Pro Audio Files

Increase Your Income Improve Your Mixes

Song Transitions, High Passing & Samples

Transcript
Hello lovely people, hope you’re doing marvelously well.

As ever, please subscribe, hit the notifications bell, which is down there somewhere, and you’ll be notified of when we have a new video.

Okay, we’re back here with another Frequently Asked Questions. Otherwise known as FAQ Friday. Starting with, “How often do you have a FAQ Friday and where is the best place to submit questions?”

Well, I’m going to give you a clue, it’s called FAQ Friday, so often do you think we have it? No, every Friday. We’re going to do it every Friday. There may be a Friday it doesn’t happen, because it may be a huge holiday or something like that, but as far as I know, there should be at least 52 of them. Maybe 51 of them, depending on how many Fridays there are in a year. So yes, we’re going to do one of them every Friday.

And where do you submit your questions? Just down below. We scan and look for commonly asked questions, number one, but secondly, some really cool interesting ones. We try to answer some left of center ones, last week, we had the one about the underneath miking of the toms, which I thought was really fantastic, and combining that with the overheads. That was really smart, I hadn’t even thought of that.

So sometimes the questions make me think of new, exciting creative ideas that we can share, but whether it’s that or it’s just a plugin question, or a piece of hardware, or psychology of musicians, whatever it is, please ask away.

Do we really need an analog mixer in the studio for professional recordings?

This is a similar question to what we were asked maybe two or three FAQ Fridays ago, because a lot of people were asking like, is there any need for a console anymore for mixing? I’ll answer this in a different way, because my answer was very specific. I talked about three of the biggest mixers in the world, the mix in the box. Not just guys that mix in the box, but guys that are really busy working in the box.

Mark Endert, as you know is just like, busy making tons of records, Neil Avron is slaying it. These guys mixed entirely in the box. I was over at Mark Needham’s the other day, and he mixes entirely in the box.

So the short answer is — and none of these guys sum either. They’re not summing, they’re not using Dangerous Boxes, they’re not using consoles for summing, they’re not doing anything. They’re mixing entirely in the box.

Bob Marlette, a good friend of mine, does mix in the box, but also sums through a Dangerous, and that is part of his workflow. So my answer on the mixing section is always about workflow. Is it something you love? Do you love the tactile experience of moving faders over just working in the box? Mark Needham uses a Raven so he can lean over and use the screens to move faders if he wants, or he can just control them using a mouse.

So that’s one reason for having a console is if you like the tactile feel of moving faders, and controlling the knobs in real time.

However, the bigger question, probably what you are intimating is do you need one when it comes to recording?

This is where it gets tricky. I humbly and firmly believe that IOs are just insanely good now, and I’m not just talking about the $10,000 state-of-the-art, most professional IO you can talk about. I’m talking about the Audient two-input, RME, these — even the Behringer ones, the cheapest of the cheap ones all use the same chip, and what is different around them is the technology around the outside.

I love, as you know, using the Audient one. We use it here when we’re mixing. In fact, it’s over here out of camera shot.

There you go. So when we’re working in the box, we’re using an iD4. Yup. An iD4. I don’t know how much that is, but it ain’t that much. Anyway, so it’s super cheap. So I do practice what I preach, I don’t need to use expensive equipment for every single thing. Mixing in the box, that’s all I need.

So — however, the mic pres on these are pretty remarkable now, but why would we need a console?

Well, we’d need a console if we wanted access to a lot of pres, because now, you look back at some of the used market, like the DDA consoles from the 80’s and 90’s, the TAC series, which were the inexpensive AMECs from the 80’s and 90’s, those consoles you can get from anywhere like $500 to $2,000, and when you start talking about 16 or 24 channels of TAC, as much as the purists will say they weren’t the highest quality, they had a sound. I used them to make records on.

So consoles, as far as getting a lot of mic pres inexpensively, there’s a proliferation of used consoles out there, so there’s still a way that it can fit into your infrastructure. You can get a studio together and get a 16 or 24 channel console. You might not necessarily want to mix back through it. You could, but it’s an inexpensive way to get 16 or 24 pretty nice sounding mic pres.

I’m not talking Neve, I’m not talking API. I’m not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although, companies like API do make a 16 channel, and so do Rupert Neve, but it’s still between 50 and 100 thousand dollars. Not in most people’s spectrum.

But you know, some Sound Tracks consoles are really good. I really like some of them. Like I said, DDA you can get for a decent price, and the same with the cheaper AMEC consoles. These things now are a pretty smart way, an easy way to get in and get 16 or 24 mic pres that all sound the same.

