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Mixing Bass Guitar

Lesson 34 from: Studio Pass: Periphery

Adam "Nolly" Getgood, Matt Halpern

Mixing Bass Guitar

Lesson 34 from: Studio Pass: Periphery

Adam "Nolly" Getgood, Matt Halpern

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Lesson Info

34. Mixing Bass Guitar

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is mixing bass guitar.


  • What is the core DI sound of the bass guitar and why is it important?
  • What are the drawbacks of micing a bass cabinet?
  • Why did the instructor choose to use a DI instead of micing a cabinet?
  • What effects and plugins are used to shape the bass tone?
  • How does the instructor use EQ to enhance the bass sound?
  • What is the purpose of the multi-band compressor on the bass track?
  • How does the instructor use a limiter on the bass track?
  • Why does the instructor use a tape machine plugin on the bass track?
  • How does the instructor use a side-chained EQ to blend the bass and kick drum?
  • Do you recommend using reverb on the bass?

Lesson Info

Mixing Bass Guitar

I think the next thing that we'll look at is the bass guitar, and for the Juggernaut sessions, I just recorded DI to a channel a tube pre amp I believe. But the core DI sound is really really good from the basis I use. I use Dingwall basis and they've never kind of failed to surprise me just how aggressive they sound on their own. I'm just gonna bypass all of the effects which I have on any of the channels. And I'll show you a clean DI from the bass. (bass guitar music) So hopefully you can hear it. It's a very kind of muscular sounding instrument. And I don't know, a lot of people ask me about the bass tone that I have, and so much of it to me is inherent in the character of that DI that you just heard. Really everything I do to it from here is just icing on the cake. Recording a DI is kind of the most common way of recording bass. I'm not averse to micing a cabinet. But there's so many drawbacks to micing a bass cabinet to do with the way that rooms interact with a source of a lot of...

