Mix Multitracks - PremRock & Willie Green - Engraved Bouquet

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 11 Oct 2021

Many of you will have already seen as I saw this in Plugin Alliance email:

They are sharing a set of raw multitrack for a song (and a good one too) on this page
https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/sess ... -mega.html

The reason I raise this is people are always saying they are struggling to mix and one of the great ways to move forward is to mix well-recorded material that is not our own. I have done a few of the Lewitt Microphone open mixes and each time it is a pleasure to work on such well-prepared material. This material is perhaps too well prepared but that does make for a problem-free mix which is a nice place to start.

This means that you can be focusing on the Story and not the mindset of what needs fixing as this can be exported as-is and be a decent natural mix. Anything you do is meant to improve the telling of the Story. Just be sure that you are not forcing it and therefore overdoing it as that will make it a fail for you.

I have pulled everything into my own Reason and taken screenshots to help you get started. I am not sure that I can share project File this as it is their files. But you can do this yourself and is very good practice as laying out a Mix Project before starting the mix is a really good habit to have as it lets you know what is in there and you already feel so much more in control.

Image

Tempo: is not noted so I advise importing at 120 BPM and setting all Audio to Stretch Disable (it isn't stretching anyway). If you want to beat lock go for it but it is not necessary as I prefer to set delay times by ear/feel instead of BPM as this makes you do the work.

Tracks: are not numbered so you should arrange them into a sensible order straight away. If new to this I advise copying my order - which you can put together from the pair of images. Drums & Bass, Melodic, Sfx, Vocals. I also put each section into a separate Rack.

Masters: note how most things are off. We DO NOT want to mix into a Limiter, it is only there to save out speakers.
The Compressor is being used with no compression to pull back the levels so that there is no clipping. Later you can push things up when it comes to mastering, until then turn up your monitors if needed - but no louder than normal listening levels or you'll feel blammin but the mix won't.

Reverbs: are your call and your art. I show a pair of shorter/brighter and longer/darker RV-7000 but that is up to you. I would probably use my own DIY VST or at least "manage" each of those RV-7000s with EQ/Scream etc to make the right Scene/vibe for what I feel the song wants.

Buses: Buses are a huge part of getting great mixes. Set up at least basic section buses immediately

Image

Sends: set what goes to each reverb. I strongly advise that Bused tracks DO NOT have Sends so what goes to the reverb is the processed Bus signal (or it can seem unconnected).

EQ Routing: I prefer to set the Mix EQ (The SSL) to after anything in the Inserts. This means any slop from Drives like Scream Tube/Tape can be cleaned up and any extra heavy-EQ can be done in the Inserts with another EQ, leaving the SSL for final Tone. (take care not to over EQ)

This I not a Competition so I deliberately did not put in Competitions as mixing is not a competitive sport or crowdsourced activity. I am however happy to keep an eye here and answer any questions or give my advice on what is happening in a mix - so long as the mix is listenable as in Soundcloud + screenshots etc (NOT Phone filming screen and speakers - that I will ignore).

:-)

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miyaru
Posts: 250
Joined: 28 Oct 2019
Location: Zaanstad, The Netherlands

Post 12 Oct 2021

Thanx, I will download it and mix it. I'm in a period of being not so inspired - so this comes along nicely to do some work in my homestudio!!!!!
Greetings from Miyaru.
Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen, ESI M4U eX, Reason Suite 11, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4.

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miyaru
Posts: 250
Joined: 28 Oct 2019
Location: Zaanstad, The Netherlands

Post 13 Oct 2021

On https://cambridge-mt.com/ms/mtk/ there are nice multitracks too....... Just mentioning.
Greetings from Miyaru.
Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen, ESI M4U eX, Reason Suite 11, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4.

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 13 Oct 2021

On indeed there are a few places where tracks may be gotten. I thought this may appeal seeing it is Rap and current.
:-)

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 17 Oct 2021

Interest has seemed somewhat limited here for this but with my client work done, and all the girls playing Warcraft in the lounge, I figured I'd take a quick run at a mix of the tracks. This is about 2 hours' work. I have recorded that into OBS and popped it on YouTube (currently Unlisted) to see if it survives without a copyright strike. I linked to the original Plugin Alliance post and to this post for context, in case anyone looks.



