150: We Answer Your Mixing Questions

150: We Answer Your Mixing Questions

To celebrate 150 episodes of The Self-Recording Band Podcast ?, we're sharing the replay of our Mixes Unpacked - Vol. 2 Q&A session with you!


Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!

We got amazing questions on things like drum samples, saturation/distortion, gain staging, routing, acoustic guitar processing, channel strip plugins, panning, side-chaining, limiting, distorted guitar tones, vocal stacks… - and we answered them all!

This was part of the early-bird deal, when we first launched the course. Students could leave questions and comments for us below each video and we promised to reply to all of them in a live session, so they would get the most out of the course.

When it was time for us to answer, we decided to turn the Q&A session into a public event for our community, so that everyone could benefit from their peers' amazing questions, get detailed mixing advice and discover what's waiting inside Mixes Unpacked!

What a fun, end-of-the-year meetup that was!

Listen to the full session now on the podcast.

Thank you for another year of listening to this show, thank you for being a part of our community and thank you for making music. Your art matters and the world needs it.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 150 - Automatic Episode Transcript - Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Benedikt: Yeah, the drums are really, we often said it, you can get away with a sort of, not crappy, but maybe like, you know, a little bit of an edgy guitar tone. You can always say that's intentional in character and stuff, but like, when the drums suck, it just sucks.

Hello and welcome to the Mixes Unpacked q and a session. Uh, this is a live stream If you are in the audience now and you hear me talk and see me talk, and hopefully all of that works then welcome. Thank you for being here. This is live, so it's happening this minute. Um, Malcolm and I, Malcolm and I, we will go through a list of questions. That the people who have access to our latest mixing course mix is unpacked. Volume two have pre-submitted and we promise to do q and a sessions. So this is it. We're gonna go through this, uh, list of questions, we're gonna answer them. And, uh, if you are a coaching student or have bought the course, then you have the chance to leave questions in the chat as well, because that was part of the deal of the bundle. And we're gonna collect those questions. If you wanna do that, please put the letter Q and brackets and then your question. So, um, Wayne is gonna be, um, he's a team member here at the surf recording band, and Wayne is gonna collect those questions and give them to us at the end. So maybe Wayne please do a example question or something in the chat. Please put one in the chat so that people see how that works. And if you have any question, just put it in that format in the chat. So we'll find it and get to that later. So once again, thank you for joining us today. Let us know in the chat if you can hear us, or, uh, fine. If, if that is all good and, and working and, um, Thank you, Wayne. There it is. Obviously it works. Very, very cool. So yeah, and then depending on how long this will take and, and all of that, we'll eventually open it up at the end and people can call in and ask us questions directly. We'll see how that goes first of, but first we go through the pre-submitted ones, right?

So, hello, I'm not alone here. I'm with Malcolm. Hi Malcolm. How are you?

Malcom: Hello. Hey everyone. Super excited to be here. Thank you for joining us This. It's been too long since we've done something like this, Benny, so this will be great. Um, yeah. Go into the chat Inside of this, I think everybody's got the ability to chat, right? Um, and type in where you're calling from and just let us know where people are getting in from and watching this, it's always super exciting to see

Benedikt: absolutely. Exactly. Tell us who you are and where you are watching this from. Absolutely. Super exciting.

Malcom: and bonus, tell us how long you've been, uh, listening to the podcast. That'd be really cool as well.

Benedikt: Oh yeah, yeah, sure. Absolutely. And by the way, please also leave your questions if you are, um, or like just engage, like, no matter if you, if you are, um, a core student or a coaching student or whatever, if we get to it in the end, we might do it. But, um, just, you know, put the questions in there, put the, um, yeah, engage with the audience and, uh, we're gonna try and make this a meet up and we'll see through how many questions we, we can get. Um, okay. So, hey Chris from b from Penn's neighborhood . I, I wonder, I wonder which Chris that is, but hi Chris. Let's see you,

Malcom: Uh, that means that I'll have like one more person to hang out with when I eventually come visit

Benedikt: Oh yeah, yeah, for sure. for sure. We gotta do that, man, at some point. So, uh, first of all, also, I wanna thank you all for listening to the podcast, for being a subscriber. If you're on my email list and got the link to that or for being in the, in the Self Recording bank community, we really appreciate you and we are glad for every single one of you and, uh, yeah, super, super, super stoked to be doing this. So thank you very much. Thank you for taking the time to be with us here today.

Malcom: Yeah. Thank you so much. It's, uh, we were talking about it earlier. We recorded an episode this morning and, uh, it's the hundred and 50th episode is gonna be our next recording, so it's like, feels like a milestone. So again, thank.

Benedikt: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, okay, uh, let's dive into this. So if you don't have the course, and if you're not a coaching student, this is what Mixes, unpacked is all about. We just do a quick recap. Mixes, unpacked is a mixing course. Well, Malcolm and I both open up a session that we've. And, uh, um, these are real sessions that we've mixed for real artists, and we open up these sessions and we walk you through exactly what we did. Every step along the way, like all the moves, uh, we made all the EQ choices and compression that we used, all the effects, everything, the automation, like the whole mix. We just, it's like a, a full mix walkthrough. And we show you everything we've done to transform these mixes from raw recordings to finished productions. So there's one song that I mixed, one that Malcolm Mixed, the artist that I worked with is called Kaleido State from Australia. The song is called Out of Time. It's an acoustic rock, um, sort of ballad song you could say. Uh, it's a pretty interesting arrangement because they have, they mainly consist of acoustic guitar and drums. They are a duo on the record. They have bass and some other elements, but it's actually two people and it's, therefore it's a pretty, like a different kind of arrangement, but works really well. And, uh, so that's what I've been doing. And Malcolm, which artist did you work with for this?

Malcom: S so I worked with an artist. Gov, it's S K O V period. Uh, and the song we did was called Dark Ice. And yeah, it was a, it was like a really fun production. I got to be involved in the drum tracking, um, as well as the vocal, uh, recording and then doing the mix and master of course, as well. So it, it was a especially fun one cause we did some really cool things, I think while doing the drum tracking. Um, and I gotta kind of tell the stories and the context about the decisions we made while recording that helped us in the mixing process. So I, I hope everybody really enjoyed it from the questions and feedback we've got. It seems like it was a success, so that's really cool to see.

Benedikt: Totally. Absolutely. Uh, yeah, I've, I gotta say I've learned a ton too, from. Um, watching your course, Malcolm, as always, like, it's so, it's so cool because we talk about, obviously the same things on the podcast and we, most of the time at least we agree. Um, and we have the same sort of opinions and, and kind of techniques for things. But then when I watch your mixing course, it's sometimes so different from what I do, but still, we both get there, right? So it's always interesting to see that we both, um, yeah, I have similar thought process, but totally different ways to get there. And so this is always interesting for me too because it gives me, um, inspiration, new ideas to try and, uh, it's very, very, very helpful for me too. So, uh, very exciting. Cool. So, um, yeah, and it currently, the course is not available, but we will open up the doors early next year. I can't say when exactly, but there's gonna be access again to mixes, unpacked volume one and two. So if you're interested in getting that course, there will be a chance to do that. Uh, if you're in the self recruiting syndicate our coaching program, you get access to that as part of that. Um, And so, yeah. And, um, maybe this will show you some of the, hopefully this will show you some of the things we talk about in the course. So you see like how much detail there is in this course, how much we go into detail there and, and what we all, uh, what we cover in there. So let's start, I'm just gonna go through the questions. All right, Malcolm, you ready?

Malcom: I am.

Benedikt: Very cool. So you have to answer more questions than I will have to answer Malcolm. Most questions are directed at you . So we'll see. We'll see how that goes. Um, the first question comes from, or the questions come from Philip and Philip asks, Um, about module three, um, this is the drums part of your course. He says, I forget the name of the session, drummer who played on the session, but I would be interested in knowing his cost per song and potentially contact info. Uh, we'd love to learn more about how to use drum samples. Is the second part of the questions, uh, question, are there alternatives to trigger, uh, is there a good stock option to help with this or what are the alternatives? So part one, the session drummer, part two, the drum samples.

