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Keeping Your Mix Simple

Hey guys, Matthew Weiss here:, We continue our haunted tutorial escapades as I still have not changed the lightbulb in the studio. That’s okay, so it’s going to be a spooky tutorial.

Anyway, today’s tutorial is sort of a conceptual one. I’m gonna play a record and go over the general idea of the overall record.


Okay, so the record is called Chariot Music. It’s from a producer named The Symphony called Omnia Vincit Musica. Here’s a the link. It’s awesome. Particularly if you’re a hip-hop producer, you need to check it out. Also if you’re interested in doing film licensing for an independent film or something like that you really need to check it. It’s just awesome, as you can clearly hear.

Alright so this tutorial is going to be about the practice of acknowledging what you need and doing strictly that. The idea here is if you look over at the insert chains. This record was mixed completely in the box. I didn’t use any outboard at all, and if you look at the insert chains I’ve got his 808 here where I’m using parallel EQ. One EQ, nothing else. I’ve got a kick her where I’m using an EQ and a transient designer. I’ve got another kick here where I’m using just a transient designer. Snare, just a transient designer. Snare, just a transient designer. Snare, just a transient designer. Nothing else on it.

Then I have 4 effects right here, and the only thing on there is an echo. That’s it. Nothing else. Then I’ve got cymbals and there’s nothing on the cymbals except reverb. That’s it. Nothing else. I’ve got a couple of grunt kind of sounds, that sound like this. Those do not have anything besides simple EQ on them either. Then I’ve got the claps I have a little bit more processing going on. I’ve got some haas effect on one of them and some more complicated EQ going on. But then going down further we’ve got some crash cymbals and such, and there’s nothing except for EQ on only one of them. Everything else, no inserts at all.

Some effects where I’ve got an EQ on one but no processing on the effects. I’m going through this list to show you that not everything needs to be the most complicated thing in the world. Sometimes it’s best to just acknowledge the fact that the producer got the sounds perfect on the way in, and you don’t need to do anything except the most rudimentary EQ or some slight compression or whatever and it goes down further where there’s maybe some mild bit-crushing effects or thing like that, but ultimately, the most complicated sound here, is this dirty lead.


[dirty lead synth]

And the only thing that’s complicated about that is I’m using the FabFilter Timeless, and this is just the default effect, which I actually really like and use all the time, but that just has that default Timeless effect on it, and otherwise it’s just some basic EQ. The EQ is pretty important, I’m rolling off some of the top top-end of the dirty lead, and I’ll show you the different real quick.

[synth with high-shelf EQ]

And I’m gonna take off that effect and you’ll hear how it starts to immediately jump out in a weird way.

[synth without high-shelf EQ]

It just becomes like way too apparent in an upper register. It kind of sounds cool that way but it doesn’t really fit and blend correctly.

So, I mean, ultimately the idea here is I’m making decisions based on what needs to be done, I’m not doing tons of processing. A lot of these tracks get no processing at all. Some of them get slightly more complex processing like the dirty lead, but that’s really it. And that’s the point of this tutorial: that you don’t always have to do a lot.


Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is the recordist and mixer for multi-platinum artist Akon, and boasts a Grammy nomination for Jazz & Spellemann Award for Best Rock album. Matthew has mixed for a host of star musicians including Akon, SisQo, Ozuna, Sonny Digital, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development and 9th Wonder. Get in touch:

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