This is a real-time shoot of a mixing session, with no smoke or mirrors. Going from rough mix to a final mix in an hour or so, complete with eqs, compression and reverbs. All steps are explained and commented.
Mixed with Dangerous Music Monitor ST, Dangerous Music Summing and Focal speakers, Avid ProTools HD|Native, UAD Satellite Quad, Great River EQ1-NV eqs.
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- 00:00 - Start
- 00:38 - Setting Up the Session
- 08:15 - Analog Summing
Good morning children. How are you doing? Today we're gonna talk about mixing.
So who was here for the recording? Wow! OK.
Who wanted to come here for the recording but thought it was Alan Parsons and then left when I showed up? No? OK.
I came in yesterday...
Could we have the Pro Tools screen on the thing that's over there, please? Voilà! So...
I came in and I color coded all my tracks.
Because I have the attention span of a dying moth, it's very important to me to know what is what.
And I have a system.
Because if you have a system, less thinking is involved.
Thinking actually gets in the way of music if you ask me. So.
In green, the drums.
Because drums mean "Go!".
In red, the bass.
It has nothing to do with blood or anything like that.
It's just, all my important things which are bass and vocals, and master are always red.
So if I have a track that has say, 120 tracks, which happens, 120 tracks, I can look at the arrangement window, which is this window here.
And I can spot that the top red track is my bass, the bottom red track is my mixing.
Somewhere in the middle there's a red track that is my vocal.
Right? So for example, I just did a song for the Rugby World Cup.
OK? It was a 192 tracks.
The reason why it was 192 tracks it's because Pro Tools only has 192 tracks.
If they had 512 tracks, they would have sent me 512 tracks of whatever it is that you can put on 512 tracks.
When you have 192 tracks it takes a day just to listen to everything.
Right? And so, you don't wanna have to listen to everything twice.
No, no, no.
So what you do is you listen to the thing and say.
"Oh, I know what that is." And then you color it and then you put a comment in comment window that says: "You already listened to that one dude".
"Move on". Right? The coloring let's you really know where you are at all times in your session, which is very nice.
You don't have to adopt mine, but I strongly recommend you adopt some sort of a coloring scheme.
So that's what I came in to do last night.
I came to color my tracks.
Organize everything, drums to the left, bass, guitars.
There's no keyboards because it's a real band.
And the vocal and everything.
So now we have that.
As a reminder, what we're doing here is building a quick studio.
We built it with my crew who came from New York, we built in like less than a day.
If you wanna switch to the laptop so we can name the pro-sponsors.
This was supported by Dangerous Music who makes the summing, the monitoring and some AD cueing I'm using today, which is a brand that I use in my studio everything in my studio is Dangerous Music.
There's also, I have a website called Puremix.net where I do tutorials.
If you like what you see and you wanna see more of that you can go to Puremix.net. You can see more of these tutorials.
In the style of what you see.
And then the other sponsors yesterday were Mojave and Royer for the microphones.
It's all Mojave and Royer microphones.
Great River preamps and EQs.
Universal Audio preamps, compressors and EQs.
And I use Avid Pro Tools and Avid Pro Tools converters.
We have a song.
What I did last night too is I printed the rough.
It's great to have a rough.
Why is that? Because mixing is all about perspective.
And I can pretty much promise that you will lose perspective.
No matter how good you are.
And no matter how much you do this and how many times you've done this.
You will loose perspective about...
four hours from now.
If you start your mix now, from hours from now that's when you start screwing up.
On average, depending on the number of tracks.
So, considering we have an hour to mix this track, that's not gonna happen! Yet...
I still recorded the rough mix of what we did yesterday and I think it's a good idea to just refresh our memories...
Let's listen to the song, it's a pretty song.
This is the Will Knox band and it's called, Cog in the Machine.
And this is yesterday's recording.
It's pop music so there's a second verse which is the same melody as the first verse.
Then the chorus comes back. It's so contrived.