Malcom: Yeah, yeah. So the, the drummer is a good friend of mine. His name is Lucas McKinnon. Uh, he owns a studio called Silverside Sound here on Vancouver Island, uh, in Cobble Hill bc. Um, I, I'm sure you could find him just by searching Silverside sound, but please do feel free to reach out to me, Philip, and I'll, uh, shoot you his contact info as per his rates, I don't want to say in case something's changed. Um, so just start that conversation with him. Um, he's a great person, so don't be afraid to reach out, even if you're not sure if you'll be able to go with, go through with it. Um, just just go for it. Awesome, awesome drummer, amazing studio and killer drum tech as well, like really knows how to tune drums and make 'em sound huge. Um, as for the second part of your question with drum samples, yeah, it, it's really a skill worth learning. I think even, uh, even for recording, just having, being able to get the sound in your head and make it more creative and fun quicker, I think that's where drum samples come into the recording process. It's just like, okay, I, I need this to sound like a giant drum kit knot, uh, the drum kit in a little tiny room drum samples can kinda make that happen quickly. So it's worth learning. Um, IUs Slate Trigger, as you know, which isn't free, and I work in Pro Tools also not free. Uh, and Pro Tools doesn't have a freed sampler built into it that I know of. I'm pretty positive it just doesn't exist. But I know that Logic does have, uh, a function that lets you replace drums kind of automatically. Um, I, I think Q based does as well. Benny, you could speak to that. Philip, I don't know if you're, if you're in on this call right now, if you're gonna be watching later, but, um, just your dom might have something, but it might not. So if it doesn't, you're just gonna have to choose one. Triggers a great choice if that's, uh, the route you have to go.

Benedikt: Uh, I know that Phillip is in logic because he's in this in the center. I've worked, uh, with him for a while. So, uh, we've been working for a while together and, uh, he's in logic. So I think your options in logic are the sampler that comes with logic that you can use at least for one shots. Um, if you want all the dynamic options and the details that you can use with trigger, I don't know of, of a good alternative. I mean, there, there are some, there is the, is drama gok thing still a thing? I don't know.

Malcom: Yeah, I think it is. I forgot about that one. Yeah. Wow.

Benedikt: I don't know if that's, if that's worth using still. Um, then there is one that I've heard good things about the drum exchanger, I think it's called by, um, I think it's spl. It comes with the Brain Works bundle. If you, if you have that with the Brain Works subscription, and I think Philip, you have some Brain Works plugin, so maybe you have the subscription and if so, there is a plugin in there that's called drum exchanger. I, I believe so at least, um, maybe when you can look that up. Um, and, and that, that seems to work well too. At least that's what I've heard. I've never tried it, but I've heard good things about it. So if you happen to have that inside your subs, your subscription, that might be worth, uh, trying out. But basically, but basically every single doll lets you just turn audio blips into MIDI and then you can trigger any sampler with that.

If you want one shots, there should be an option

Malcom: Yeah. And, and if anybody hasn't noticed, Wayne is madly typing and getting, uh, links to the, the stuff we're talking about, like the artists and, uh, and products we're we're mentioning, um, into the chat here, just so to save you time and if you wanna check anything out and get a deeper look.

Benedikt: Yeah. Thank you so much, Wayne. That really, really helps. Uh, very, very cool. So, yeah. Alright. Um, that's says I think about

Malcom: Yeah, I, I think that covers that one. Um, we, we've covered some alternatives and whatnot, but, uh, if, if you're in logic, you've got a solution, I'm pretty sure Phillip, so that's great.

Benedikt: Cool. Toton says tune track drum tracker is another one. Um, ah, yeah, that one. I, I don't know if that's a, I didn't know that was a standalone plugin. I just know the tracker from inside. Um, superior drummer, but maybe there's a standalone thing. Cool.

Malcom: Great. Okay.

Benedikt: Cool. Then, uh, let's move on to next questions. The next ones come from flow.

Flow is asking. Module one about the song. Um, he says, and I, part of, some of these are questions, others are just nice words or comments on the course. And I'm just gonna read them so you know, what, what people liked about it and or what thoughts they have on it. So he says about the, the module one, which is about the song where Malcolm explains what the song is, what, who the artist is, and so on. He says, nice. And again, it all starts with the drums. The better your drums sound, the better the outcome of your song will be. I agree.

Malcom: Yes.

Benedikt: Yeah. The drums are really, we often said it, you can get away with a sort of, not crappy, but maybe like, you know, a little bit of an edgy guitar tone. You can always say that's intentional and character and stuff, but like, when the drums suck, it just sucks. So, um, Okay, then he goes on with module three, drums. The drums sound awesome. Makes total sense to put thoughts into how, uh, and where you record your drums and what sound you're going for. Cool to see. This was all done with the end result in mind. Nice overdubs on that snare part in the bridge section. Definitely gonna borrow this overdub mentality for future project. So maybe it would be helpful, Wayne, if you could put the link to that song in the chat. So the song is called Dark Ice by the artist gov. So if you can put it there, people can listen to it. What, what we actually talking about? Um, Spotify link or a YouTube or something. So Malcolm, you gotta speak to that.

Malcom: Yeah, so I, I thought maybe I would, uh, give some context on, um, the part that's being mentioned there. What we did, if you haven't heard the song and, and it might be popping up in the chat here for anybody curious, is we had this like SNA breakdown and we decided to kind of break the rules and record multiple drum kits doing the same part so that we could pan one entire drum kit left one right, and one up the middle. And it was just this big narrow dil and uh, it's not something you usually hear. So I think it kind of catches the ear pretty quickly cause we're just so used to hearing one drum kit per song. Um, and it really made that part explosive . So that was just an idea we came up with. Well tracking actually. Um, but I, like it made me so excited to mix it.

Benedikt: that's the over up part in the bridge section,

Malcom: E exactly.

Benedikt: And, and what, what does he mean when he says, like, how and where you record your drums? Like what, what was the thought process there? Um,

Malcom: Yeah, so, uh, Chris, who is the artist gov, um, he. He originally found a drum loop for like, the demo of the song that was close to what was played. Um, it was kind of like that idea, but it didn't sound very huge and bombastic. So when we were listening to the demo, it was pretty clear, like, we want a big drum room. Um, so Silverside sound that I mentioned earlier is a very, very large drum room and you know, you can get room mics super far away for that big, huge, uh, distant sound. And that was, yeah, like, it was just like, we're doing that obviously. I know we had like a mic out in, uh, whoop. Sorry, I knocked on my water bottle. I know we had a mic over in, uh, like a hallway outside of the tracking room that's like super delayed and dark. Um, we had a set of coals, uh, I think in like a bloom line in front of the kit, um, quite a ways back as well. And just like capturing that room sound and then as anybody that took the course knows I. I kind of relied on samples for my close sound and then the room and overheads and all that was, was the huge vibe and character and, uh, bombastic ness of the, the drum sound.

Benedikt: Very cool, very cool. Yeah, and I, I agree that knowing what you want, like knowing the end result and going in with that in mind is, is worth it. Uh, makes a, to, makes a huge difference. Like even if you don't have room mics, what, what will be in the close mics, depending on the room you're in, uh, is gonna change dramatically, right? It can be very tight, it can be very open sounding, even without room mics, depending on whether you are in a big hall or a tight room. So, um, being intentional there is definitely worth it.

Malcom: Definitely. I just saw that Wayne said bombastic count one in the chat. I'm glad,

Benedikt: Thank you for that, Wayne

Malcom: I think we can do better than one

Benedikt: Yeah, I think so too. Yeah, I think so too, by the way. Uh, Wayne, I, there, I don't know it like was last episode or something last week. I sat bombastic once on the episode and I was kind of shocked that I did

Malcom: spreading

Benedikt: usually, yeah, it's usually Malcolm's Malcolm's thing, but like I adopted it apparently. Okay, cool. So, uh, next question. Module four base again from flow. Simple loop, but great outcome. Maybe I have to take a deeper look into this. C l a plug, uh, which one did you use there? Do you know which one he

Malcom: a c a base. I think it's by waves. Well, it's definitely by waves and uh, yeah, that would've been the plugin. Um, I use it as a kind of stereo widener, but also gritty distortion maker. Um, I almost always use that plugin in parallel. Uh, like, so I've got, uh, like more traditional kind of base track, and then I duplicate it and make a wide version that I kind of mix into it as well. That's my usual workflow with that plugin. Um, it's a, a very cool plugin. I don't know Benny, if you've used any of the C Waves kind of quick plugins, but that's kind of exactly it. There are quick and uh, and fast and fun, but they're like not super high quality plug-ins by any means. , like, even if you turn off all of the settings, it still does something to your sound, which I really don't like that. It's like not true bypass in a way.

Benedikt: Mm-hmm. ? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. No, I don't use any of these. I use the C com. I used not, not anymore. I have to say I use the C compressors quite a bit. They are unique and kind of cool if they fit, but the one sort of, um, The specific, you know, guitars based drums and so on, plugins, but I, I don't use them, but I've heard that. I mean, you know, it's just tools. So even though you say like, you don't particularly like it sometimes they are a good choice apparently. So I've heard good things about them too. So he says, seems like a quick and easy sound generator. Um, yeah, that's what it is. Probably also that upper permit distortion from Saturn plug adds some nice higher harmony, uh, nice higher harmonies.

