Pro Audio Files

2-Minute Tips: Cut Through the Mix with Distortion

A healthy dose of saturation can take a mix element to the next level. In this case, we have some keys. We have an accordion, an organ, a Rhodes, and they’re all being fed to this key group, on which I have a Neutron, and I’m using the exciter module, and just the exciter module, and you’ll see that this combination of distortion across all the bands really makes this keys section pop.

So just before I get into the sound examples, I’m using different saturation types for different bands. The first band has the tape algorithm. Little bit of drive there. The mid-band has the retro algorithm, and on the high end, I’m really pushing it with an even blend of all of the algorithms.

Let’s do a before and after on just the keys.

[keys before and after saturation]

So I can hear the mechanics of the accordion, I can hear so much more character from the Rhodes. Have a listen to what this sounds like in the mix.


[mix, with and without saturation]

And the great thing about Neutron is I don’t have to mix the entire effect of the exciter module into this sub-group, because we have this wet/dry knob over here, so I’m using it at a pretty conservative level, only adding maybe a third of the wet exciter signal into the mix. If we go all of the way, we get a much more dramatic effect.

[mix, 100% saturation mix]

So I’m going to bring it down a little bit, but the bottom line is, adding a healthy dose of saturation to a mix element can really help take it to the next level and bring it to life.




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