low end. It can be very difficult to find a suitable place to do it, or it can be very troublesome to try and reduce the amount of lumpy low end that you get when you mic a cabinet. Also cabinets tend to have a very strong roll off at a certain point. And that's generally to do with the way that bass cabinets are designed. And with us tuning as low as we do on one of the songs on this album we were tuning to a low c sharp. So that's just above an octave below a five string bass. Which is kind of crazy low. I felt like DI was by far the best way of retaining that information that's coming out of the bass without it kind of being lost at the amplifier. Now of course you could take multiple inputs at a time, but for the sake of ease I like to just work with a DI and then do that later. But we kind of monitored through a software setup, but as soon as we were done, I re amped the bass DI through a dark glass B7K distortion pedal, which has been my main overdrive pedal for quite some time. It's got a very gritty character to it, that when you hear it now is not gonna be too pleasant because we're listening to it as a DI. But we are gonna run this through some kind of cabinet modeling and that's gonna take off the extreme top and bottom end. So this is what that sounds like. (bass guitar music) So it's a really abrasive sound, and those two together, I'm just trying to think of what the best part to show you guys is. Maybe I need to go back over to here. (bass guitar music) So that's kind of the basis of our sound to begin with. The first thing that I've done is kind of find a balance of those two elements together. Here I've pulled the B7K down a little bit in volume with the DI. And the idea of combining the clean DI with the distorted sound is to get the purity, the string definition, and the low end that you get from the DI with aggression that you get from the distorted sound. But the first thing I'm gonna do is run that through a cabinet. And I don't actually use real cabinets for that, I really like to use certain impulses. And some of my favorite ones are made by a company called Redwire. They have some really really good impulses of an SVT-810 bass cabinet that tend to be my go-tos. Here I'm using the D112 positioned half an inch off the cap edge combined with a 421 at the same position. Those are two different IRs but you can combine them within this program. And just listening to what that does, you'll hear a very distinct difference as I toggle that on and off. (bass guitar music) It's a really distinct difference. But I'm also hearing some kind of really whistley frequencies coming in. And I think for that reason I tackled those during mixing with these EQ moves here. (bass guitar music) So at this point the bass is starting to sound more like a bass should sound to my ears. I really like to just use a cabinet model in this scenario because it becomes very easy to try a different impulse or try a different microphone within the impulse program. Or adjust the balance between a couple of different cabinets to get the sound that you're after. Whereas, I mean it certainly can be done with cabs, it can just be a very long winded process, and this is a really nice way to find the right cab for your particular bass. I find the bass is very hugely in character from one type of instrument to another. One thing which I am hearing however is this kind of an inconsistency to the DI that I don't like. The playing is pretty good. I'd like to think I can maybe do a little bit better now. But just listening to it I feel like the DI particularly has a kind of inconsistent amount of attack. It's sometimes coming through, sometimes it's sounding a bit more round, and you're hearing more of the grit track. So I would probably chose, and did chose to compress the DI here using the same compressor that we were using, it's the parallel compressor on the drum bus. Again it's like an 1176 style compressor. Works really well on bass. A lot of people like to use that kind of compression. But I am using a much lower ratio here of four to one I believe, 3.8 to one. And with that compression, first of all I'll have it off, and then I'll toggle it in. (bass guitar music) Hopefully it's pretty transparent. To me, it's pretty transparent. I'm not really hearing too much of a difference in the attack of the bass. Maybe if I do this on the DI without the cabinet model it will be more apparent. (bass guitar music) But to me the compressor is kind of giving an evenness. Especially to the low end. But it's not really messing with the sound of the bass too much, and I really like this compressor for that reason. It just seems to add a bit of depth and how it kind of flattens the low end out. So from that point onwards everything is gonna be done here on this bus. I'm just simply combining the distorted and clean tracks with a compressor just on the clean track. And this was the EQ, which I ended up using. We're kinda revisiting here the settings that I actually used when we mixed Juggernaut. And you know we could start from scratch, but I also want to show you exactly how I arrived at the sound that you hear on the CD. And obviously there's kind of three main areas. It's a funny shape when you look at it isn't it. There's three main areas that I'm boosting. And there's two areas in between where I'm cutting. A very, I guess what I'll do actually is I'll go through it and I'll mute each of these moves, and then bring them in one by one. So that you can hear what they're doing to the bass sound. As well as the high and low pass filters of course being in place. And that's just to keep things nice and clean sounding. (rock music) Sorry. (bass guitar music) This is the flat bass sound. Wait let's do that again. It's like why is that not doing anything. (bass guitar music) So far we kind of brought out more of the top end. That cabinet model is really quite dark. Especially compared to the DI. So what I found necessary is to kind of boost stuff a bit more of the air. And I would have found that again by kind of boosting and jogging that around until I found like it sounded most euphonic. But I clearly found that there was maybe too much in the one and a half k area, which is it's quite a kind of scrapy frequency. Let's actually listen to what that area there sounds. (bass guitar music) It was only a rough adjustment, but I definitely didn't seem to want to take too much out of