Harmonics. I think he

Malcom: Mm-hmm.

Benedikt: beautiful, vibey based stone. So yeah, Saturn is your thing, right? Malcolm? You use Saturn on everything. If you haven't checked out Malcolm's YouTube channel, by the way, uh, the new YouTube that Malcolm started or like, has been dormant for a while and has been restarted, but it's like

Malcom: Yeah, I guess

Benedikt: Really, really good stuff on there. And that Saturn, um, that video where you mixed the, I think it was a drum kit with ex with only Saturn two, right. That is pretty, pretty cool.

Malcom: Yeah, it's, uh, I think it's called entire drum kit, one plugin or something like that. That's the video. Um, but yeah, we, it was just like, okay, how far I like this plugin, how far can we push it and can we mix an entire drum kit just using it. And it like really surpassed my expectations. I, I think I could mix a whole song with that plugin if I really had to. And, uh, eventually I'm gonna do that. I'm sure

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. And, and by the way, we we're, you know, we list, we're listing all these plugins here. This is not because we wanna make you buy all these plugins by any means. We're not compensated for anything or anything like that. Uh, and we even think that you don't need all those tools necessarily. Uh, the important is that you get the idea of why we use those. So in this case, it's like saturating the base to get harmonics out of it, to make it brighter, but different than turning up the upper mid-range with an eq, right? You add stuff that's not been there before to make it gritty, to bring out harmonic content, to distort it in a, in a cool way. And you can do that with other tools too. So it doesn't have to be set on. It just happens to be a very cool, cool plugin.

Malcom: Yeah, yeah, definitely. You could always just look up like what Saturn is and then go find the equivalent stock thing you already own and try and make it do that. That's a great method. You'll end up learning more about your already uh, owned plug-ins that way.

Benedikt: Very cool. All right, next up is synth and post-production. Um, amazing. Love those effects. He says most of them are more feelable than hearable and this adds some spice to the song. Uh, yeah. This is also something that is often overlooked, like the ear candy stuff or like the small, subtle stuff that makes a difference when it all adds up. Right. Um, those crowd shots are a cool idea. Never use something like that. Um, splice seems a good source for loops and stuff. Definitely put more thought into post-production on my next projects. Yeah. Uh, what does he mean with crowd shots in this case? What did you

Malcom: So a crowd shot to me is, uh, kind of a snare sound, but made out of an audience yelling,

Benedikt: Ah,

Malcom: picture a stadium going , just like crowd shot. Um, so you can layer that in with like a, a snare drum and it's a pretty cool sound if you ask me. Um, doesn't always work. I think, I wish they would work more often cause I always try to make it happen for like the last power course of a song. But kind of very rarely does it actually work out that I can mix it in there without it sounding weird.

Benedikt: Okay. But in this case it worked, so

Malcom: Yep. In this case it worked. I love it. Um, yeah, very rewarding when it does go through that. Uh, just so you know, cause I, I think the next part of his question was, um, where you can get stuff like that. Um, and that I didn't get from Splice, but Splice is a cool place. You can find sounds and and that's what Chris used, um, our disco for many of like the starting points for the song while demoing it and writing it. Um, but in the case of the crowd shot and some of the drum samples I used, it was machines, layers of destruction, sample pack, which I don't think is available right now. Uh, but it's a fantastic pack. Um, and I also have my own sample pack coming. I mean, I've got one out, but one was kind of some post-production stuff in, it will be coming in 2023 for sure. It's already done. I just have to get around to release.

Benedikt: Awesome. Cool. Really, really cool. Really excited for that too. , that's gotta be, gotta be amazing. Cool. So yeah, next up guitars. This was very enlightening. Flo says, I definitely have to be more experimental with my guitar tones, not to be so conservative and will definitely use more FX and stuff baked into the tone in the future. Great video.

Malcom: Thank you, Flo. Totally appreciate.

Benedikt: Um, then, uh, vocals, the vocal production on this song is sick. It was, it was the first thing that pulled me in the song. Uh, I love the distortion throughout the whole performance. Also, quite interesting that the delay is not timed to the tempo of the song. I find that pretty remarkable. Fitz just perfect and gives the vocals a whole new dimension. So that is something interesting to talk about real quick. Uh, like why didn't you sync up the delay with the tempo of the song? Because that's what most people or a lot of people do by default, basically. Why did you choose not to do.

Malcom: So I actually did choose for my like, mixing template to have it unlinked because it forces me to try it that way first. . Um, and I think back th this question made me think back to when I had like my first boss, DD three, I think it was, that was the, what they were called, uh, delay pedals, like the little kind of white delay pedal. And there was no tap tempo on that one. Um, I don't think . So you would be jamming with your band and just kind of have to wing it and you would, it kind of always sounded cool to me regardless. And then it wasn't until I started like recording in dos more often that tap tempos became a thing. And then now of course, like my tempo has a temp tap tempo. Lots of modern things have tap tempos, um, which I do love. But it, it worked before, so why wouldn't have worked now is kind of what I was thinking. Um, and every once in a while it just is like, this sounds good. Why would I change it?

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay. Okay, cool. Yeah, it's, it is interesting. I o I often tried having like uns synced delays and sometimes it works, but most of the time I just prefer quota. Notes, eight notes, something like that. Or I prefer it to be slightly off or with echo ball you can have the drag or rush knob, you know, to make it slightly that, that, that's really nice. I don't particularly like it when it's spot on often because that kind of sounds sometimes sounds cheesy or it's just too much. Um, so slight offset is cool, but like completely unlinked, rarely. Um, but yeah. Yeah. Very cool.

Malcom: Yeah. It, it, it works for me sometimes. I, I find usually it's on a faster thing, like a slap back

Benedikt: yeah. Okay, then, then Absolutely.

Malcom: Then it like, it doesn't really matter.

Benedikt: No, absolutely. I do that too. Cool. Okay, so then the last module, finishing it is where you do the mastering, um, inside the mixing session basically, and the mix bus processing and all of that and some details. And he says, very cool. There's actually not much going on with mixing since the production was so well thought out. I mean, you do quite a bit in the mixing process I think, but, but he, I know what he's mean, what he means. Uh, lots of automation, which is key to this mix. Yep. Some overall sound shaping, like that approach a lot. Again, the more thought you put in the production, the less headache you'll have afterwards. True. I like that he works a lot with distortion instead of comp and EQ or DSRs. Of course, it fits the song better in this case, but distortion can do so much for your sound. Thanks. I learned a lot from this course. So, yeah, this is interesting, this whole concept of using it instead of compression or using so much distortion that you don't need a lot of compression. Right. That, that is interesting because I think for some people this will sound weird in a way, hearing that because you always think distortion is a bad thing or you gotta be really careful with that. So maybe you can talk a bit on, on that, just why you, um, what you, what you do and why you don't need as much compression then apparently.

Malcom: Well, it, it is kind of cool using compression to control, or, sorry, using distortion to control dynamics because as something hits distortion harder, it. Distorts more. So it like, it's a different sound I guess. Um, and I like how it reacts to different volumes. So like, so the singer Chris in this case gets louder, it distorts more and it's kind of like very reactive like that, where if it's compressing more, it doesn't necessarily sound more aggressive. In fact, sometimes when compressors are worked harder, it sounds more muted and like the top end kind of loses some excitement. So, uh, I find a compressor keeps the energy, um, the more, it's like the harder it's hit. Does that make sense?

Benedikt: yeah, yeah. Totally. Yeah, absolutely. Totally, totally. Absolutely. And I find it also interesting that he says, uh, distortion instead of EQ or yeses, because that's also something sometimes distortion can, you might think it makes things sound more aggressive, but it can also take the edge off a little bit. It can because it saturates the sound. It kinda adds like all these holes you have in your frequency spectrum basically. And like it adds. To those holes, like it fills 'em up in, in a way, and it makes the peaks less, less harsh sometimes, or, uh, it saturates the synt stuff so that it doesn't sound as sibilant anymore because the stuff that sticks out is when it's isolated and when it's like narrow frequencies that, you know, um, jump out. And if you saturate something that can sort of make, like, round that off a little bit and make it make it sound less harsh. Of course, it can also cause the opposite. Like you can make very aggressive sounds with distortion, but sometimes just a bit of distortion makes things smoother actually.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. It's, uh, and like it's always a case by case basis as well. I wanna add the song called for it, and, and we could go that direction with it, but you can't use so much distortion on every song. Um, and it's tempting to, I think, after a song like this where it's like, that all worked really well, but it, it's, it's not like a one size fits all, unfortunately,

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Totally. All right. That's been Flo's question to you, Malcolm. Now. Uh, yeah, thanks. So now there's a couple of, um, comments on my part of the mixes unpacked thing from Flo.

