Overall, I’m quite pleased with my mix, especially as it’s the first time I’ve mixed this genre. I think each instrument has its own place in the mix.
I sent the output of my instruments to bus outputs.
Drums: I wanted to give these a powerful, arena feel, like AC/DC. I think I have achieved that. Gojira was also a heavy influence on my drum mixing.
Guitars: I have obtained the chuggy and powerful sound that I wanted the rhythm guitar to have and it suits the genre of music. In contrast, the ambient guitar was very low in the mix and is only on the choruses. This makes the mix thicker and more interesting.
Vocals: I was inspired by the vocals of Volbeat in this mix. They are heavily compressed, have a lot of reverb and some delay. Additionally, to fit in more with the genre, I added distortion to make them more hard-hitting. In the middle 8, I removed the distortion because it didn’t fit with the change in the music.
Claps: I put these in just the middle 8 to add texture.
Processing claps. I cut out the bits that I wanted (the claps were recorded on every beat however in some parts I only wanted them to be every other beat) , flextimed them to be in time and layered them.
I’ve found that I have come to dread opening up my Logic project; this is a bad sign. Ultimately, the elements are there, I just need to mix them. I think the dread must come from the fact that I have too many tracks in one project so to cut it down, I’m going to bounce the sections and mix them in a new project. I’ve never done this before so I’m not sure how it’ll work, but at this point I’m willing to try anything so that I can get back into this project without the dread.
I’ve been listening to a lot of AC/DC to get inspired by that rock arena sound, although I’ve found other influences in Gojira, Volbeat and Evanescence.
After putting all my new stems into a new project, I have found it a lot easier to work with them and I feel much happier with it.
I have put a little dip in the 1k – 2k area in EQ in all of the tracks (except Main Vocal and Lead Guitar) to make room for the Main Vocal and Lead Guitar, and I compressed all the tracks a little more.
Although the “freezing” process took a while (bouncing all my tracks), it meant that I had less project crashes and it was easier to work with my stems. So, I can say that “freezing” my tracks has definitely been successful and was absolutely a good use of time and memory space.
For my claps I quantised them and then cut and layered some out like so:
When recorded, it was one clap every beat, but by cutting and layering the claps this way, I have only one clap every other beat. In other news, flex-timing claps is horrible and no one should have to be subjected to this kind of torture. How hard can it be to ask people to just clap in time? Very, apparently. I EQ’ed and compressed each track.
I then bounced all of my claps together so that they would be easier to work with and flex-timed them all again as well as EQ’ing and compressing them together.
I added gains to all the tracks again (-20dB), and took some tracks out. I realised that I wasn’t going to be using the animal noises track so I deleted it. I also decided against using track stacks because in my last mix, I realised that no matter how low you put the gain, it would still clip the output channel, however, without the track stacks it was fine and there was plenty of headroom. I’m not sure why this is and I might have to do a little research but that’s the reason I didn’t use track stacks this time.
I redid my kick drum. I’m much happier with it now. Already, the mix sounds much less dead and soulless. My toms sound vaguely listenable now so that is another plus. I am really glad that I restarted this mix.
Anyway, I’ve finished my kick, snare and toms, so I think I’m going to call it a night there and get some sleep.
The first thing I did in my almost-starting-over-again was getting rid of all plugins and setting all the outputs back to the main stereo output. An organised human being would have just gone back to an earlier file but for some reason, I didn’t have one (the reason: I didn’t make one).
I left all flex-time and -pitch on because I was still very pleased with that. One reason I couldn’t stand my last mix was because Logic kept crashing every five seconds (and, yes, I did change the buffer size in audio preferences, thank you), so one of my main goals in this mix is to have as little strain as possible on the CPU of my poor little laptop.
One of the ways I have attempted to do this is to essentially “freeze” tracks by bouncing them in place. Logic Pro 9 had a feature that you could save on CPU by “freezing” tracks. This would (to my knowledge) bounce an audio file and play that back rather than going through all the routings of plugins and sends. It also meant, however, that you couldn’t change things to the track unless you un-freezed it, which took time and was hence really annoying. I don’t think Logic Pro X has this freezing feature, so instead I am going to be bouncing in place, saving as, and deleting the original. I’m not sure if this will have any affect or if it will actually just make it worse, but this is all a learning experience really.
Today is a sad day because I have decided to start again. Not from square one but from square, like, three. There are times you just aren’t feeling a mix: this is one of those times. I feel like I over processed everything to the point where it just didn’t sound good, so I had to start again. Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and realise that although you put a lot of work into it, it just doesn’t sound good, so you have to let it go.
I find Gojira’s drums very interesting as the kick has a lot of mids and beater sound. By itself, it doesn’t sound particularly pleasant but in with the rest of the kit and the band, it’s very effective and really fits in with the style of music.
To the kick, I added EQ, a noise gate, and compression. Then, I changed the output to a bus so that I could mix them together with EQ and compression.I tried having a bus on the kick sub, but it didn’t sound very good, and the recording didn’t have any bleed anyway so it seemed logical to just remove it.
I love the gated snare sounds of the ’80s such as in Peter Gabriel’s Intruder.
I inverted the bottom snare so as to minimise phase problems. I added EQ, noise gate and compression to the both snare top and bottom and then sent the output to aux 2 to mix them together and glue them together with EQ and compression.
I hate toms. Nonetheless, I EQ’ed them, stuck a noise gate on them, and compressed them, and sent the output of both the rack tom and the floor tom to aux three to be mixed with EQ and compression.
For the overheads, I EQ’ed them and compressed them. I panned them to the extreme left and right for a wide stereo field. I then bussed some to aux 4 to be parallel compressed and sent the output of both the overheads to aux 5.
For the room microphone, I EQ’ed and compressed it. I then sent the kick, snare, toms, overhead, room and parallel compression tracks to aux 6 to become the drums track. I then mixed them all together with EQ and compression. The result is a thick drum track with lots of bright detail and punching low end.
Last month, I recorded extra tracks for my mix. I wrote some generic hard rock/metal lyrics and did some vocals, and I played around with some viola parts as well.
I was listening to Volbeat today and thought how interesting the mix was. I may try to do what they do to the vocals. It’s very reverb-y and has delays.
I’m thinking of doing more harmonies for the vocals, or gang vocals, but I’ll see where the mix takes me.
I added a gain plugin to each of the tracks. I really wish Logic had a gain knob built into its channels but nevermind. I also added a LVLmeter and an EQ to the output channel so that I can monitor levels and frequencies.