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How to Make Your Stereo Mixes Hit Harder

Transcript
Hey, this is Ariel Chobaz, and I’m excited to give you guys some of my personal mixing techniques, and I hope you guys enjoy it!

I recently had a request come in about how to mix to a 2-track.

[mix]

This is a great question that I think will be helpful for many people. I don’t end up mixing to 2-tracks very often, but it does come up. Sometimes, the producer loses the original files. For example, I mixed Roman Reloaded by Nicki Minaj and Eminem to a 2-track, because Swizz Beatz couldn’t locate the multi-tracks. Or sometimes, an up and coming artist may only have access to the 2-track.

Either way, here’s one of the most helpful and significant things you can do to make it much easier to mix to. The trick is to create space in the mix for the vocals, so that they can be placed in pocket, and not just on top. The latter of which can create a somewhat stale or flat sounding mix.

To do this, we want to be able to push the kick, and/or the snare, creating the space we need for the vocal to fit into. Now, the easiest and quickest way is to create triggers and add your own drum samples. Sometimes, you can place the kick and snare manually using the grid, but often, the kick and snare will have a tiny amount of swing, and so the grid won’t really help.

I’ll demonstrate with the kick. I will split the 2-track into two mono tracks like I’ve done here.

Using one of these mono tracks, I will use strong resonant filters to isolate the kick as much as possible. You’re going to want to play with the EQ and resonance to find the best placement for each song. I’ve already found the best bass drum trigger EQ for this particular song.

[filtered mix]

It’s helpful to watch the meters as well, to make sure you’re getting enough attack from the kick to serve as a trigger. You can hear how it sounds with the EQ.

[mix, with and without EQ]

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After the EQ, I like to put a strong gate with a fast attack, to get rid of other noise, and possible triggers, and try to isolate the kick as much as possible. Listen to how it cleans up the kick triggers even more.

[mix, with EQ and gate]

Once I have it dialed in, I will commit the plugins like I’ve done here. Now, I have a good isolated kick trigger.

Using Sound Replacer or a similar program, you can replace your filtered and gated kick with the new one. Now I have an isolated kick track. Listen to how I went from my mono source to a separated kick.

[mix]

The process is basically the same with the snare, and having them isolated so you can push them a bit will give you a lot more space to mix the vocals into. It will take a bit of trial and error, nudging and possible phase adjustment to get the new samples to hit right with the beat, but when it works, it really makes the difference.

[mix]

For this track, the kick I’m using is too clean for my taste. Using LoFi, I can dirty it up a bit so it hits the way I want it to, while still giving me the freedom to create the space I need.

Well, there you have it! Let me know how this works for you, and if you want to see more of my personal mixing techniques, as well as get a full song with multi-tracks to mix on your own, check out my course at Pro Mix Academy.

If you would like a professional mix to take your song to the next level, you can always reach out to me personally at arielchobaz.com.

Thanks for watching, and happy mixing!

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