Malcom: Yeah. Do you want me to read the questions out to you?

Benedikt: Oh yeah, you can absolutely. If you have the doc open, I don't know if this questions or just comments, but there's a, um, an all modules basically thing from.

Malcom: Yeah, totally. So, yeah, all modules Flo says, so cool. I love the song, and again, it shows what you can do with just, uh, with just a great song and the right arrangement. The mix is awesome, and I really dig that approach you take to bring the strength out of the performance. Um, drums sound great with the sample enhancement, but still not overly done. It's so like, it fits the vibe of the song perfectly. So I think what he's saying there is like, you've used samples as only enhancement. Like not, it's, it's not going too far.

Benedikt: not overcooked. Yeah. Yeah. That was the goal here, because that's a very natural, that was a very natural sounding, um, drum performance. And also the trick, or like the challenge here was it's, it's pretty quiet and soft. And it's like a very, very dead snare. And it's, you can't use like full on um, you know, rim shots or loud drum samples here. It had to be like very dynamic, followed the, the, the natural dynamics, um, kind of a soft sounding, um, dampened snare and any, any sort of machine gun thing or unnatural feel would, would totally jump out. So it was kind of challenging to, I needed Sam samples, but I absolutely needed, needed to make sure that it sounds like the real drum kit and, and just enhances what's already there. So I'm glad you liked what I did there and, and the, the way to do that is to, in this case, this is not a one shot thing like we talked about in the last podcast. In this case, you need some dynamic library and then you gotta pick a sample that works well and then you gotta automate a lot too. So, especially in quiet part, quieter parts, you need to turn down the samples. When, when there are fills, you need to automate. So that is key too.

Malcom: Yeah, definitely. Then he says, uh, that bass di sounds great right away, very round and warm. And so the B 15 N is just the perfect amp for the bass sound you were going for. Is that uh, a re-amp you did, or an amp sim? I'm,

Benedikt: That that's an aso, that's a, a BrainWorks, um, plugin. That's an an PAC B 15 tube amp that I think sounds phenomenal. I'm not particularly a, a fan of most of BrainWorks. It's asos, to be honest, like the entire asos some are cool, but Mo most of them, me personally, I don't, I don't like them as much, I have to say, but the base amps, I really love them. For whatever reason, they nailed them, I think. So the, the APAC amps, the different ones they have. I, I like all of those. And that B 15 is, uh, yeah, I agree. Cool Choice for this song.

Malcom: Great. Then we've got, I was just really curious on what you'll do on the rhythm guitars since they were just a mono di def. Not an ideal source track, but you made it sound and feel awesome.

Benedikt: Okay, so that one was challenging. So it was one mono di and so no mic and not stereo. So what I did is I acute the hard and harsh sounding sort of top end of the, the pickup from the acoustic guitar because you know, when you don't mic it and you have, you only have the, the pickup sound on the acoustic guitar. It sounds very progressive, very hard in a way compared to a mic. So I, I rolled off a bunch of top end, and then what worked really well for me was saturation in this case. So I used radiator, if I remember correctly, and saturated the guitar quite a bit, which made it sound a little softer but also fuller. Less, um, yeah, less hard and metallic like that, that, that character that I got from the pickup. Um, I, I, I'd like to think I turned it more into something that sounds like a mic. Um, with, with the radi. And shaving off some top end. And then, if I remember correctly, I used, I put it on a stereo track and I used, um, ozone imager to create a fake sort of stereo thing, and then I put it into an IR and a, like a room ambience thing and made it sound like it was recorded with room mic. So I turned the, the mono guitar, uh, into a stereo acoustic guitar recording, which worked surprisingly, surprisingly well. So that's what I've, what I've done here for that sort of stuff. I really like the ozone imager. That's because that thing can do it with, and, and still keep it mono compatible. So it still works in mono?

Malcom: going here. And see, it's, um, I'm curious, did it sound totally fake until you added the ir?

Benedikt: Um, I wouldn't say so, but it just, not totally fake, but it definitely was kind of a, a relief when you add that because it's like, it's not as dis, it's as close anymore. There's like some distance. It sounds like it's traveling through air and that was the goal. I wouldn't say like totally fake, but, but definitely, yeah, a little more. Real and like pleasant to listen to, I think.

Malcom: Awesome. That's great. Okay then, uh, sorry. Lost my place here. There we go. I'm a big fan of the vocal arrangement. Uh, sorry. I'm a big fan of vocal arrangements with harmonies and choirs and all that kind of thing, and to see you do all of those similar things. I also do to keep, for example, the harmonies behind the leads and tune them hard so that you can leave the lead box more natural. And vibey is really great, a great tutorial again, showing that all the little things you do in a mix actually go a long way.

Benedikt: Thank you Flo. Appreciate it.

Malcom: that's.

Benedikt: Yeah. Um, yeah, about the harmonies, um, what I've, what I do a lot such, just so people know what he, what he's referring to. Um, Usually I try to bring out the Lee vocal, right? So I might do things like boost presence intelligibility. I might boost mid-range so that it jumps out in the mix a little more. And when there is a vocal, uh, when there are vocal layers, a vocal stack with harmonies doubles and stuff, I sometimes use a similar processing or often use a similar processing on the backing vocals. But the difference is that I don't boost as much top end. I don't boost as much of the mid-range that cuts through. So these things that make the leave vocal jump out, I don't do them on the backings or I might even turn that same frequency down a little bit to um, have sort of the same color and the static, but not as forward as the lead. So they sit well and nicely behind the lead. I might turn up some more of the room or the slap delay or something. I try to create a sense of depth basically, or I try to, um, if I use a compressor that sounds very forward, like an 1176 on the lead vocal, I might use something like an L one or some crappy limiter instead on the backing vocal. That really pushes it back a little bit, you know? Um, Stuff like that. And, and with the tuning, yeah. I like to, even with an acoustic song like that, a natural song, I like to tune the backing vocals pretty heavily. Uh, because then they, again, they blend to me, they blend better with the band and the instruments. They sit really nicely there. And the lead vocal can be a little more loose sometimes. And that way also, it creates the sense of, of depth to me. So that's, that's what I've.

Malcom: Fantastic. Uh, I just want to quickly say, cause there's, uh, I think some more people in wa on, on the stream now than when we started. Um, but please do g jump on the chat and, uh, let us know who you are, uh, and where you're from and how long you've been with the, the self recording band, uh, community or podcast, or just how long you've been following along. It's, uh, it's really cool to have you all here. Thank you.

Benedikt: Absolutely appreciate every single one of you. And if you have a question, put your question with, um, the letter Q in brackets ideally, but the letter Q at the beginning and then your question, and then Wayne is in the chat. He's helping us out and he will collect those questions and give it to us later. And at the end when we go, when we are through all of these questions, um, we might, we'll see how that goes, but there was an option to call in. So some of you might end up being on this recording, so hang in there . All right. Uh, next question's from Robin. And I have to translate these because these are all in English, so let's see how that

Malcom: No,

Benedikt: Uh, they're in German. Uh, no, I don't have, yeah, I wouldn't have to translate if they're in English. They're in German, so I have to translate Malcolm module three, drums. So, um, and yeah, Flo, thank you for all your questions. And Phillip, two great questions. Thank you. The two of you Now, Robin, he says, um, I find it very, very interesting and exciting. Like how many samples you use, you're using. Uh, the samples sound very unnatural in solo, but in the mix they work fantastically well. So definitely a creative mixing workflow. Uh, the automated buildup is incredibly exciting. Uh, I've never heard anything like that, so I dunno which buildup he's referring to. Probably the snare over up that you

Malcom: would be the snare over dub for sure. Um, well Robin, thank you very much for that. Yeah. The, I think this is actually relevant to what, when we talked about the drum sound earlier, uh, using those samples wouldn't have been possible without the huge live room, uh, like actual live room mics we captured because that giant space, uh, and drum sound, let us mix in the, that type of sample and, and like disguise it as real. Um, otherwise like, cuz for, for anybody that hasn't checked it out, there's like a distortion sample. I think we have like a, like clicky attack on one of 'em. There's um, and even more room sounds. There's like these, it's just kind of like this melting pot of different ingredients that I use to. Each drum in, in the kit, but without that like blanket and glue of the the room mics that we recorded on the live drum kit, those samples wouldn't have been possible, I don't think. So it goes back to how important choosing your recording space for the sound that you want to have at the finish line really is.