The Mix:
Image
The image above shows the mix across my three screens (thankfully nothing went awol in this session)

The Approach: While I know many approach mixes with the target being how to get things to sound as exactly like {insert song/genre name} as possible according to the number of Tipz n Trix they have in their arsenal, I don't. My approach is simply to listen to the song and see what I feel the song wants to sound - the way it speaks to me. Some of these will be genre things, some simply how I feel the story needs to be told. I will be honest and say I have no idea what Boom Bap really is. It's all just Rap to me. It is possible that these tracks are already fairly tidied up. Or maybe not. I look at this only from what I have here in front of me.

Reverb: Once I have the tracks in functional Buses (already done) I decide where I will start and solo that section (or instrument) and work up what the reverb space seems like it needs to be for this. I already had that pair of spaces short/long so it was a case of balancing them up with the lead & backing vocals. While someone here tried to get up in my grille about how wrong this is, it is how I work and serves a deliberate purpose just as some people mix into compression/limiting to achieve their sound (not a thing I advise for beginners but if you know what you are doing and it works, none of my damn business), I mix into the reverb space/s.

Lead Vocals: I started with the vocals. Selig's DeEsser gets run on each track. In many ways I don't like deessing but a) I know I'm going to drive these vocals and b) I know people get bent real fast in groups when they hear sibilance. The lead I keep pretty simple to keep it present. A bit of Tube from Scream4 to rough it up and add bite. I then compress that to even out the tops and give it a bit more punch. A bit of EQ to keep it forward and on I go.

Backing Vocals: are basically similar but I obsess less on formal details and very much keep in mind how they support the lead/s. Echo is commonly used (in these cases all after the compressor) to help place backing parts behind and around the lead vocal. This gives them depth and space. It stops them from seeming glued to the lead part (esp when the same singer). I make sure every backing part has different echo times and tones to help them feel more full and unique. Whilst being sure they move as a "whole".

Vocal Buses: I wanted Lead and Backing vocals to have different interactions with the room space so leads and backings each have a Bus with more of the shorter and less of the longer reverb on the lead. Opposite on the backings which helps push them behind the leads and gives a feeling of length and fullness to them. Each Bus has an instance of Red Rock C1-L1 as I find it perfect in buses. The compression amount is minimal generally sub 1dB but that is enough to bring it all together. As advised in the first post I keep all reverb sends on the bus and not the track tso room is driven by the sound you hear and not the one pre-Bus as that can fail to connect well.

Rhythm: Vocals done I turn in this case to the rhythm section as melodic parts are rather incidental in this song. I feel a crushed multi-generational-Tape thing so put a Scream4 in Tape mode on the Bus first and push everything into it until it feels pretty "muted". I then added a C1-L1 with a fairly slow attack and release and a low ratio to get a nice vibe. Again, really low gain reduction. I then back off the Scream a bit as I have to allow for the Master Compression etc. lest it sound dull and lifeless.

Drum Tracks: Each Drum track is brought in to see what role it plays and how they balance as they push into the Bus together. There is a Big Kick that appears at the start of each ~16 Bars. I really overdo this to make it hammer the bus. It takes a few goes to get it to "play nicely". The sound in solo is not that nice, but is all about how it creates a drive and swamps the bus (a form of sidechaining without a side serving). The whole idea is simply that it feels OverLOUD at that point. I put a bit of secret sauce on the Shaker Loop as these things being loops can disappear once they become repetitive. It helps a bit - or not if you prefer these things to hang like an abandoned wig in the rain. Overall I want those drums to feel thick more than anything.

Bass: The bass part is similarly repetitive but does sound great. The issue is that there is plenty of bass so the track can play a better role melodically than in mindlessly muddling the 40-60Hz range. So I hit it with Scream4 in Fuzz mode to lift the overall profile a bit and get that punch & clank movement forward. Some EQ to get that though and lose the highs gets me where I want. It is important (to me) to get the drums and bass grooving so the balance into the bus compression is important. You know when it feels like magic.

Melodics: As mentioned earlier, this isn't a piano ballad so these sounds are more ornamentation and secondary-hook than central to the whole process. But they still need to feel important in the end. The organ I like enough as is so simply EQ to let it spear though. The Piano & Rhodes both get unique echo times/tones to place them in the depth of the room - like they're really behind the singer. Rhodes gets a bit of Tube to bring it up a bit as I like it a lot. The Hook Sample is a complete thing, complete with Bass and seems to be what the whole track was based on. I however want to really focus on the melodic part (clarinet, oboe whatever) so give it a bit of Overdrive to bring it into the dirtiness of the overall song feel and to slough off that bass. A bit of EQ and it is there.

sFx: There are a couple of sound effects. Glass is obvious and used like that big drum to mark sections. There is also a Taser sound that crackles in the last section (why I don't really know - maybe as the song seems to be about drugs?). Some EQ to bring each of those through (away from the highs to keep vox clear). Then to stop them from sitting static, I apply some movement to both.