that. Moving now to this mid range boost area. It's quite common for me to place a boost somewhere around six or 700. I find that it's really good for bringing out the kind of quality in the bass guitar that's gonna blend with the rhythm guitars. I'll show you what that kind of area sounds like as you boost it. (bass guitar music) So we're starting to get like a real kind of like wah kind of sound from the bass, which probably is what led me to want to cut some of the mud from underneath it around the 300 hertz area. (bass guitar music) And then finally the whole thing could use a fair amount more low end to my ears. And this boost here is centered around 150 hertz. That's gonna bring back a whole load of extra low end information. (bass guitar music) Now analyzer-wise, I'm kind of aiming for a similar thing as with the kick drum where the, I kind of want the peaks to be even on both the top end and the bottom end. That tends to be when the bass has got the right amount of kind of presence, balance with low end. But with bass I find that it takes a lot of kind of minor adjustments and really listening to how it sounds in the context of the mix to decide on where those frequencies really should be. The presence frequency especially is a tough one to get right. Too high and it's just kind of gonna exaggerate the fizz maybe and the distortion character of the bass, or the stringiness of the DI. Too low and it's just gonna sound really kind of abrasive. I mean you hear a lot records actually that have a lot of that presence like kind of two to three k area on the bass guitar. It's not really my kind of favorite sound within metal. I like things to be almost quite guitary sounding. What determines where the high frequencies that you boost are and the low frequencies? Is it like that instrument itself? Or is about the relationship between the bass and the kick drum? It's kind of to do with the relationship between the bass and the kick drum. But I'd say most of the time it's to do with the instrument. And also the EQ that you have on the instrument. It might be that one bass actually has a really huge amount of low end. And all of the EQ that I'm gonna do to it is gonna be cutting low end and boosting up treble up into it. But generally I want the bass to have the meat of its sound a little bit above the kick drum. Some people like to try and place the bass guitar underneath the kick drum. To me in metal I don't really like when I hear that. I like the kick drum to be the main thing's that thumping me in the chest. There are some really cool tricks, I'm just seeing, yeah I got a cool trick up my sleeve for helping separate the bass and kick drum when it actually comes to combining those two things in the mix. A very cool plugin which we haven't touched on yet. But it takes a lot of listening. And low end is where a lot of mixes can be, put it this way you can spend a lot of time listening to many commercial records and hear a completely different presentation of low end coming back off it. And this is where for me, referencing mixes comes in really handy. Sometimes I'm guilty of making things probably too thin in the kind of 150 hertz area in an effort to kind of keep clarity. But then when I reference against a commercial record I realize that I'm just taking it way too far. And that's certainly something that's happened quite a lot in the past. The low end particularly on Juggernaut was something that we spent a long time nailing. And I worked with the mastering engineer who's a really talented engineer in Australia called Ermin Hamidovic. He and I kind of went backwards and forwards on a few different revisions where he would do a master kinda trying to bring something out in the low end, and then it would be like well maybe I can bring that out in the mix instead, and just do that on the bass guitar. So a lot of these moves were kind of made with his advice as well. Like what feedback I was getting back from him. These days I tend to use the frequency analyzer a little bit more to make sure I have an even balance. I was using this plugin, or the earlier iteration during the mixing of Juggernaut, but I was not really tuned in to using the frequency analyzer in the same way. So it was a lot more trial and error going on. So that was the bulk of the EQing that I did, but there's a really cool move you can do here with a multi-band compressor that I like to do on a lot of my bass tracks to further enhance the low end but not have it kind of move around too much within the mix. And that's to use a multi-band compressor to really clamp down on two regions. One's gonna be the kind of area under about 150 hertz, and the other one's gonna stretch up to the kind of low-mid range. And in the extreme low end what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna boost low end, but compress quite hard so it's very consistent. This is gonna be the kind of area if I hit solo on that area you'll hear the low end that I'm talking about. (bass guitar music) Why is that, oh here we go. (muffled bass guitar music) It's that very round area of the low end of the bass guitar. And by compressing that hard, I'm gonna make sure that the mix always has that underpinning of a really solid round sounding bass. If I were just to boost that with an EQ, some notes would set it off more than other ones. But the way I've got this set up it's got a very fast attack and release and a high ratio, and it's just basically leveling out those low frequencies and giving it a bit of a boost. At the same time, this kind of mud zone here. (muffled bass guitar music) I'm compressing, but-- What range is that? That's kind of going from about 150 up to about 400. It could probably come down a bit tighter on this area. What that's gonna do is make sure the bass never gets too muddy. But because it's dynamic, it's not, if I were to EQ too much of that out, maybe when the bass moves into a higher register that naturally has less of those frequencies, it's gonna start to get really thin. But this is gonna ensure that if the bass is in a higher register it still has enough low-mids to sound full. And this is a very typical pattern that you'll see me put into my bass tracks. I find that that works a huge amount of the time for just getting a very consistent low-end that's gonna be round but not too muddy. Next in the steps we had a limiter. And the point of the limiter again is just to really