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HSS Episode 048-Developing A Mix System

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Release Date: 04/07/2020

HSS Episode 056-Musicians and Depression show art HSS Episode 056-Musicians and Depression

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ANNOUNCEMENTS Live Mix of Mark George's song "Ghost Dance" as well as Marcel Walden's Mix break down of "Out of the Blue" Sign up for Membership of $9.99 a month and receive every tutorial I have made and any I will make in the future so long as you are still a member!     EAR TO THE GROUND   Whether for work, school or doctor's appointments, almost everyone has used Zoom. But for musicians who want to play together online during the pandemic, the popular conference call platform doesn't cut it. Musicians and scientists on opposite coasts have been trying to find...

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ANNOUNCEMENTS Both the September and the October edition of the HSS Song Contest is over, and the submissions for the contest just keep getting better! September Winner - Micheal Reynolds - Grey October Winner - Mark George - The Other Side of Sound If you'd like to get involved in the next song contest be sure to click the link in the show notes, or if you're watching on YouTube check the description of this video for any applicable links. The November Edition of the song contest is soon coming to a close and the deadline for this one is the 30th There will be a December Song...

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ANNOUNCEMENTS The August Edition of the HSS Song Contest is over with Mark George coming out on top as the winner. Although it was incredibly hard to choose a winner, Mark’s song,  “The Other Side of Sound” was picked due to its arrangement, it’s clarity and balance, as well as the interest it generated even as an instrumental piece. You can hear the song and listen to my comments on it here: ()   The September Edition of the HSS Song Contest is on!    Here are the guidelines for the contest. Original non-copyrighted work  No lewd lyrics or vulgarity ...

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ANNOUNCEMENTS The July Edition of the HSS Song Contest is over with Gary Brun coming out on top as the winner. Gary’s song was chosen by a panel of judges that I had arranged to be on the show for the livestream. () The August Edition of the HSS Song Contest is on! () -One file per submission -No copyrighted material -MP3 or WAV format  Wanna join the HSS Session Players? ()   EAR TO THE GROUND -THIS MONTHS 3 FREE PLUGINS HAS BEEN REPLACED BY ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS- 1. Flock With Flock, team members can exchange messages, share files, host video conferences, manage to-dos,...

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View the video version here: Warren Huart is on the show to take questions from the audience as well as just provide a ton of value (as usual).  Wanna learn from Warren? Join the Produce Like A Pro Academy here: If you join before August 1st, post your screenshot here to be entered into the drawing for the Audio-Technica headphones!  

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Watch the video version of this episode here: https://youtu.be/1-STwaPePTE ANNOUNCEMENTS Quarantine Song Challenge Ends Welcome back my fellow fader finaglers! Well, The Quarantined Song Challenge has officially come to a close and the results are in, Chris Sanders was voted as the winner and had a ton of support from the community over on the YouTube channel as well as in the live chat. With a towering amount of vote his submission "The Garden Song" won out over everyone else! Stick around to the end of the podcast, I'm going to play you the song that won! After the closing of the challenge...

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ANNOUNCMENTS Quarantine Song Challenge-  We have had several submissions for the Quarantine Song Challenge and there has been a ton of talent represented! Due to time availability and the decreasing number of submissions, I believe it's a good time to bring it to a close. So, the final day for entering the QSC will be this Friday, May 22nd. The voting will begin the following Monday on the live stream as we all listen one last time to all the submissions and vote on them together. (There will also be offline voting available for those that missed the stream, but it will all take place on...

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Watch the video version here:  

HSS Episode 048-Developing A Mix System show art HSS Episode 048-Developing A Mix System

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ANNOUNCMENTS Quarantine Song Challenge- Are you a musician or instrumentalist that has currently found yourself indoors more than usual, and with extra time on your hands? Well, in order to break up the monotony and create a little fun, I am doing a "Quarantine Song Challenge".   Details: Starting Friday April 10th, I am giving all who would be willing, a challenge. The mission should you choose to accept it, is this: Create a song within a 2 week time-frame. That would put you handing in your final submission on Friday April 24th. This should be a version of your best rough...