Benedikt: Awesome. Yeah, totally. Totally. Um, yeah. All right, so next question on base. Interesting how you can get a electronic sounding bass out of a bass amp. Uh, that, I mean, I need to, uh, uh, read the whole question first. Sorry. , that works very well in the mix because of its sustain. Um, very unique, but it works super well. So basically he says it's a bass amp, but you created an electronic base sound sort of, with a lot of sustain and it works well in the mix. And he, he says it's unique, but works very, very well.

Malcom: Awesome. I think L one is maxed out. If I recall , I think it's just pinned as far as it would go, uh, because distortion was allowed. It was just like, it doesn't matter if, if it doesn't sound like a plucked bass. So, um, again,

Benedikt: would you agree that it sounds like an electronic base almost

Malcom: I, yeah, my goal was to make it a, like a saw sub bass kind of thing. Yeah. So I totally.

Benedikt: cool. Perfect. Now since and post-production, um, he likes that you. That you shouldn't always try on to have processing on every single channel. Like you don't necessarily have to do that. Uh, some production ideas are just good the way they are, and so, so he likes that you said that, so there's probably some elements in there that didn't require any processing or Not

Malcom: I think there was quite a few tracks that were just, just, uh, you know, dropped in panned and faded or, or volume Fader moved and, um, and they're done. But do keep in mind that everything does lead to a bus somewhere that does have some processing on it. Everything, eventually, at a very minimum, is gonna hit that mix bus, where there's a lot of stuff happening and at that point, everything is interacting together. So it is left alone, but only because of the mix Bus

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it all goes through there and you have pretty heavy processing on there, so. Cool. But the ideas themselves just work the way they are in the mix. Right. Cool. Great. Um, guitars, he says, uh, the limiting clipping, limiting slash clipping, uh, brings the guitars forward in the mix a lot. And, uh, he likes that, uh, most of all the single picking notes, single notes are so much more audible. Um, he says the rhythm kind of gets lost a little bit, but that doesn't matter. But the, the, the, the single notes come through much, much better. And he says, I would be interested how the guitar player created those sounds. Uh, because they just sound incredible. He says,

Malcom: Okay. I am making some guesses here cuz uh, they were all recorded remotely. Um, but I believe that was from a guitarist named Quinn and he was using a Strat, uh, which is a very transient, plucky sounding guitar type, um, single coil. Uh, and he's just got a great right hand , so it, it was there. But I do also think, if I'm remembering correctly, that I edited that pretty heavily because there was kind of a pulse, like a, uh, to that. Like plucking line where I wanted it to be much more consistent. So if I recall correctly, I actually, uh, chopped up the hardest hits to make it a more consistent version of that part. I just was, just changed it really to get what I wanted and never told anyone until now,

Benedikt: Awesome. Yeah. , didn't you? Is that, isn't that in the, in the, in the video

Malcom: I, is it

Benedikt: the mixing. I don't know. I don't know. Maybe that may, that that happened before the mixing probably right.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. Like that, that, that happened. I mean, I did that in the mix.

Benedikt: In the

Malcom: just like, I wanted this to be all the same volume essentially. Um, so I chopped it up.

Benedikt: Alright. Alright. Very cool. Great. Um, so vocals, Malcolm shows how you can make vocals interest. Great. Uh, I've , um, I like the distortion a lot in this song. And the reverb trick with setting it to 100% wet and panned as a special effect is fantastic. So, do you know what he's referring to here?

Malcom: Yeah, that is just something that I, I feel like it's one of my secret moves, , where, uh, I'll usually get the, the vocalist to record a double of a part, and then I'll put that on its own track, throw a reverb on, and like, like you said, all, all the way wet. And then I can pan that around. Sometimes it's not panned differently than lead vocal, but because it's a different performance, it, the reverb is less attached to the lead vocal, but it's still very close. You can't really put your finger on it. Um, and you know, when you pan it off to the side, it, it's more obvious that it's something different. But like, nobody really hears it that way because it's the same part. It, it's just a cool different take on, on creating space from the lead vocal.

Benedikt: All right. Love it. Love it. Yeah, that's, that's really cool. And this is, I don't know, how did you, did you come up with that idea? Did you see that somewhere? Was that your

Malcom: I think I like, I've, I, it is something I've done many times. Just, uh, we're recording vocals. I'm like, oh, do that again. And it's just a, a thing that came to me, I think.

Benedikt: Awesome. Cool. Now, module eight, finishing it. He says 60 B of gain reduction on one limiter sounds extremely dangerous to me. but, uh, yeah, exactly. But it worked well here. And also I like the color of the Shadow hills. Mastering compressor. Uh,

Malcom: Oh yes. It's a beautiful, beautiful looking plugin for sure. Um,

Benedikt: looking plugin. Yeah. That's the most important thing about it. Yeah, no, it, it sounds cool too, but it looks like a, like a spider, like a close shot from a spider face or something

Malcom: Yeah, it's, it's so wild looking. Uh, I, I've actually seen some shadow hails gear in person and it's equally cool looking and much more cool looking actually in person. It's dangerously cool looking

Benedikt: yeah,

Malcom: Um, but uh, yeah, uh, I just limit it until I'm happy. Don't, don't worry about what the number says

Benedikt: Yes, exactly. Very cool.

Malcom: If you see the number and you're worried, reference another song and make

Benedikt: Yeah. I maybe double check? Yeah. Depending on

Malcom: a little bit.

Benedikt: yeah. Depending on for how long the session has been going on. It's if you might miss, uh, important information there, . Yeah. Um, okay. Cool. Uh, thank you Robin, for those questions. Excellent questions. And, and also thank you for the nice words.

Malcom: Yeah, very appreciated.

Benedikt: Cool. Next up Debbie Thompson, he says, and I'm not sure yet who the questions are for, but I'm just gonna read it. Um, if there are questions in there. Um, he says, hi, I've finished mixes, unpack two now, and I feel like I've learned a lot. Obviously it's somewhat more like the sort of stuff I'm doing. Okay. So he is talking about my, um, part of the course because Debbie's doing like, yeah, sometimes acoustic stuff, but like pop rock sort of thing. Um, more of the sort of stuff that I'm doing. So it feels I can apply a lot of what is in the videos. Uh, the videos show the amount of thinking that goes into a mix and what's at stake. Um, it's making me realize how much thought I should put into what I do in a good way. Cool. Thank you. That's glad to. I think seeing how you processed each track and why was really useful. Even with stock plugins, uh, I'm hoping it helps me see the process more clearly and what to be thinking about. Yeah, the why is really important. That's why that's a big, big thing with this course. It's not just copy these settings with the exact same plugins, but we try to explain why we do things and you can absolutely do those things with other tools too, most of the time. Um, so I had some specific questions, but most of them aren't about the individual videos. Okay. So let's go on a general note. I have decided to manage with the plug-ins and software I have for the time being, but I'm going to invest in much better monitoring headphones and an additional mic and SM 57. Oh yeah, that sounds like a reasonable investment. Yeah,

Malcom: totally. Get a 57, you'll be happy you did. And, uh, a good set of headphones. Like you just, you don't have to spend a fortune, but, um, like, you know, the audio technica, you see everybody have everywhere tho. That's awesome. That'll get you so far.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally, absolutely agree. So number one, um, I know we mentioned this ages ago, and he's talking about the coaching because I'm, I'm working with Debbie in inside the coaching program too. I know we mentioned this age ages ago, but I can't see a lot of use of, um, channel strip plugins. I'm assuming there isn't much to be gained from me to use the queue based channel strip as I'd only be using the stock plugins anyway, so I think he means there. Yeah. Inside of cubase you can use the EQ and the com, the stock compressor, like individually, or you can use the built-in channel strip in Cubase. So yeah, you're right there. We, if you use a channel strip, it's the, the same plugins just inside that strip. Like they don't sound different. You can, it's just the layout. You can use it as a strip or you can use the individual plug-ins, but it's the same plug-ins under the hood as far as I know.

Malcom: Yeah, I think it's worth mentioning that like some of my favorite mixers do use channel strips very heavily. You know, it's just like drops the SSL channel strip on every track, and that's what they use for 90% of their mixing. I'm not that person. I, I like one plugin for one job. It's just how my brain works, but it's whatever workflow is good for you.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Um, yeah, I like the, the channel strips. I like the SSL stuff a lot. Um, the Brain Works channels, um, the consoles. But I also have to say, I don't do everything inside the channel strip. I like them for a particular reason. So you could argue it's, I'm kind of the, the same Malcolm. So I use the channel strip for the color. Um, and I use it for certain moves that I like, but I often turn off, let's say the, the dynamics and use a different compressor. So I sometimes use it just for the eq, you know, but yeah. Um, I think the main reason why I like using why you see me use the SSL so much is because I like doing some EQ moves without seeing the.

Malcom: Ah, yeah.