pin the bass in place. This compressor over here was not doing that much, and it wasn't affecting the whole bass sound. So this is kind like our backend of the chain compressor, but it's basically brick-walling it. It's making sure it's never gonna go above a certain peak. You do have to be careful, if you do this too much, you will start to really rob the track of low end. But I'll show you what it sounds like when you apply that. If done right it's kind transparent. (bass guitar music) I had it set around here, and actually it's not doing very much there, but there might be other points where perhaps it's hitting it harder. (bass guitar music) Nope I guess actually it was not. Maybe something's changed in the gain staging through here. I'm gonna bring that down to where I'd normally see it, which we're generally be getting maybe three DB of attenuation max. (bass guitar music) So to me that's really starting to make the bass sound like a very kind of fixed instrument. The pick attack isn't coming through too much. And in a kind of similar way to how we treated the toms, that limiter is gonna take away the peaks so that we can make the track louder, and hear more of the sustain, but not have the presence jab us too much in the ears. Is that multi-band compression in the low end keep the limiter from, or the low end from really only triggering the limiter. Yeah absolutely. Yeah the consistency in the low end coming from the multi-band is gonna make that limiter's job a lot more easy. I certainly wouldn't put the limiter earlier in the chain. It's almost always at the very end. The last two pieces I have on the bass track actually are just another instance of the tape machine, which I really love. Again I'm using the mode which brings out the low end character of the instrument a little bit more. It's got that kind of hump in the low end. And as I mentioned before, instruments with a lot of bass tend to really benefit from some saturation, or you can really hear the effect of that. So I'll put it in bypass and then switch it on while playing back the bass track and hopefully you'll hear the effect. (bass guitar music) So hopefully you can hear it's not a subtle sound actually when this comes in. It's adding a huge amount of mid range kind of growl to it. It's definitely warming things up. It's taking out a little bit of the abrasive treble. The treble is quite abrasive, but when you hear it in the mix that's what's gonna allow it to cut through, be heard above the guitars, and generally sound kind of aggressive. What frequency range are those harmonics that the tape is adding to the bass? I would have to look through it more, but I want to say that it's probably a healthy amount of both even and odd order harmonics 'cause it seems to be adding bite, but also kind of reinforcing the fundamental. But it's not as subtle as something like, something that's just kind of giving you the octave harmonics. To me it's definitely bringing out more bite in the instruments. So I'm just trusting my ears here. I don't have a mental note of exactly what the saturation characteristics of every plugin that I use are. They are very complicated as well. It's generally a very complicated pattern of harmonics. So it's easiest to judge your ear when you can, sorry trust your ear when you can. The last plugin is one that I really want to talk about for a second. The idea behind this plugin is pure genius. It's an active EQ with many bands. I think it's a 31 band EQ or something. But it's a side-chained EQ. So in other words, you feed something into it, and it will show you where your track overlaps with the frequencies of the other track. And if you tell it to dynamically cut those frequencies as the two interact. So this is an amazing tool for blending the bass guitar with the kick drum. If I play the kick drum track along with the bass guitar with this bypassed, and then bring it in, hopefully you'll hear the difference which is just the bass doesn't interfere with the kick drum while the kick drum is playing. But then when the kick drum goes away the bass has all the low end that it needs. So here's the bass and kick drum together. (rock music) Sorry I'll find a bit with more low end. (rock music) The kick drum sounds very funny in that bit 'cause Matt's doing all of his gospely stuff. I'll find somewhere where it's a bit more consistent, maybe here. (rock music) Hear that? It's kind of subtle but to me I'm hearing-- So like the low end is cutting out when the kicks hit? Exactly yeah, exactly. I'm just kind of hearing, yeah you don't even really perceive it, but when you think about it like yeah the bass just disappears for a second as the kick hits, but you're still aware of the presence of it. It just somehow makes the two more integrated. I really like what it does in the mix, and once you have all the instruments playing together as well and you're really kind of fine-tuning the mix this last few percent can go a really long way to making sure the low end of your mix is really tight, and doesn't fluctuate too much. So I'll put that on and we'll play the bass and the guitars together, and then I'm just aware of the time. We can take a few more questions perhaps if there's and residual questions about the drums and the bass processing. We can deal with those all together. So here we go here's the drums and bass. (rock music) I should note for a second that for this part I really used a huge amount of overdrive on the pedal. I kind of tracked it to a different track. You can hear that it's a very fuzzed out kind of bass sound that we thought would be appropriate for that part, but for the rest of it it's a lighter overdrive setting. So I'll go back to perhaps just the first riff. (rock music) And then from there what I kind of want to do is show you what happens when you kind of play the rhythm guitars alongside the bass. Just to show you like how that presence, which might have sounded very scrapy on its own really blends into the guitars and makes the bass cut through and kind of bind with the guitars in a really pleasing way. (rock music) To me like when you combine that that's when the guitars sound awesome. When you hear the guitars on their own they really kinda sound quite thin. But it's a combination of just the power of the bass guitar, but the character of that mid range, especially that kind of 700 hertz area that we boosted, plus the grittiness from the