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ANNOUNCMENTS Recent live stream success - HSS Live-Artist Spotlights 006   EAR TO THE GROUND 1 New music is no longer a thing, thanks to a pair of lawyers who created an algorithm to write every single  that can possibly exist. Rather than claiming all music as their personal property, however, the duo have released their entire catalog of tunes into the public domain, in the hope that this will bring an end to copyright lawsuits.   Lawyer, musician, and programmer Damien Riehl came up with the idea after realizing that all singer-songwriters are essentially...

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  • Quarantine Song Challenge- Are you a musician or instrumentalist that has currently found yourself indoors more than usual, and with extra time on your hands? Well, in order to break up the monotony and create a little fun, I am doing a "Quarantine Song Challenge".
Details: Starting Friday April 10th, I am giving all who would be willing, a challenge. The mission should you choose to accept it, is this: Create a song within a 2 week time-frame. That would put you handing in your final submission on Friday April 24th. This should be a version of your best rough mix, or if you're very productive a completed masterpiece that's fully mixed and mastered. I will then choose 3 of the best submissions and showcase them on my channel live for all to hear and give my personal feedback as well. The submission with the most votes will be mixed and mastered by yours truly.
Technicalities: Submissions need to be in high quality WAV files preferably 24bit. If your hopeful of winning, make sure that your project is recorded and mixed in 24-bit with a sample rate of 44.1-kHz
 With all the uncertainty surrounding local businesses and the some of the cold crafty moves of corporate America, it is refreshing to hear that there are still a few good companies out there. Fender, is no exception. 
How does this sound for a midday stress release at work? You leave your desk, pick up a guitar and just jam. It’s a workplace feature that’s core to Fender. This 71-year-old company has crafted instruments for musical icons ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Jimi Hendrix, and in its new Hollywood headquarters, (designed by Rapt Studio) guitars line the walls -- acoustic, electric, one-of-a-kind beauties- and employees are encouraged to play any time of day. (Talent is not required, but I suspect it’s greatly preferred.)  This historic company is currently focused on investing in new technology and talent, which is helping Fender keep up in an increasingly competitive music world. 

Bennett Kolasinski (Fender/Software Engineering Manager)

“We’ve interviewed a lot of people for jobs here, and sometimes they’re like, ‘Do I have to play guitar?’ We do have some sick guitarists, but we also have people that don’t know how to play, and they’re maybe working on the Fender Play app. It’s a product that teaches how to play guitar, so we need those nonmusical points of view.”
To get a look into the psyche of Fender's leadership, here's what the CEO of Fender had to say,

Andy Mooney (Fender/CEO)