Benedikt: That might be it. Um, it's like something similar could be said about PTex and other stuff. I just like turning them knobs. And with the SSL it's even cooler to me because if it's a good s SSL emulation, the numbers lie. So two K on an SSL is not really two K. If you look at an analyzer, it might be 2.2 or 1.6 even or something like that. So I, uh, and I, and I like that fact, you know, I like that I have to listen and, and uh, just, you know, that's why I like it, I think.

Malcom: great.

Benedikt: Cool. Um, so I've noticed both you and Malcolm use additional drum samples quite a bit. Uh, we've done that on, uh, the Lookout Mountain Mix. This is a song Debbie Mixed. Is this something you do quite regularly? Also, given I'm never using live drums, is it still something that's worth me thinking about triggering an additional sample either within addictive drums, the software uses or using the sampler? So, It says also as usual, I only have the stock drum sample packs that come with Cubase. Do you have any thoughts on an affordable drum sample pack? So I think we've solved that for Debbie already inside the coaching, but I'm still happy to to say something about it here for the others. So I'd say, um, depending on the library you have, if you already programmed drums, uh, there might not be a need for additional drum samples, but maybe there is because you might still wanna layer one shots or a certain different color of, of drums or something with your program drums. So you can treat them just like real drums and then add whatever samples you want. So I'm not saying you shouldn't do it when you're programming, it's like same thing to me. But depending on the library you have, you might just be happy with the sounds. So there's no definite answer.

Malcom: It's just another tool to get the sound in your head. Right. Um, when you think about it that way. Um, so when I get sent program drums to mix, I just pretend it's a real drum kit. In fact, my mixed prep assistant, sta Stacy will, uh, bounce it out to waves for me. So I actually never see the mid. Um, it's just, uh, as if somebody played the drums that way and sent me wave files, so then I'm sampling on top of that. That's, that's how I.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, totally. And, and also when it comes to drum sample packs, we talked about that. Um, Debbie and I talked about that, but I'd say whatever comes with Cubase is not, in this case, this is one of the stock things that won't do it. There's some things you just have to get a, a library of. You can make your own samples, you can buy something. But, um, the stock, I mean, I'm not saying you can't work with them, but yeah, I would, I would just, no, when, when it comes to drum samples and also oftentimes ammp sims and instrument stuff in general, this is where stock plugins often fall short compared to third party stuff. I think so. I reco, I would recommend looking into decent libraries and, and one shots, or making your own samples and then layering those. And about the question of if this is something you do, I do regularly. Yes, absolutely. Even when it's supposed to be very organic. Um, if I can get away without any samples, great, but there's almost always something to be gained with samples. And not only because I want, not because I want to make everything more bombastic. There you go. I said it. Um, but , but because, you know, there's something that is missing in the, in the recording maybe, that I can bring out or I can add better with a sample than trying to bring it out with EQ or compression, you know? So even if it's supposed to be super organic, a lot of times it pays off to, to use a sample and it doesn't have to sound fake because of it. So yes, I do it quite regular.

Malcom: Yeah, I'm, I'm very regularly as well and, and even like another use case that maybe isn't considered very often is just to create contrast between parts, you know, so just bring in a certain sample for a certain part of the song. It's, uh, now an I'm more dynamic experience.

Benedikt: Yeah. One last thing to add here. I said it on the podcast at at some point, I think if you have really problematic drone tracks to work with, sometimes the the samples, if you add samples, it can't sound more organic and natural than trying to tweak the problematic drone tracks and trying to make them work because you have to do a lot of processing to make it work. And sometimes those sound more fake or weird than just adding a good sample and leaving that fairly naturally that might result in a more natural sound, actually, depending on how it's tracked so

Malcom: totally.

Benedikt: well. Okay, cool. Then, uh, number three, group channels and game staging. An example, if I have three backing vocal tracks, when game staging, should I gain stage the individual vocals so the group track doesn't clip at zero. So, um, perhaps a bit lower than they would've been if there was just one track, or again, stage the three individual tracks as usual and inevitably have the group track less than zero on the fader. I hope that makes sense. Okay. He's referring to something that I always recommend. You don't have to do that, but I recommend trying to keep your faders around zero in the beginning when you set up the session, uh, because that gives you a better fade of resolution for automation. And I, I, I recommend adjusting the clip gain so you have reasonable levels going into your channels instead of like having the, the source track peak close to zero, and then you have to turn the fader all the way down to make it work, right? So that's what, what he's referring to. And I think the question is, um, if, if you should turn down the individual vocal tracks that go to the group, Or if you, um, turn down the group track and leave the vocal tracks alone. That's how I understand it, how I read it. Uh,

Malcom: So there's not a right or a wrong here necessarily. Um, it would depend, I guess, if, if the group track, like the, the sum of them is too loud, you have to turn down the individuals. Um, but if they're not, then go ahead and turn down your, your, your group track, your bus, um, Keep in mind what's being fed. So in my case, I'm more likely to turn down the bus because I've already set up the bus processing and it's being, that's been set up with how loud the vocal tracks for, as an example, are feeding that bus processing. So if I lower the individual tracks now that's all changed and I don't usually want that. So I'd probably more likely then grab that bus and turn it down as like a group control. Um, and then the, the processing on that bus is left alone.

Benedikt: Yeah, because you mix into that processing, right? Um, so what, what I always do is like, assuming that you start with empty tracks or empty buses, I just do. And I, I think that's just a good practice. But I agree if you have, totally depends if you have a gain structure in place with processing. And you have to be careful to not change that, of course.

But what I recommend often is to just generally in the beginning, keep the fades around zero and just adjust the clip gain or the input gain on each channel. Like you would adjust the gain on a console with the faders around zero, so that if you just hit play something reasonable comes out of your speakers and the mix bus is not clipping like crazy. And then of course, as the mix, um, progresses, I will obviously move fades and turn 'em up or up or down. But in the beginning I would, I would probably turn down individual clips and use clip gain before I do anything else. And then inside each channel, inside the chains, you might want to change that depending on your processing. So if you turn down the clip gain a lot and you wanna compress that channel, the compressor doesn't see enough level anymore. So you might have to bring it up again, compress it, and then afterwards turn it down again. You know, it always depends on your processing. The goal is to, for me, at. At to in the beginning not have, uh, to not have like fades at minus 40 or something, but at a reasonable position to not have anything clipped, to have reasonable levels go into my chains. Um, and that in that usually just requires me to select everything and turn it down a bit and then, you know, and create the mix from there. And if you wanna know how exactly I do it, uh, step by step instruction, you can g grab, uh, standout mixes, which is completely free. So if you go to the surf recording bank.com/standout mixes, it's a mixing tutorial, a video guide plus checklist where I show this exact thing in detail so you really understand the thought process behind it. But there is no right or wrong. Like some people do it differently. What matters is that the game structure is correct. It doesn't clip. And yeah.

Malcom: Yeah, I'm sure Wayne will throw the link to that in, uh, the chat as well for anyone interested.

Benedikt: Yeah. Thank you. Very cool. Um, Cool. I noticed you changed the clip gain in different sections of the song on several of the tracks. I assume changing the clip gain changes the input you're sending into the plugins. You're right. That's what we were talking about right now. Uh, doesn't this affect how plugins like compressors, limiters, and saturation react? Yes, it does. Still, I like to do that. So what I do is when I change clip game based in on this, like in different sections of the song, if I do that for different section by section, I try to create, I try to enhance the performance. So that's part sort of the first thing I do when I mix, I do a quick discovery round, sort of where I, uh, listen to the song, throw up the faders, and just check what's there and what I'm working with and what the song feels like. And while I'm doing that, if I think that a transition from part to part doesn't work at all because it's supposed to become louder, but it doesn't, or when it's supposed to be quieter, but it doesn't get quieter, I'll just grab the clip and turn it down and I kind of create the performance. I wish I would, uh, that, that I wish was there. You know? So I make the musicians play quieter in a quiet part or make them play louder and louder part, and I don't care that I'm feeding these dynamics into my chains. I actually want that. Sometimes, for example, if you have a quiet chorus and I turn it on the clip gain, it's gonna be less compressed, which can be exactly what I want in that, uh, in that quiet chorus verse, which is exactly what I want in that quiet, intimate verse. But then when it gets louder towards the chorus, it gets louder, but it also gets more compressed, meaning it gets more dense, more exciting, more harmonically rich and saturated. And I might want that. So I actually embrace the fact that my compressors are reacting differently to different parts, and that's why I why I do this.

Malcom: That makes total sense.

