drum aux, rhythm guitar aux, vocal aux, synth aux. Okay. And then, we'll call this drum print, bass print, rhythm guitar print, lead and clean print, voc print, and I'm gonna skip down here or go up here. Looks like I've still got a few up here, so voc print, and then I'll take this one and call it synth print. Okay, so... first things first, I want these auxes to all kind of look the same. So I want to give them, oh God dammit. I did it again. There we go. All right, that's fine. I was gonna recolor everything anyways. All right. Okay, so drum aux. Because you can see, all I'm doing is I'm setting the auxes to actually input to the channels they're supposed to input to. Okay, cool. I'll run a test in a second but, I'm gonna set this up first. Okay. Drum print. Where are we at? Bass print, rhythm guitar print, voc print and where did my synth print go? I don't see it. I don't see it, where is it? Oh. That should work. Synth print, all right. Now I'm gonna make these a group so I can arm them all at once. And I'm gonna just call it stem print group. And I wanna be able to mute them, solo them, record enable them, volume them, cool. And now, I choose to turn the volume down. And I choose to hide them. Okay, so now on a send, you want to make sure that you're sending to those print tracks. Now, once you have this set up once, you're never gonna really need to do it again. And I do have some templates that do this for you. But I don't have a template that's quite like what I'm gonna be building now. I've got templates that have different aspects of it. So lots of you who have seen my full templates that have all of this routing done, didn't totally understand how the routing was made, or why it was made. I've gotten a lot of questions about that. So I'm attempting to show you how this is constructed, and why it's constructed that way so that it makes a little bit more sense. But yeah. Even in this particular case, I would probably be making a custom template for this band, even though I have templates already that will route the stems out. I've never quite done something exactly the way I'm about to do it. So anyways, these stems on this individual auxes need to be routed to go to the print tracks. Remember, we just made print tracks. So this has to go, drum aux has to go to drum print. Let's find it, drum print. Crazy, right? Now this one has to go to bass print. Crazy, rhythm guitar print, leads and clean print, vocal print, and notice I'm turning it up so that it actually delivers signal. That's kind of crucial. There's no point in doing anything unless you're gonna get some signal going through it. And where is my synth print? Maybe it was at the top. There we go, synth print. All right, and just because I'm the paranoid type, neurotic and paranoid, I'm going to just test this once. So I'm just gonna put the synth track right here. I'm going to unhide the synth print, synth, synth print, synth aux. Will it play? (electronic music) Cool, oh now I gotta send the synth to my synth aux. That would help too. (electronic music) Whoops. There we go. This actually goes to the mix master. There it goes. (electronic music) So just gonna, I'm gonna just track this real quick, give you an example so, then I'll track it with mastering and without. Woot! (electronic music) All right that's long enough, but check it out. Two different versions right here. And even though it made it to here through the master chain, I also got myself a stem right here. So it worked, I had the volume down but, it worked, so you can set this up for all your tracks. If you do it like this, like I was saying, this is how you can print your stems and print the master, and print not mastered all at the same time. That's why it works this way. That's why it's cool. The step that I added, the step that I added was to add these auxes right here. And the reason I did that, again was so that I can reduce this mix down to seven faders, a lot of the time, at least for basic balances. And I can do some final things to glue everything together before sending it to the master. My previous template didn't have that step, and the previous template would have gone straight to the master and straight to the stems print. But I have successfully added that step, and I am now gonna rehide these tracks, and keep going with this session. Well, synth I don't need to hide. All right, so what else are we working with still? Seven masters, now make them red. How about this red? Nah, I like that red. Cool. I hope everyone at Creative Live likes that red, too.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce

What comes with purchase of the class?


Intro to Bootcamp
Purpose of Pre-Production
Technical Side of Preproduction
Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
Pre-Production: Importing Stems
Pre-Production: Click Track
Creating Tracking Templates
Intro and the Tone Pie
Drums - Lay of the Land
Bearing Edges
Wood Types
Depths and Sizes
Sticks and Beaters
Drum Heads
Drum Tuning
Drum Mic Placement Intro
Basic Drum Mic Setup
Cymbal Mic Setup
Touch Up Tuning
Microphone Choice and Placement
Drum Tracking Intro
Getting Tones and Final Placement
Primary Tracking
Punching In and Comping Takes
Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking
Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out
Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement
Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain
Finalizing Amplifier Tone
Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin
Intro to Rhythm Tracking
Setting Up Guitars
Working with a Guitarist
Final Guitar Tone and Recap
Guitar Tracking with John
Guitar Tracking with Ollie
Final Tracking
Tracking Quads
Intro to Bass Tone
Bass Tone Setup
Bass Tone Mic Placement
Bass Tracking
Intro to Clean and Lead Tones
Clean Guitar Tones
Lead Tones
Vocal Setup for Tracking
Vocal Mic Selection and Setup
Vocal Mic Shootout
Lead Vocal Tracking
Writing Harmonies
Harmony Vocal Tracking
Vocal Warm Ups
Scream Vocal Tracking
Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction
Vocal Tuning and Editing
Routing and Bussing
Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels
Setting Up Parallel Compression
Setting Up Drum Triggers
Gain Staging and Trim
Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ
Drum Mixing - Snare
Drum Mixing - Kick
Drum Mixing - Toms
Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms
Drum Mixing Recap
Mixing Bass Guitar
Mixing Rhythm Guitars
Basic Vocal Mix
Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars
Mixing - Automation
Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


  • I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.
  • Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.
  • Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.