After a potty break and to see how life is in The Realm Of The Virtual Unicorn and Killer Fairy Turtle, I am back to balance it up

Final Balance: Coming back to hear (a bit) fresh I do a final balance of the main Buses and even pop on the dreaded headphones to see how reverb sounds in them. That has me pull both reverbs back a bit. I love a reverby mix (decades of Goth and Glam Metal maybe - or maybe that is part of why I love those) but I know most find that a sin worse than killing kittens with a hammer. Still feels good back on the speakers so I am calling it (seeing I am not overnighting this as I should but I trust myself).

Master: Everything is pretty well controlled already with all that Screaming. A bit of M-Class Comp to provide a clampdown on the louder section is the ticket. I use my usual approach of threshold as low as it goes and ratio to kitten-killer. This sounds like poop but it is the groove I want to find with Attack & Release. Once I have that rollin' wid da homies the kittens are let out of the sack and the Comp merely tickles their heads in the loud bits. They love it, trust me. Scream Tape for sparkle, same with SaturationKnob (that has been on all along). A nip & tuck from QRange EQ. Checking final levels between the Selig Gain readouts and the Big Meter and I have my 12dB crest (it was there already) and the M-Class Limiter in over-easy mode with Soft Clipping to catch the strays and we are done.

I like the mix I have. It may not be the cliche for whatever Boom Bap is. It may not be what you would have done. But I think it has a nice warm vibe that makes the most of that Rap: curate a pile of loops into a can and shake 'em about whilst toastin' 'bout summit only otha Rappers unnerstan'. I think I would respond well to this if I heard it on the ray-dee-i-oo a few times.

I'm now watching a Dio concert. "Sing me a song you're a singer..." You were Sir. That you were.
:-)

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miyaru
Posts: 250
Joined: 28 Oct 2019
Location: Zaanstad, The Netherlands

Post 17 Oct 2021

I'm still bussy with that mix. Played it like 20 times to get the feel; it is so far out of my comfort zone and therefore nice to do. In the coming days, I'm trying to mix this song. It's so not my genre, never listen to it, never mixed it before........

Keep you posted, and thanx for the explanation you gave on your approach.

Greetz!!!!
Greetings from Miyaru.
Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen, ESI M4U eX, Reason Suite 11, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4.

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 17 Oct 2021

It is good to work on things outside of your usual. It forces you to find (or invent) the Story that needs telling.

Remember that the first Rap records were not mixed by Rap experts. They were just the engineers there at the cheap-rates hours. Some never mixed Rap (or any) records again, some lifted with the records that fired. This is what brings new energy to a style.

One of the huge issues faced by people is that they turn genres into Religion: they cannot be questioned and have to be taken and duplicated literally lest the gods get angry. This causes not only a) the music to become very rigid & stale but b) the artists themselves are unable to deliver their own story and therefore something vital & interesting, no matter if there are technical flaws.

The other issue, strongly related to the above is that people are too afraid to question the genre religion and attendant sense of everything having to be exactly perfect. This saps the courage required to go and do interesting things, to tell YOUR story. I read/hear so many excuses for not simply getting in and doing something. My kids do this all the time:
Just about every Q is met with a blank look which if pushed delivers an "I don't know". They would rather wait until someone (not I, mcfly) tells them the perfect answer that avoids any potential "wrongness". This means that they are unable to develop themselves, let alone solve their problems. My approach is to say to them: When you hit I don't know, ask yourself "What if I did know?" And then do that. See what happens and go again. 99% of the time if they really do that (without asking for crowdsource approval first) they solve their issue first go.
Exactly the same applies to being a musician whether composing or mixing. This is why I was really hoping that some people would grab this and run with it. Making some mixed that they share, with courage.
:-)

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Benedict
Posts: 2513
Joined: 16 Jan 2015
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Post 22 Oct 2021

I am bumping this just in case people didn't see it. Otherwise, I guess it just isn't of interest which kinda beggers me with the number of people saying they want to get better at mixing.

Mixing other people's work is so different from mixing your own, esp if it is not like anything you would make yourself. It really makes you reach into yourself, reach into the song to find how you want to tell that story. Every time you do that without taking the lazy path of A-Bing against another track to try to clone it, you grow a layer of depth that wasn't there before.

:-)

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