Benedikt: Cool. Um, yeah, and she says, I'm aware that this issue is more relevant when dealing with plugins which emulate analog gear rather than with digital. And maybe I'm not understanding the issue correctly. No, you're correctly absolutely correct. You're right. Um, and yeah, the, the amount of compression also changes with purely digital stuff, but the saturation and character changes with analog, um, emulations or analog

Malcom: Okay. I see what he meant. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome.

Benedikt: Cool. Thank you Debbie. Great questions. All right. Um, next up is, uh, David. David says, um, module two, session routing. He says, what was helpful for me is the separated drum sample routing. This way it's easier to implement non-organic sounding drums. Um, what, what is he

Malcom: So I, if I recall correctly, um, I'm actually not doing this anymore, but in this case I did, uh, my drum, like snare samples, went to a snare sample bus separate from, uh, my snare track. I think like, like that's, they were kind of very broken down like that. I think , um, sorry. Yeah, I, I, I've, I haven't looked at it recently enough. Um, but I'm glad you liked that, that that system. It, I think maybe worth mentioning that just because you find, um, eroding that works for you like that. For example, in this song, I change it pretty often. It's just kind of like, what's gonna give me the flexibility I need for the song. Um, and once you get quick at adding tracks and whatnot, it's just a couple clicks away and I can change the routing of my drum template and just alter it a little.

Benedikt: Oh yeah. Okay. Okay, cool. Um, I, I always thought that you used sort of, not the, not the separate routing as much that you kind of throw rooms and stuff into the SNA bus sometimes,

Malcom: that would've been, uh, well, I do that now. . Yeah. Lately that's been my, my thing is like, uh, all, all snares, so snare samples, snare room samples, uh, real snare mics go to a snare bus and, and then that snare bus goes to the drum bus. Um, but I think in the case of dark ice, there was a sample bus for each group as well. So it was kind of like once more removed.

Benedikt: Oh, okay. Okay. Love it. Yeah, that's, there's also no right or wrong here. I have the complete separate, like sample sample routing where I, I treat it like a real kid. So mono snare mics goes to mono snare bus and rooms go to rooms and so on. But there's, then there's people who have one snare bus that includes all snares and there's no snare in the overheads and rooms and stuff, and, which is completely bonkers to me, but it works for some people. So,

Malcom: Yeah, we, we did a, a podcast episode on this recently as well, I think, um, where we, we touched on this topic.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. All right. Um, then he says, Module three, drums helpful for me. Automated high cut filter for giving more impact on the chorus. This is a great trick, meaning you cut the verse, right?

Malcom: Uh, I think there was a few moves in this song. I think there was times where I had it Yeah. Darkened up for the verse. Um, and then it would open back up for the course. But then there was some moving stuff as well that kind of gradually ducked down and then gradually opened back up as well. So there was, there was a very heavy amount of automation,

Benedikt: on all drums.

Malcom: Yes. Yeah. Um, and if you listen to the song, it makes sense, , like nothing was really meant to sound natural. Right. So we, we could do these kind of cool clubby. I think like I, I, I would say it was kind of a club style. Co. Where it just kind of like gets like, you know, you can, you're outside the club and you can hear the music and then you're coming into it

Benedikt: Mm-hmm. . I love it. Cool. He also said, I really like to distort the drums in the sample layering. And how you achieve that. So yeah, distorted drums, uh, might sound weird to people too if they hear that, but it's actually pretty common. And in your case, you really, really mangled them, uh, which is, which is cool.

Malcom: Yeah. I, I really mangled them, but I also used really mangled samples as well, like that, that were pre-cooked, you know, like very toasty

Benedikt: Yeah. I wonder, like, you know what's fascinating to me that nobody's asking about the insane amount of compression you used on, like, say the kick drum, for example, when I watched this, this video, and I, I might be wrong, I might, I might confuse it with the first mixes unpack, but I remember one of your courses where you used several compressors on a kick drum

Malcom: I think that was the, I think that was, yeah, the wet future

Benedikt: might have been, yeah, with super fast attack also and an 1176 that is too fast for kick drums anyway, in my opinion, . And then, then another one, another one, and it still sounded like a kick drum and it had low end, which I don't know why, because it doesn't, it's not supposed to have any low end after you do that to a kick drum, but yours did.

And so I was fascinated about the, I find, I found that fascinating. Uh, yeah, sometimes.

Malcom: Whatever it takes.

Benedikt: Yeah. Ex. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, it worked very well, but I would've probably not been brave enough to do that. Um, cool. So synth and post-production, uh, congrats on this post-production. It's really awesome.

Malcom: Thank you.

Benedikt: Uh, is there any post-production sample pack or a vendor, uh, which you can recommend?

Malcom: Right. So I think I mentioned already that, uh, there's, like, in this session, I know I use the machine's, uh, machine as a producer that I really love, by the way. Um, uh, his layers of destruction, sample pack, which I think only comes available at certain times, but look that up. It's, it's fantastic. He's amazing. Um, and then I've got my own sample pack. Uh, both one that is available now, but, uh, a more expensive one that is coming very soon

Benedikt: Awesome. Awesome. Really, really cool. So, and, and there are like post-production stuff,

Malcom: in, in the one that is coming or in machines. There definitely is.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But in

Malcom: in the one that is coming, there is some, uh, post-production stuff that I use all the time actually.

Benedikt: really cool. Yeah. Awesome. Um, so you might find that link, um, Wayne, it's called, what is it called? Drum shots. Machine

Malcom: Uh, machines, layers of destruction,

Benedikt: machines. Layers of destruction. Okay. I thought it was one of the drum shots thing. Okay.

Malcom: It is, uh, it's done by Drum Forge. Who does drum trust? They, they sold it for him or something. It was all confusing. I don't know.

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay. Anyway, Wayne is gonna find it. Um, okay, so guitars, so this is very specific and we talked about that before this, uh, recording. So I'm curious to hear your answer now on this Malcolm at nine minutes and 35 seconds in the guitar module. Uh, the Fab Filter Pro Q3 is side chained with the vocals. Theq ducts, the guitar a little when the vocal is there. But why only in the middle? Guitars are like the m, like the middle, the center channel sort of, uh, guitars are hard panned. Theoretically, there should be nothing in the middle if the two sides are not identical. So this is a little more advanced. He's asking about mid side processing. It's not left and right. You can also divide a signal into middle and side and, you know, there's no middle speaker, so it's like a phantom center, but there is information in the middle, which is the stuff that both speakers do at the same time. The stuff that's identical, that appears to be coming out of the center, even though there's no real speaker, and, uh, you can set any plugin like plugins with MS capability. You can set them so that it, it only treats the center information, the stuff that's the same on both speakers or only the side information. So the difference between the speakers.

Malcom: And in theory, because this was a doubled guitar performance, there is no, uh, middle signal because it's, it's two different performances. Right. So they're not doing the same thing at the same time. In theory ever. Um, but as soon as we use, and this is where my brain, this is what I thought I was doing, and I think I'm doing so, uh, uh, David, if I am wrong about this, doesn't really matter as you'll see. Um, but what I think is happening is that as soon as I do some mid side, uh, changes, we're creating a difference there. And no matter what by, I think we're ducking some, some mids, um, in, in the guitar channel, on, on the center channel, no matter what we are taking out mids. Um, it might, if I'm wrong about this, it is also happening to the sides. That's possible, but I think it's creating a difference between our mid and side signals because as soon as we put our plugin into MS mode, mid side mode, it kind of is creating the split. Um, and that's why you can solo them out, uh, inside of the plugin. Now, why I'm doing that is to create. Space for the vocals, which are also a mid heavy instrument. So it's just carving out space from the guitars, uh, being side chained to the vocal so that the vocal can kind of take the lead there. Um, it's, it's pretty subtle, but something that I occasionally find lets me keep the vocal a little bit quieter with it still being upfront. And also those little things can add up to being able to make the song louder in the mastering stage as well. There's just less dynamic range happening. Um, so that, that was why I did it. You've maybe questioned if it's actually doing what I think it is, but at a worse case it's just ducking the mids from the stereo information as well, which is still effective because if you pan something up the middle, say a lead vocal, it's still coming out of each speaker as well. So it is essentially being affected by star instruments just as much

Benedikt: Absolutely. Great answer. Cool. By the way, if you're wondering, I'm not drinking vodka here. This is just water just before anybody is wondering,

Malcom: Sure. Yeah. We could all read what that said.

Benedikt: yeah, in Germany, like water comes in bottles like this. So,

Malcom: Wayne says, not vodka, it's gin

Benedikt: yeah, I, I, I wasn't aware that it looks weird too, that people in other parts of the world, but I've been made aware of that a few times. Uh, so I'm just drinking water. Uh, anyway. So next up, um, vocals. He says, great guide, how to create, uh, really distorted vocals. I will definitely watch this episode again and again. However, I wonder what the raw originals were like after recording without any plugins. Uh, um, also, I really like the delay and reverb usage as well. No medis sync on the delay. Wicked so.