B7K combined with the top end boost is really giving a kind of similar enough frequency response to where they work together. But it's also standing out enough to really cut through the mix. So again, if I were now to put that in with the drums as well. I'll just have to find my guitar track. (rock music) So the bass is pretty loud, but to me it kind of sounds cool. One tip I would definitely give is never go into any intensive mixing directly after mixing bass from scratch because you will inevitably make the bass way way way too loud. I don't care who you are, it's very difficult to judge the level of bass after having especially if you've just been tracking it all day, it's gonna be like 20 db too loud. And you're gonna bring it down and you're gonna think it's great, but when you come back the next day you're gonna be like why is there so much bass on everything. Bass is cool, and it brings a huge amount to the mix, but there is a sweet spot for it. And too much and it's actually just gonna detract from everything and make it sound muddy. But yeah the bass tone really, there's not that much going on. There's probably more plugins on the bass chain than there are on any other thing, but they're all kind of making incremental changes, and just refining the low end, and restricting the dynamic range. Probably more than any other thing that you're hearing in the mix. So that's kind of the reason for that. Again, getting it right at the source is the key. You heard the DI at the beginning when we were talking about the bass tone and hopefully you could hear how much of that final aggression you're hearing in the mix is just there in that bass tone that we had from the start. So again, source tone is key. Do we have any questions about the bass? Take some Qs. Yeah some about kicks, some about bass. Jack wants to know do you side-chain the kick drum when you, to your bass when you mix? Essentially what we were just doing with that track spacer plugin is, yeah but it's kind of a cooler version of that 'cause it's side-chaining but it's only affecting the low end of the bass. You could use a side-chain from the kick to duck the bass completely. And that's cool like plenty of people do that, it works really well. I just really like how that allows you to retain the articulation of the bass. And if there's something more notey being played, you don't lose that just because the kick's being hit. How do you avoid the cymbals overall sounding washed out? What contributes the most to giving them detail? Compression, EQ, or saturation? I'd say kind of a lack of compression is going to give you the most detailed cymbal sounds. But in the context of metal you kind of have to compress them to a certain degree. You don't have to, you can get away with not doing it if you want. But it is gonna make the cymbals more audible at all times. There's a very fine line. If you push it too far it will become kind of washed out, and you'll just end up with a haze of high end on top of your mix, which can be very difficult to find like the good point for it to sit in the mix. It's something which I find now if I'm working with program drums actually. Just because of the nature of how they're recorded, the cymbals can often be really difficult to place in the mix. And to me I would liken that to really compressed overheads. There are some producers that do a really good job with that stuff though. And in rock it can be kind of useful sometimes to really pin the cymbals in place and have them not get in the way of the vocal. Another way of getting articulation is to use less room mics. The room mics are always gonna start taking articulation out of cymbals that you're getting from the overheads. And there is something to be said from that regard for keeping the room tracks to a minimum. Maybe if you really want big explosive sounds, but you want very detailed cymbals it's worth looking into using samples of room decays from snare hits and tom hits. And there's a lot of great libraries out there, or you can make your own. And trigger those in real time from your shelves in the mix and then you get the best of both worlds. I'd like to keep it all natural if I can. But I'm not averse to using a bit of that in snares sometimes. Which is a similar mixing process on bass with played with fingers instead of a pick. That's really tough because finger style bass can be many different things. It can be really aggressive. It can sound great. When you're playing finger style hard, quite close to the neck you can actually get arguably an even more aggressive sound that way that you can get with a pick. But to be honest if I was trying to track a finger style player that wanted that kind of tone and they were playing lightly close towards the bridge there would be a real problem in doing that. I don't think you would physically be able to make it work. The key really to getting that kind of aggression out of a bass sound is again at the source. It's in how it's played. And for me it's either got to be very finger style or played with a pick to get that kind of sound. That's not to say that you can't get a good sound from a lighter finger style player. But it's gonna be a completely different kind of thing. And in the mix it's probably gonna be close to like a, I don't want to say a sine wave, but like something that's gonna sit underneath the mix rather than something that's really gonna be up there grinding with the guitars. How does your approach change overall when mixing bass with eight string guitars? On the Joy of Motion did you approach EQing bass similarly when using trillion and also your own bass performances on the final product? So the first part, again, I'm sorry for sounding like a broken record, it really comes down to the source. Especially if you're gonna tune really low on bass, you need to have a bass that reproduces those notes really well. The basses I use and I endorse I use because they have a very long scale on the bass strings, the bass side, which really helps with articulation on those low notes. Because of that I don't really need to do too much different in terms of tracking if it's for an eight string song as I would if it was in more a six string range. If you had a bass track that was really lacking or you were stuck using bass that wasn't so good for that. You can maybe look at reinforcing that with a synth. If you could program in the bassline into a