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Mixing: Keep It Simple

Transcript
Hi, it’s Warren Huart. I hope you’re doing marvelously well.

Today I want to talk a little bit about mixing and some of the mystery around mixing.

I’ve learned over the years of mixing many records to just keep it simple and focused so that you have a lot of clarity in your mix. I like to do very basic things, like — let’s just say you’re mixing heavy guitars. Put one on one side, and one on the other. Like, 100% left, and 100% right.

One of the tricks I like to do, which a lot of guys I know do, is we take maybe the one guitar, pan it hard to left or right hand side, and then put a reverb of that guitar — you know, take about a 700 to a 1 second decay reverb, and pan that hard to one side, and then take the other guitar and put a reverb, and pan that hard to the other side.

That will give you a lot of width in your mix. You’ll be amazed. It really helps that center stay quite clear, because it gives a very opposing kind of image. Don’t drench it in reverb, it’s just enough to just give your mix some width.

Then reserve your center for your vocal, you kick, your snare, and your bass guitar. It’s amazing how clear things will become.

Another one I like to do with synths and things is use those widening plugins that you get on a lot of DAWs here. Like, these come standard now, and you can just take your very kind of massive synth, and then just pan it even wider. That will — again, will really help your center.

So simple tricks. Reserve the middle for your kick, your snare, your bass guitar, and most importantly, of course, your vocal. Keep everything as much as you can panned hard left and hard right. Then be judicious about what you put somewhere in the middle of that. You can have maybe an acoustic guitar in a verse, or an electric guitar in the verse just sitting around 40 or 50%, and then when the chorus comes in, boom! Put them wide. That can really help those choruses lift.

Other things to remember is dynamics. You know, once you compress and EQ, you know, after awhile, your dynamic range will get pretty flat, and that’s where you’ve got to start using very simple volume rides. You know, keep your verse, you know, maybe down a dB, a dB and a half on the drum kit for instance, and then boom, just straight up to 0 for that chorus, just so it really slaps and really comes in.

The secret really is there’s not really a secret. The secret is just keep it clear. Keep a lot of clarity, don’t spend too long on one thing. If you find yourself, you know, on a guitar sound, say, for instance, for like, an hour, you might lose a little bit of focus on the overall effect.

A lot of guys don’t solo very often. I mean, they do solo and they do listen to things, but they don’t spend a lot of time individually listening to things. They’re moving fast, and they’re making sure that they’re continually looking at the overall picture of the mix, and that is the most important thing.

I think the main tip I can give you on mixing is keep it very, very simple. So any questions you might have, I’d love to share any tips that I’ve learned, and I have lots of different tricks that I’ve learned for helping vocals stand out, like I said, for getting guitars to sound super wide, for — you know, placing instruments in the track in a unique way.

So keep it straight forward. Keep it focused, and you’ll get amazing results.

So leave me some comments below, and I will endeavor and do my best to answer all of your comments. Thank you ever so much for watching.

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Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at producelikeapro.com.

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