“I met Phyllis Fender, Leo Fender’s wife, last year, and she said something that really struck me. Later in his life, Leo had said to her that he believed all artists were angels and that God had put him on this planet to give them wings. That’s been the mission of the company: Whether we do it by digital means in terms of encouraging people to learn guitar or whether we’re physically putting guitars in their hands, we’re trying to give wings to artists.”
2 If you've been researching ways to hone your craft during these trying times, then look no further than Produce Like A Pro. Produce Like A Pro is the equivalent of an internship at a major studio with an amazing producer as your mentor. Warren Huart, the founder of Produce Like A Pro, is a record producer, musician, composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Heralded as a multi-platinum producer for more bands than I have time to name, Warren is the owner of Spitfire Studio in LA. Since 2014, he has opened up his world to an ever growing community of audio lovers through the Produce Like A Pro Academy and his YouTube Channel. 
Recently as a way of giving back to his followers and soon to be's, he has generously made some of his paid course free for the public to create a way to learn during this time of isolation.
Some of the courses available now are:
Follow Warren through his hybrid mix process and learn how to use a combination of both analog and digital processing to create awesome sounding music. See a complete breakdown of his mix and learn exactly how he makes his mixing decisions.
In this mix, you will learn more about EQ, compression, saturation, multiband compression, distortion, and even parallel processing. Then, you can download the multitracks and mix the song yourself!
In this course, you learn how to mix completely in the box! There is no need for extra hardware or equipment with this course. It is 100% computer-based mixing with plugins!
You’ll get to learn more about fundamental parts of mixing including EQ, compression, saturation, multiband compression, distortion, parallel processing and more! Follow along with Warren as he goes through each step of the mix and show you exactly what he is doing, as well as explain why he does it, so you are able to apply these principles to your own mixes!
In this course, Matt explains his drum kit choice and his philosophy behind choosing the right components to create a huge drum sound. You'll  also learn how to control the ring of your toms and snare, how to make your kit and tom sound cohesive, and how to keep your snare tuning consistent through longer recording sessions and live events.
As if that wasn't enough, you will also learn how to create a signature sound for your drums by learning special micing techniques. 
  • SPAN - Although this plug in has been around for awhile, a lot of newcomers may not know it exists.  Voxengo's SPAN is a free real-time “fast Fourier transform” audio spectrum analyzer plugin for professional sound and music production applications. SPAN supports multi-channel analysis and can be set to display spectrums from two different channels or channel groups at the same time.  What's more, your spectrum's color can be chosen to taste. SPAN also features output level metering with adjustable ballistics and integration time and K-0.system metering (including calibration K-system metering).  SPAN displays level metering statistics, headroom estimation and true peak clipping detection. Correlation metering is available as well. I personally love to use this plug in on my reference tracks. By utilizing its dual metering feature you can see the frequency spectrum of your reference track overlaid on top of your current mix, this has been a huge help in getting my mix to translate better, both creatively and technically.
  • Rough Rider Rough Rider, by Audio Damage, is a modern compressor with a bit of "vintage" style bite, and a uniquely warm sound. Perfect for adding compression effects to your drum buss, it also sounds great with synth bass, clean guitar, and backing vocals. Definitely not an all-purpose compressor, Rough Rider is at its best when used to add pump to rhythmic tracks. Still, you can use it however you'd like. The Compressor Police aren't gonna come to your house and give you a citation. So download it for free, slap it on a track and start cranking some knobs.
  • Project Time - This useful plug in from HOFA shows the time that has passed during an open DAW project. It records time in hours, minutes, and seconds, has a pause function and even writes a log so you can see when you worked on the project and for how long. Every log entry can be commented on as well. The timer starts as soon as it gets loaded into a plug-in slot in your DAW. The stopped time is saved with the closing of the project and resumes by reopening the project. Perfect for keeping track of your time for a multiplicity of reasons.
Developing A Mix System
When it comes to anything creative, we creatives generally shy away from anything that tries to inhibit or place us in a box. For this cause, some are staunch defenders of not using templates, or anything that may "guide" the creative process outside of the creators own bounds. While I see the purist approach of that and do ascribe to the thought that creativity should be unbridled, at the same time we live in an ever demanding world that is constantly at war with our precious time. 
That said, if I can alleviate some of the more mundane tasks that slow me down in my initial approach, you'd better believe I'm all for it! This is why I personally use templates. Now, I know, the purist in me cringes at even saying this but the minimalist in me says, "speak on". At this point it is imperative for me to outline exactly what I mean when I say "templates".
