4 Ways to Create Depth WITHOUT Reverb

Depth marker postThis is a guest post by Björgvin Benediktsson of Audio Issues.

Reverb is the #1 way to make your mixes sound amateurish. I’ve done it, you’ve done it. Hell, even those master mixers went through a whole decade doing it.

Although reverb is really useful to create depth and space in a mix, it’s easy to go overboard. So how can you add depth and space to your instruments without piling on the reverb? (more…)

Reverb vs Delay

Boss RX-100 Reverb volume knobWhen I say reverb what comes to mind? How about delay?

For a lot of people who are just starting out with recording and mixing, they may think that reverb is that awesome plugin you use to make everything sound like it’s in a cathedral. And when they think of delay you may think of The Edge from U2.

The truth is, there is SO MUCH you can do with reverb and delay to enhance your mixes, and the most effective ways are usually the most subtle. I don’t use huge cathedrals and dotted eighth-note delays all the time, but I do use both reverb and delay plugins on almost every mix I do.

How do you pick between the two? (more…)

Common EQ Mistake #4 – Boosting First

boost?To complete this series of EQ mistakes, we’ve got to talk about the big boy. The thing we all WANT to do when we first start messing around with EQ.

We’ve looked at EQ-ing without listeningnot EQ-ing in solo, and EQ-ing out of context. Once you’ve really mastered those three, what do you do once you’ve got the EQ open?

The tendency is to say This kick drum needs more low end and high end. So we reach for the low and high bands and start boosting. As I mentioned recently, removing some of the low-mids (around 400 Hz) can accomplish the same thing…and it usually sounds much better and more natural. (more…)

“But there are so many plugins we haven’t used yet!”

This past weekend was the very first Simply Recording Academy. Graham Cochrane and I got together with a bunch of home studio guys like you and tracked and mixed a band here in Nashville over two days.

It was epic.

I’ll be writing about it more, but my brain is still processing everything.

There were a lot of great moments over the weekend, but one that really stands out was on the second day. We spend the entire first day tracking a band (a really, REALLY good band called Manic Bloom — check them out, buy their music). We spent the second day mixing the song.

The moment that struck me was when we were probably over halfway through the mixing process, and Graham and I had only used the stock EQ and compressor plugins that come with Pro Tools. That’s it. We literally didn’t touch another plugin for most of the mix session. (more…)

Common EQ Mistake #2 – EQ-ing in Solo

SoloIn the last article we took a look at the problem of EQ-ing without really listening to the track. The opposite, however, can be just as bad for your mix.

What if you listen to the track TOO closely? What if there was a way to isolate that track and only listen to that track and mute all the rest? Wait a second. Yep, that’s called the solo button.

EQ-ing in solo, in my opinion, is one of the hardest habits to break. Think back to the very first song you ever mixed. What did you do first? You solo’d the kick drum, messed around with EQ for a while. Then you solo’d the snare drum, played around with EQ for a while. Then you solo’d the bass… You get the picture.

How did that work out for you? (more…)

How to get a Big Bass Sound

brownsville bassToday I asked my Facebook fans what they wanted me to write about. Luca asked about how to get a big bass sound in the mix, using parallel compression, etc. Great question, Luca.

If you were to keep track of how much time you spend dealing with the low end in a mix, particularly bass and kick drum, verses everything else, I bet you’d be surprised. A huge, punchy, tight bass sound can make or break a mix. Once you’ve got the low frequencies playing nicely together, the rest becomes much easier to put in its place.

But how do you get that big sound, especially out of the bass track? (more…)

EQ: Using a Filter vs a Shelf

If you’ve been mixing for any length of time, you know how valuable the high-pass filter can be. It removes excess low end from your non-bass-heavy tracks, allowing you to clean up the low frequencies, making room for the kick and bass.

But then there’s this thing called a low frequency shelf. What’s that all about? In the picture above you can see both a high-pass filter and a low frequency shelf.

A high-pass filter actually filters out the low frequencies entirely. The curve slopes downward at a specific “steepness.” As you move further to the left in the frequency spectrum, the signal gets progressively lower and lower. (more…)

Intro to Automation [Video]


Which automation mode to YOU use the most? Leave a comment below.