Darrell Thorp Mixing Future Elevators

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01h 51min


In this full-length mixing tutorial, Grammy winner Darrell Thorp teaches you all of the tricks and techniques he uses to help enhance dream-pop indie rockers Future Elevators from a creative and raw production to a finished and exciting mix.

See how Darrell combines bold decisions and simple tweaks that stay true to the artist’s vision and also add a layer of details that give the mix the perfect amount of polish.

Darrell explains his unique mixing philosophy and unorthodox techniques that help him create killer sounding mixes including:

  • Extracting the maximum amount of tone from the drums to support the guitars and other instruments
  • Adding low end and fixing a flat kick drum sound
  • Fixing a wooly and boomy sounding bass tone with an innovative EQ plugin
  • Metering and maintaining headroom in a dense mix
  • Applying in-the-box mix bus compression and EQ
  • Working with multiple layers of keyboards and guitars and getting a clear and punchy sound from each instrument
  • Tweaking his listening volume for the ideal monitoring at each stage of the mix
  • Fixing harshness with multiband compression
  • Session setup and how to begin each mix with an open mind
  • Gain staging tracks to optimize for later adding automation and plugins

Watch and learn as Darrell works on the mix from start to finish and then download the complete multitrack stems and practice mixing the song for yourself!

Exercise files
Equipment & Software
  • Avid D-Verb
  • Avid DYN3 Compressor /. Limiter
  • Avid EQ III
  • Avid Trim
  • Bomb Factory BF-76
  • Fabfilter Pro-DS
  • Fabfilter Pro-MB
  • Fabfilter Pro-Q2
  • Slate VBC Rack
  • Sound Radix Surfer EQ
  • UAD API 550A
  • UAD Ampex ATR-102
  • UAD EP-34 Tape Echo
  • UAD Fairchild 660
  • UAD Fatso Jr
  • UAD Lexicon 224
  • UAD Little Labs VOG
  • UAD Neve 1073
  • UAD SSL E Channel
  • UAD Teletronix LA-2
  • UAD UA 1176
  • UAD dbx 160
  • Vahalla Vintage Verb
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    Darrell Thorp

    Darrell Thorp is a nine-time Grammy Award winning engineer. Darrell started as a guitar player before joining the navy for 4 years, then enrolled to the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona. He finally stepped into the music world by working as an assistant in some of L.A.'s prestigious studios such as Track Record, Conway and Ocean Way studio.

    Darell has worked with artists of great renown such as OutKast, Radiohead, Nigel Godrich, Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Beck, Ray Charles, Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot, Molotov and contributed to many multi-platinum records. Darrell now works at his own studio called 101 Recording in LA on an API 1604 console with a hybrid digital / analog setup.

    You can watch Darrell's work on pureMix with indie artists like Foster the People and Future Elevators and see how he gets this modern rock sound you hear every day on the radio.





    Paul McCartney


    Nigel Godrich

    Featured Artists and Musics
    Future Elevators

    Michael Shackelford first wrote down the words “FUTURE” and “ELEVATORS” a few years ago on a rough instrumental demo. Recorded at his home studio outside of Birmingham, Alabama, the music never grew into a finished song, but that simple, surprisingly evocative phrase stuck with the multi-instrumentalist. It’s an apt phrase for one of Birmingham’s most original musical acts. Like Roald Dahl’s fictional creation, Shackelford—the group’s founder, mainstay, and guiding creative force—is something of a pop confectioner who thinks up impossible sounds and makes them a reality. His self-titled debut as Future Elevators expertly mixes whimsy and gravity, the fantastical with the everyday. Even as he grounds his lyrics in real-world issues, Shackelford fills his songs with new and improbable combinations of familiar sounds: the jagged pastoral folk of “Alabama Song,” the Rube Goldberg blues riffs of “Machine Maker,” the retro-futuristic r&b of “Modern World,” the warm drone of the ten-minute instrumental closer “Aphrodite.”

    • Machine Maker

    What do you have to say?
    Leave a comment
    2018 Apr 11
    All due respect to Mr. Thorp (this mix is awesome) but at 45:20 in Part I you have an example of the potential issue with using Trim plugins for static level: no consistent visual feedback. He's turning both tracks down from -3.2 to -4, but because he's saying "eight-tenths of a db" (describing the change), he mistakenly types -8 instead of -4. So, from then on, there's no way of noticing the level discrepancy without opening that track's Trim plugin. Unlike the immediate visual feedback of faders. But hey, the stereo image is interesting, and the mix sounds great. So ... there ya go.
    2018 Mar 12
    Great Tutorial Darrell! Looking forward to use some of your habits in my mixes!
    TC Hotrod
    2018 Feb 07
    A surprising full mix video with a fresh and unconventional way of processing (absence of HPF, economy of plugins, use of trim plugin instead of faders....). It would be really interesting to know what is added / shifted /eased when such a kind of track come to mastering step.
    2018 Jan 25
    really interesting and a great different approach than the other tutorials. he certainly has really good resistance with low frequencies. I'm not sure if I could handle that much low frequency while mixing, but the end result sounds beautiful. ps: the picture of the tutorial and the image in the video of the same person is more shocking than the tutorial by miles haha
    2018 Jan 11
    Very nice but I wanted to see the "Vocal" part that seems to be missing. Can that be added?
    2017 Dec 26
    Very refreshing, no bull video. Top to bottom. Thank you for the content and tips. And for the Surf EQ tip; it's been added.
    2017 Nov 14
    Cool! I really appreciate the ones I can relate to and learn from. No crazy assed, out gear that the majority of us do not have access to. Keep them coming. Peter
    2017 Nov 14
    Glad to see new approach and styles. Thanks to all the PureMix team for stepping it up with new content !! Keep it up :)
    2017 Nov 13
    I really enjoyed this one. Fun song. Great information. Nicely done.