The first step in mixing is to try and develop a vision of what you want it to sound like.
If this makes happy, print it.
Send it out.
Right? Now, if you tell yourself: "Well, the vocal is a little mid heavy and it's a little flat, and I don't hear the back-wall then the bass rings on that one note I wish that the bass drum was a little louder when it hits this".
Then you are ready to start mixing.
But if you listen to the track and you have no idea of what to do with it.
Then mix is done, move on.
Right? Don't start twiddling knobs because you have 700 plug-ins, of which you bought three, at your disposal.
It's important, it's all about projecting a certain vision.
How do you develop the vision, you develop the vision by...
listening to music.
The more that you listen to music, preferably different kinds of music, not just super heavy thrash metal, but also what super heavy thrash came from, and everything around that style created your taste.
Then you have a reference. You can tell yourself, OK...
If you listen to enough Folk music and then enough modern pop music, I think that the Will Knox band is not really a folk band, they're definitely not a pop band, I don't hear 'UUmm tsss umm ttss'.
We have a folk writing sensibility with a kind of like a odd shaped sonic imprint that's gonna borrow from all those styles.
I happen to listen to all those styles so...
I have and idea of how I want the vocal to sound because I would like it to sound like the way the other sounds but with a little different thing in it.
And then I have and idea of what the space should be because I have it in my head already.
I already know what I want this to sound like in the end.
Once you have your vision, you get to set your mix up.
Today I'm gonna show you analog summing.
Analog summing is basically the way records have been made from the time they had consoles and tape machines up until someone decided it was cool to make music with just the computer.
Right? So for that period of time, which is the period of time that most of the records we like come from, then there was a brief period of time for ten years when people decided that it's totally cool to make music with computers and nothing else, and then everybody is wising up.
What is analog summing? Imagine a 2-inch machine.
Imagine because they're no longer around so you have to have good imagination.
Imagine a 2-inch machine and a console, those you see around.
And then a half inch machine for printing.
So you have a source, then you have the mixing apparatus and then you have the recording apparatus. Everybody with me? In the modern world we use computers, there's no going back.
They do what they do very well.
But there are some things that they don't do necessarily as well, And that's why I personally work with analog summing.
If you see in this phenomenal graphic, you see that the DAW is my source, audio tracks, bottom left. OK? I have 16 channels coming out of my DAW, so you see the new Avid interface there.
So 16 analog channels of music coming out of my DAW getting into my analog summing box, in this case, Dangerous 2-bus.
Which is the same thing I use at the studio.
It's the same as having a 24 track machine, having 24 channels coming out into a Neve console.
Right? In this case, the 24 track machine is replaced by Pro Tools, and the Neve console is replaced by the analog summing box.
Still with me? Right. Now...
Although, quad is a wonderful way to listen to music, so is 5.1, so is DTS 10.1.
But contrary to popular belief, we all listen to music on Ipods and Iphones.
So you need it to end up being, 2 tracks, stereo is a beautiful thing.
Or mono if you are really old school.
But nobody hear just does mono.
And so the Dangerous 2-bus will sum those 16 channels of music and give them turn them into two channels of music that you can print and then go ruin it, make it a MP3 and send it to the world.
Once it comes out of the 2-bus, I get back to Pro Tools and I print that, just like somebody would print to a half inch machine in the old days. Then you print and then you monitor it.
So you have two channels so you can listen and for that I use the Dangerous Monitor ST, which is the one with the sexy remote.
It's OK to pat the remote at the end of the class.
So that's the system I'm gonna use right now.
Source, summing, in this box here.
Out of this box, back into the converter.
Out of the converter, into my monitor section, into my Focal Speakers.
The way I start a mix, usually of course, unless it's instrumental, I'll start with the vocal.
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Fab Dupont is a Grammy winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of pureMix.net.
Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.
He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.
Fab has been nominated for Grammys 6 times, including two Latin Grammys and has received many other accolades around the world, including Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards and US independent music awards.
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