synth and have it be just a very kind of monotone sound with basically just a sine wave that sits underneath your bass sound. That can be a really good of getting the fundamental note through. But it's a tough one. Guitarists tuning lower is definitely restricting the space that a bass guitar can live in. It just takes a lot of trial and error. And it takes having the right source tone really. The right bass itself to make that work. Nick wants to know do you feel a bit of reverb is essential on bass? Or do you just leave bass dry? Bass is almost always dry. I've occasionally used reverb on like a solo bass part. There's something maybe bass harmonics. There's some cool stuff you can do. I never really do that kind of thing within periphery, but I've mixed some stuff recently where the bass would occasionally kind of go up into a higher register and play some solo stuff, and I would duplicate the DI onto a new track and use a lot of chorus on it. Leave it really clean, but have like a really heavily chorus sound that I kind of put in underneath the main bass mix. As well as bringing it up in level. Combine that with some reverb maybe. But just run the chorus bass through that. And you can get like a sound that's gonna pop through the mix a little bit more, and sound smooth. I'd say reverb on bass is gonna be a no no for most things 'cause it's just gonna cloud those low frequencies up so much. Brandon wants to know with a preamp on the Dingwall did you use the EQ on the bass or did you want to do that more in the box so that you weren't stuck with the tone? I think I boosted the low end a little bit. I'm trying to remember. Yeah I'm pretty sure I boosted the low end a little bit. But I did want to leave some of the decisions until mixing. I wasn't as familiar with the bass. Certainly not with the newer pre amps that I was prototyping at the time. They sounded really good but I didn't want to paint myself into a corner by boosting too much. So I probably kind of stuck with moderation on that front. Let's take two more questions and then we'll head to a break, and then come back and do vocals. How do you deal with the fact that lower strings can provide way much, way too much maybe low frequencies than the second string for example. It feels like sometimes there's a lack of bass from playing the other strings than the lower ones. Yeah that's where compression can really come into play. Both compression on the actual bass track, just evening out the frequencies so that the low strings don't dominate. But especially the multi-band compression thing that we just did is extremely helpful. Because by compressing certain frequency areas separately you can maintain control. You can kind of squash one frequency range so that it always stays very solid while allowing the bass to move around a little bit higher up if you move into a higher register it's not just being EQd out. It's still there if it's needed. So I would definitely recommend trying that. Maybe even try three bands, three tighter bands if you're really kind of playing through a lot of different ranges or if your bass has a massive disparity between the bottom two strings. Fresh strings also really help as far as that goes. Because a thick string can just completely change its character once it starts to die. You get a very low endy sound and it just doesn't. Trying to get a tone that works with that as well as the higher strings can be pretty much impossible. Hey Nollie how do you deal with bass interacting with the kick drum at like 50 or 60 hertz. How do you deal with the bass becoming thinner after cutting those frequencies that the kick drum is boosted in? Yeah it's tough. Again though that track spacer plugin that we were just using is a real life saver for that. It kind of automatically identifies where, specifically in the low end, we didn't go into too much detail on it, but you can kind of give it an area to focus on where in the low end those two instruments are overlapping and really just cut what it has to. And it happens so quickly and dynamically that you really don't hear the sound getting thinner at all for the duration of the kick drum, but you just hear the low end not get too overbearing when the kick drum and bass guitar overlap. I'd say that single plugin is if you're having a problem with that could be an absolutely life saver. You could, again, experiment with a traditional compressor. Just ducking the whole of the bass guitar. If you have a very kind of quick time constants on that, maybe you won't notice it so much. But I was certainly very happy when I found that plugin, and I've been using it since then. Do you ever do that with the high frequencies on the bass and kick as well? No not between bass and kick. But you could do some cool stuff with that. You could probably do some cool with bleed with that even. Like duck out frequencies, yeah I dunno, I'm trying to think of cool ways to use it. There are actually a ton of really good ways to use it. I really like to use it in the mid range, combining synths with rhythm guitars 'cause synths can often have really overbearing mid range frequencies. But perhaps when they're isolated you want those there. And instead of having to just automate EQs all the time, that can make it so when it's on its own, the synth can have all of the mid range content it needs. Once the guitars are in place, it can work around it. You might even want to go the other way. If the synth had to be more dominant you could duck the mid range out on the guitar channel by using that plugin on there. I sometimes use it to allow vocals to sit into guitars a little bit better. Sometimes I use it to get lead guitars to sit into vocals a little bit better. I forget if we use that on the vocal and guitar kind of interaction on Juggernaut. I don't think we did though. Nope I don't think we did. There was actually not that many instances of it. I can see one more instance of it, which I'm pretty sure I've used the track spacer to fit the backing vocal around the main vocal. So that, again, where the backing vocal is exposed it can have all the frequency range it needs. But then when it's combined with the main vocal it just ducks out in the right areas. It's a really really really cool plugin, and it's not very expensive. So definitely worth buying.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Halpern Drum Samples
Micing Guitar Cab
Nolly's Mic List