You might go, “Well, what does that mean?” Well, that means that you can put up your mics on a drum kit, like 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 mics on a drum kit, and they’re all going through mic pres, identical mic pres, that will give you the same speed of transient, meaning everything is going to click together, meaning you’re going to get a really, really great drum sound.

So don’t overlook consoles, like especially bargain 80’s and 90’s consoles for an easy way to record live drums.

You have a garage space, you have an IO with just 8 generic inputs, get yourself a little 8 or 16 channel console with something that was expensive in the 80’s and 90’s, you’ve got an easy way to get in and record great drum sounds.

Otherwise, mix in the box. It seems that everybody I admire does these days.

Next up, question on your EQ tricks, particularly filtering. Do you apply them pre-tape when tracking, or leave them for the mixing?

Very good question. There was a very good video out the other day, I’m going to have to find it, it was by somebody I hadn’t seen before, and it came up in my feed, and he was talking about high passing. It was fantastic, and talking about how people stopped high passing, because — for some disinformation out there, and how it was ruining their mixes. It was a really good video, and I’m going to find it and repost it somewhere, because it was great to see somebody else talking about the real world.

Yes, so as far as filtering, I think if you’ve got a microphone that has a high pass on it and can solve your problem going in, I know the guys that I admire like Shelley Yakus’ and guys like that would high pass at source. They would put overheads up, if they didn’t want any low rumble, they were only really trying to get 100 and above and it had a high pass filter at 100, they would do that.

Same with electric guitars. Now, most of the time when you’re using really, really sensitive, beautiful condenser mics like they would in a big studio, they’d run high passing on those mics because of low rumble, because of bleed from other instruments, like the bass cab in a room, the low frequencies coming out could just be like, [imitates rumble], this low rumble at 20, 40, 60Hz going on, and they don’t need that in all the 20 microphones they might be having around. Not the close mics on say a kick drum and stuff like that, but on other mics they would high pass.

So a lot of the time, when people were mixing classic records of the 70’s, 80’s etcetera, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, a lot of that frequency stuff was controlled on the way in. Now, high passing is very important for getting really good low end. The disinformation that’s going around saying don’t high pass is really hurting people, because if you get a kick drum, a bass guitar, and the low end of a guitar all in exactly the same area, you don’t get more low end. You get a lot of phase cancellation, because lots of low frequencies are big huge ones, and if they’re all slightly out with each other, you just get this big blob of mud, and you don’t want a big blob of mud.

Every mastering engineer I’m talking to is complaining about the lack of clarity in the low end, and they’ve noticed this increasing over the last year from a lot of people that are getting bad information out there.

You need your kick drum to be singing in that 40 to 60 area. You really do, you want it to be pumping. You want to hear some 80 and 100 on that low end of that bass. It doesn’t matter if it crosses over into that world of 40 and 60 on the kick, of course it doesn’t, but on a nice, gentle high pass will help it have too much build in there and start masking. Masking is where you get a lot of frequencies in the same area, and you lose definition. You do not want masking. You can look it up. I’m sure Wikipedia has a page on EQ masking.

So this is really important stuff. Then, the low end on your guitars is like, you know, typically 80, 100, 150, I boost quite a lot of 200 in that on the guitars, kind of where you want. You’re not looking at doing 200 and doing this. You don’t want to high pass aggressively, but you can go to like, 150 and then slight to start to slowly high pass. It doesn’t have to be too aggressive, again, but you do not need super, super lows. You don’t need 20, 30, 40 down there. Maybe if you’re doing a death metal low C you might want it down there, but then what you’re going to do is you’re then going to take your kick drum, and every time your kick drum plays, you’re also going to compress and dip. You know, sidechain dip out of those guitars and stuff so you can create some room.

Otherwise, the kick will just get lost because of — yes, you guessed it — masking frequencies. Check it out, go online and read about it. It’s something that’s not being talked about by people who don’t understand why high passing is there, but this is a reason why we gently high pass, and you do it. Your mastering engineer will love you, because you’re going to sit in a mastering room with a real mastering engineer, and he’s going to have some massive speakers, maybe similar to a PA speaker, a night club speaker where you want your music to be played in a big environment, and if you don’t high pass, there’s going to be no definition on kick, no definition on bass guitar, no definition on the low end of your guitars and your keyboards, so you need to go in there and sculpt it nice and gently and well.