Picture this: The inspiration hits. You pick up your instrument of choice, for all intrinsic purposes we will say guitar, and the juices are just flowing. You bang out a killer chorus and now you're really feeling it! You kick open the door to the studio, fling out the keyboard tray, turn the computer on (at this point the juices are still flowin'). Finally your desktop opens, you open up your DAW and select, "Create New Project". Now, in your purist mind you select "blank project", denoting that nothing is in your path to inhibit creativity, just a clean slate!
Now, load in an empty track. Set the routing options up in your DAW. Name it something creative, like guitar goodness. At this point, you've just burned 3 minutes up, but your creative fires are still burning hot! You pull out your favorite guitar, plug it in to your got-to amp and mic it up with that favorite mic of yours. So, now another 7 minutes has been robbed. The creative fire is burning, yet, the flames are diminishing. You tune up the guitar, take care that your levels are good going into the DAW, and finally 30 minutes later you get that guitar take into a newly created track. 
Keep in mind, you're using your favorite guitar. It's your go-to amp. Yet, even after the take is nailed you know you're going to have to do some processing on it. So, naturally you reach for your favorite compressor plug in and a good reverb. The same ones you use on every mix, because much like that favorite guitar and go to amp, you know them. Now you dial in that go to setting that you normally use on every guitar track to start with, and you've effectively wasted another 20 minutes getting it to that point. Ah, but your being creative! 
At this point the smoldering embers of creativity give way to the time and as you gaze toward the wall clock you realize that in an hour and a half you have one guitar track to show for yourself and time is up because kids need bedtime stories and the wife needs the trash taken down. 
Now had this scenario been changed by the addition of utilizing templates. You could still have 30-45 minutes left to lay down a second layer of guitar or develop a melody on the keys. After all, you already knew what guitar you were after, what amp you were using, and your mic choice.In a sense you were using those starting points as templates for your tone. So, what if you would've loaded a project template that already had the name "Electric Guitar Track" tacked on it, along with your two favorite starting plug ins for guitar, set to your favorite starting positions. Just think of how much time you could've saved yourself. 
Remember, part of the beauty of the digital recording age is that at anytime you can go back and change things with an instant recall of settings. So it really doesn't do any good to start from scratch when you can always go back and perfect a templates approach. 
Ok, so what does all this have to do with mixing?
Well, much like the scenario we just discussed in a recording session, you can save yourself time and frustration by developing a system to mixing that can be completely adaptable to your workflow. I will briefly describe current system and show you what I mean.
  1. Import all the tracks in to my DAW (Cakewalk by BandLab)
  2. Name every track that doesn't fit into my pre-named slot within my template
  3. Make sure they are color coordinated with applicable track icons
  4. Bottom out my all faders and switch the Master Bus to mono (this will aide in hearing phase issues)
  5. Bring up each element one at a time and get a feel for where it needs to set in the mix
  6. Do a rough mix of levels and take care of edits
  7. EQ those elements that are stepping on one another until cohesion is achieved 
  8. Switch the Master Bus to Stereo and begin panning things L-C-R
  9. Slowly start adding in desired effects, being mindful of level matching - this includes creating sends to my template reverb/delay/saturation channels
  10. Fold back down to Mono and Import Reference tracks
  11. Get my best Mono mix with my desired effects in place
  12. Let it bloom back out to Stereo and get out my note pad
  13. Once I am happy with my current mix I listen back all the way through "blindly" and touch nothing, I only write down what I hear needs addressed
  14. Address the issues found on the first pass and listen to it again, same rules apply, touch nothing only write down what I hear
  15. Rinse and Repeat until the said mix is done
Now, if you notice, my approach is one that gets all of the technical stuff out of the way first. Then I move into the creative phase without anything to inhibit my flow. Next I move into an analytical stage that allows me to make decisions with more clarity, as well as keeps me from continually fiddling with knobs. Now, although this method does vary from time to time, this has worked for me and allowed me to finish my projects faster and with less strain on my mental faculties, faculties that are now and always have been in question since I was born. 
I would encourage you to develop a system, a templates of sorts that you use every time you approach a mix. Improve on it over time until you can become the master of the mix instead of the pupil of time. I'd like to close by saying this, the system needs to come before creativity. Why? Because creativity can follow the system, but the system will never be able to follow creativity.
Download your free copy of this 15 Step Mix System here: 15_STEP_MIX_SYSTEM
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