Ratings and Reviews

Connor Smith

I haven't even finished the course and already my mixes have improved dramatically. Night and day difference. I haven't watched the portions with Matt as I'm using drum samples (GGD specifically), but I have no doubt it's great. Matt is always incredibly helpful and is a brilliant drummer. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Nolly, he's very articulate and his approach to audio engineering is flat out brilliant. I'm so happy I purchased this course. Before my mixes were good (balance and things of that nature) but lacked life and energy. I just wasn't getting the professional level sound I was searching for. Now, I am proud of my mixes and actually think they're getting to the point where they sound professional and don't sound like they were produced by a dude in his bedroom with about half of year of recording and audio engineering experience. The metal genre is difficult to mix as there's a lot going on and the "current metal sound" is very crisp and clear while still being very heavy and punchy. It isn't 80s dad metal where guitars are hissy and flubby. lol I am a huge Periphery fan and it's a privilege to watch Nolly share his knowledge. I really enjoy his approach as its very simple but very effective. He doesn't have insane mixing strategies, he just does what works and it's applicable to any DAW and is helpful for almost any genre of music. Brilliant course!

a Creativelive Student

This was an amazing course! I loved hearing from both Matt and Nolly on their thought process behind drums in general. I love the point they drove home about getting a great source tone. That seems to be forgotten in a lot of recordings and they try to fix it in the mix. Jolly did a fantastic job of making it look "easy" to take already great sounding source tones and making them really shine! Cant wait to put these concepts into practice in my own projects. What a great source of knowledge here. Thanks for this great class!

Adrian Gougov

Best course and overall learning experience I've had in a long long while. Nolly and Matt are superb. Nolly is an astonishing mixing and recording engineer and a great teacher. Not only does he explains his methods carefully and in detail, but also lays down key concepts in an understandable language. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna learn how to mix modern heavy music. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna learn how to track drums properly. Definitely worth the investment if you wanna see one of modern metal's best drummers track a whole song from start to finish. Props to Creative Live for bringing this material to us.

Student Work