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve been in rooms where I’ve left some low rumble on stuff, and it’s embarrassing when you’re sitting with Bob Ludwig, and looking around a room, and you see like, 200 platinum or more records, and you’re thinking, “I love all of these albums,” and all you can hear is, [mimics low end rumble] rumbling away, because you naively believed like people are saying, “Well if you can’t hear it, you don’t need to get rid of it,” well if you can’t hear it, I can’t hear it on my Genelecs. I love my Genelecs, they’re beautiful. The Super Rocks are great. They’ve got a good low end. And even my car, my car I can kind of hear it because it has an extended low end.

But in general, just because you can’t hear it on smaller monitors doesn’t mean it’s not there. You need to get rid of that low end rumble. So you can do it at source like you’re asking, or of course you can do it in the mix. Either works. Either works and don’t be afraid to reference in many different situations, and please don’t listen to people that tell you not to do it, because unfortunately, it’s causing a lot of confusion, and it’s causing a lot of bad mixes in mastering, and it’s causing a lot of mastering engineers to complain about the low end being mud and no definition.

This is important stuff, because you want your music to be played through a huge PA. There’s nothing better, and I’ve felt it, than going to a massive outdoor show, and hearing the song that you’ve worked on playing out through the speakers. It is a freaking awesome feeling. It really is, and I want you to be able to make music that can play in those kind of spaces.

Wonderful question.

Can you do a video all about adding samples to recorded drum kits? Please using EZ Drummer or the one you use.

Well, the one I primarily use is Addictive Drums, and my process is — it might be a little long winded, because I use Melodyne to capture very effectively the MIDI information. I’ve found Melodyne’s MIDI capture to be second-to-none, so that’s why I like to use it, and then I use Addictive.

I do actually have a video, so there will be a link. I don’t know if it’s going to be flying across the screen here or underneath the video, but there’s a link to that video where we show you how we use Addictive Drums, how we add kick and snare samples. So check it out.

Can you explain how you do a song transition, like how one track might go to the next track on an album?

That is a great question. Now, I’ve done albums where we use interstitials. Now, interstitials is a name that could be used for anything. It could be like, montages of not just sound, but montages of web pages where maybe it folds into another image, which then transitions to another one.

You might have two very — like in music, you might have two very, very starkly different tracks, maybe one is like a huge rock track, or a massive EDM, loud, limited song, and then it goes into a really beautiful kind of open acoustic ballad.

So — and it’s — an interstitial can be that dissolve. Something that helps it go from one to another.

It might also be that you want things to be really stark, so it’s like black and white. You know, like hot and cold, you know, whatever you want to say. Things that are very, very opposite of each other.

We can do that adding outros to the end of the songs. Most of the time, the clever, clever stuff is not done in the mix stage. Yes, it’s created in the mix stage, but the mastering engineer is the guy or girl who does that. The mastering engineer will maybe have the fade, and then the other one that’s coming up, you can crossfade them. So this comes down, and that one comes up. The great thing about leaving it to a mastering engineer is you can take your final 2-track mixes, have them mastered, and then play with where you want that to be.

Now, it gets tricky when it originally came on CDs, because you have to obviously find a marking point. A point where if I hit track 3 on my CD player, it would go to that point. With old vinyl record, when I was a kid, you just looked at the grooves, and the grooves would get wider. So it’d be super tight on the song, and then it would get like this. Go super, super wide, and you could watch it, and you could drop your stylus, your needle down on that bit, and it might be in the middle of a song fading out. The reality is when I’ve done the final mixes, I might get all of the songs and lay them into a session, like 12 tracks, and then put them, say, track one, track two, track three, track four, whatever, and then add the interstitials in between, and map out how I want it to sound, and let the mastering engineer experience that.

It’s interesting. When you’re planning that kind of stuff, sometimes it’s good to have abruptness. Sometimes it’s good to have a song finish, [mimics song], and the next one comes in, [mimics soft song]. I mean, that’s exciting, isn’t it? To have a huge, massive song, and then to come in with an acoustic ballad.

Sometimes, you might want, [mimics hard rock song], like a huge verb with a massive decay, slowly, slowly fizzling out, and then the acoustic just, as the decay of the reverb, the acoustic starts to come in ramping up underneath.

You know, it’s fun things to do.

All I can say is it’s a big part of not mixing, but production. That’s a great job if you’re a producer or an artist to get together and create those kind of things. I still love albums that have tons of ear candy, so that kind of stuff is a lot of fun to get.

What is your favorite album? That’s too easy for everybody that follows me. My favorite, favorite, favorite album of all time is Queen’s A Night at the Opera. I’ve mentioned it 50 times, so some of you guys are glazing over as we speak.

My father was a huge classical and jazz buff. He loved music. He loved art. He was a painter, and a sculptor, so our house was full of music and art, and I’m blessed to have that, and he just used to listen to like, Mozart, and Beethoven, and Bach, and Elgar, and Handel, and Haydn, and Mussorgsky, Govich, and Verdi, and Porcini, and Tchaikovsky. You name it.

All the time. It was just music, music, music, and then great jazz. Miles Davis, John Coltrain. I mean, it was just like — Ella Fitzgerald, Stephane Grappelli. I mean, if you’re growing up, your first guitar players that you hear when you’re a little kid is Joe Parsse and Django Reinhardt, I know I’m speaking to a lot of guitar players out there. Let’s be honest. Joe Parsse? I’ll say it one more time. Joe Parsse? I mean, it was like the best… I heard live Joe Parsse and Ella Fitzgerald music in between Mozart and Beethoven. I mean, my hairs are standing on end thinking about that.

So that’s what I grew up listening to that music. Then up rolls Christmas. I’m eight years old, and I open up all my Christmas presents, and in there is A Night at the Opera. This is a classical guy that is an artist, is a painter, who’s a realist, who paints these beautiful paintings similar to a Caravaggio. You know? That kind of level of realism. This fine artist, and he’s given me a rock and roll album, and I was like, “What is this?”

And he’s like, “Oh yeah, you know, I thought that this was worthy of competing with what we listen to. This has its place.

So I got my parents big old Sony headphones that were probably — especially when I’m 8, they probably were about this big on my head here. These huge headphones, and I stuck them on my head, and I got the album, and for those of you that remember the album, all the lyrics and everything is written in that Queen script, and it’s a gate fold, and when you pull it out, there’s a picture of the band, and of course, they’ve all got long hair, when I’m sort of super short haired, and kind of a square little kid, nerdy little music kid, art kid, or whatever, and I’m looking at these guys.

Just that experience… You know, I said recently in a FAQ Friday that I consider myself a musical junkie. I say that a lot. That’s just to say like, I just love all music, and like, you hear me talk about Queen, but I can wax lyrically on ELO, I can wax lyrically on Iggy, and The Stooges, I can wax lyrically on Lou Reed, Abby Smith, Mozart, Elgar, I can wax lyrically on A Massive Attack. When those albums came out in the early 90’s, they were amazing. Blur, Modern Life is Rubbish, Radiohead, The Bends, Stone Roses’ first record. I mean, there’s so many great, great albums. Most of what The Cure have ever done, and prog rock. Great prog rock.

I love all music. I love whether it’s — I like really, really good music of any genre. You have to doing what we do as a producer? That’s our job is to love music and love the best of it. Well, I love Black Sabbath’s first album as well. And at the same time, we’re talking about Massive Attack or Portishead. It’s that. All the great Blues guys. Robert Johnson. I mean, Robert Johnson. If you don’t know Robert Johnson, learn Robert Johnson now. Find out where music came from.

I mean, there wouldn’t be any Stones or Zeppelin or any of those R&B bands from the 60’s without Robert Johnson. Crossroads. Love in Vain. I mean, these are some of the biggest rock songs of all time. Look at the name. Written by Robert Johnson. These are the things we have to know to know our music.

So anyway, all of that being said, when I say I’m a musical junkie, it means two things. Firstly, it means I love all music. Just bring it on.

Secondly and most importantly, I feel like a junkie. I remember at 8 years old, my father bought me that record. Every hair standing on end. I remember reacting to that music like, “This is it. I want this. I want to be this. Whatever this is, this is what I want.” And every single day, just like a real junkie, I have been chasing that feeling.

When I make music, I want that feeling. I want to recreate that feeling every single time.

Thank you ever so much for watching. I really appreciate it. As ever, please subscribe, hit the notifications bell, you guys and girls absolutely rock. This is an incredible community of people.

Everybody here helps each other, it’s truly wonderful. There are no experts. I’m definitely not an expert. You know, when I can sit in a room with Jack Douglass, and Jack Douglass tells me he doesn’t like experts, you know what? I’m with him.

Have a marvelous time recording and mixing, I’ll speak to you all again very, very soon.

Expand

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.

Free Video on Mixing Low End

Download a FREE 40-minute tutorial from Matthew Weiss on mixing low end.

Powered by ConvertKit
/> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> />