Malcom: Good. Thanks again. Um, yeah, I'm, I almost always record through compression at a very, at the very minimum, um, it's. Yeah, it the vocals are so dynamic and they don't sound right until there's a compressor there. Um, and especially because I'm almost always recording them really late in the project, but like, there's already so many instruments, um, that are taking up space. So you almost need compression to, to maintain a level that kind of is listenable to, in, in my opinion. Um, I'm, I'm sure there's always exceptions to that. So I can't provide, uh, a non compressed version because it doesn't exist. It was tracked that way.

Benedikt: Yeah. There's no bra in this case. Awesome. Cool. So, Next up, uh, module eight, finishing it. He says, helpful for me. Uh, little compression, more distortion. The distortion gives all the dynamic control for drums and for vocals. Uh, sooth, I'm gonna buy that plugin hopefully on Black Friday. Yeah. Um, I don't know if you've done that actually. I think Sooth is a great tool. Um, can be overused and maybe not necessary, but it's absolutely fantastic if done, if used right? I think

Malcom: Yeah, it's it. I think it's amazing as a mixing and mastering engineer, but if you're not a mixing and mastering engineer, it's probably a weird thing to spend your money on actually. It's a pretty specialized tool.

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay. That, yeah. You can say, but David is, uh, by the way, he's also in the coaching and he's actually a great, great mixer. Um, so yeah, and I'm not, I'm not

Malcom: it and if you like it,

Benedikt: Yeah, and I'm not surprised, David, that you like that song and the stuff that you did, Malcolm, because David does a lot of like gritty, stoner sort of dirty rock things, like lots of distortion, you know, lots of like mangled sounds and so I'm not surprised that you like what Malcolm did there. Really cool. All right.

Malcom: again.

Benedikt: Yeah, thank you for those questions David. Very, very, very cool. Now next up is, um, our very own Wayne Colson. So, um, yeah, I mean Wayne you might as well just call in and then you can correct me if those questions are not accurate anymore.

Malcom: Yeah, cause Wayne has been, uh, moderating the, the chat here for us. Thank you Wayne.

Benedikt: Yeah,

Malcom: uh, everybody else in the chat, this is our, our last one on the list here. Um, so after that we'll see where we're at time-wise and if we can open it up and we'll get to the questions that were dropped in the chat as well.

Benedikt: there you go. Hello Wayne.

Wayne: man, I can't remember what questions I asked you.

Benedikt: Yeah, I'm gonna tell

Wayne: unfortunately.

Benedikt: I, I'm gonna tell you I have them here. So first of all, thank you so much for moderating the chat and giving, getting us all these links. So, um, I, I assume you have them somewhere on the list so we can provide them after the fact too in some, in the, uh, notes to this, because we're not sure what we're gonna doing with this recording, but it, if in case it gets published in any way, then we have these links available too. Very cool. Thank you for that. Uh, Wayne, so you've been asking, um, oh, that, that's great. You said, not a question, but the use of Pan Man on the tambourine is exquisite.

Wayne: Yeah. Yeah, it was. That was for your mix. Malcolm Wright.

Malcom: Yeah.

Wayne: Yeah.

Malcom: it was just moving a little bit, right? Um, yeah, that, I like doing that on mono instruments.

Benedikt: Yeah. Cool. And you said, what does your panning look like on the drums? I'm not sure if that was part, maybe that wasn't part of the, of the course. Maybe you've, um,

Malcom: uh, maybe I skipped over that. Um, so I'm usually 99.9% of the time audience perspective. Um, and, uh, see Benedict frowning,

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: um,

Benedikt: who wants to air drum anyways?

Malcom: you know what? I've never been called on it. I don't , I just can't believe it. I thought that was gonna be such a big deal, but like, no drummers ever mentioned it. Um, and, uh, . But, uh, so where it gets specific though, cause that's like, uh, like overheads are always hard panned and I suggest that actually as well. And any stereo pair hard pan it, that's what I say. Um, but the things that aren't hard panned are Toms and like spot mics, like a high hat, um, where it has to exist in the stereo image, but it doesn't make sense for it to be, uh, all the way laughter all the way. Right. Um, that's the only time I break the, the hard pen rule really, period, is, uh, on things like comms and a high hat mic.


Wayne: would you go something like 20% maybes, 40%, something like.

Malcom: Yeah, so my preferred first step is to solo the overheads, because that's usually our kit image, you know? Um, and that is really what's giving us, like the stereo image of the kit. And then I will listen to that and make it match. It should kind of seem like it's accurate that I've panned my rack, Tom, to where it exists in my overhead image, which really makes you be honest about if you're happy with your overheads when you're recording your own drums, because you're gonna have to deal with this later if the high hat seems like it's just way over there and you don't want this high hat that is just in one speaker for the whole song. You gotta deal with that and somehow fix it, um, while recording. So I, I try and make a match that, but that's not always where it ends up, especially with Tom's like the high. Probably gonna match that. And, and to be honest, we're probably gonna mute the high hat mic , but the, the Toms, um, I'll start with that matched kind of position to the overheads. And then depending on how the song progresses, it might make more sense to make them wider and kind of more impossible sounding. Um, like that's, to me more like modern, uh, and, and impressive when it's just like, boom, boom, it's jumping like left to right, you know? Um, it's like it can be this cool kind of stereo experience for the listener. Um, and I might hard pan then, or I might just go wider than the image initially suggested. Um, and you know, sometimes I manipulate that throughout the song. So if it's a quick, uh, kind of not important Tom fill, probably leaving it natural. But if it's a big Tom Jungley section, uh, I might experiment with it there.

Benedikt: Cool. And by the way, we can't do this without properly introducing Wayne. I totally skipped over that. So Wayne didn't, didn't just moderate the chat today. Um, Wayne is in this self recording syndicate. He's, he's, or he actually, he's the first one to complete the first year there, like the, the, the whole program. Um, so, um, I've been working with Wayne for a year now, is amazing, uh, as an engineer and musician songwriter. And now we just brought him on as a freelancer to help us at the self recording, man. So if you've seen any sort of carousels on Instagram or video snippets from the podcast, stuff like that, Wayne is the person who creates those. And I'm very, very, very grateful for that because it's amazing what you do,

Malcom: Yeah, man, it's good to have you.

Benedikt: So, um, all right. And, uh, doo your next thing that you mentioned was why did you use so many instances of Slate trigger for the samples, Malcolm? Is it just an added control thing? Uh, would there be any problem with loading all of your kick samples into one instance of Slate, for example? Oh, yeah, that's a good question actually.

Malcom: a great question. Um, mostly it's a control thing because I want to be able to process the individual like sample ingredients separately. Um, where if they were all inside one instance of trigger, any plug-ins I threw in after that would be to all of those samples. Um, so that's one reason. Uh, the other reason they're on different tracks like that is because Pro Tools, I don't trust it with MIDI very much. Um, so this is the only way to trigger it all off audio reliably, um, is having them on different tracks. But yeah, ultimately it's just a control thing. I like seeing like my template's got, you know, like my kick main one, kick main two, kick the distortion kick room just sitting there and I'm gonna put the room sample on that room track and not have to worry about it or label anything.

So it's kind of a workflow thing as well, I guess. Does that make sense?

Wayne: Yeah, mine.

Benedikt: Cool. And then, oh yeah, that love that question here. Um, this is for, for me, you say in the mix bus, um, module of my course, can you really hear what the filter. Doing at 70 K on the backseat queue, , is it like the reverse of what the macu does? A very gentle slope. So yeah, there is a high cut filter at 17, not 17, but 70 kilohertz, which is way above what we can hear as humans. But I believe, and I, I've done abs and I, I could really tell in the blind test, I could hear a difference. I can't put my finger on on it exactly what it is, but to me it's sometimes on some sources it's more audible, uh, audible than on others. I assume that it's a very, very, very gentle slope. It might also just have to do with the source. So depending on some sources might have information way up there that is completely useless. And that information, depending on what you do with it and which plugins you use, can cause audible artifacts lower down in the spectrum. So just getting rid of this might clean up some other processing in the chain or on the mix bus. So that might be it too. It might be the slope that it makes things a little smoother, but it, because to me it sounds a little smoother when I use it. Often, but it might also just be that it cleans up some chunk up there that is then not causing problems further down anymore. That's the only explanation I have. I mean, that, that would be technically possible. And uh, I just know that sometimes I don't hear a difference and sometimes I clearly hear one and it never hurt so far. So I just have that there. I always do a quick check if it hurts, but it never made things worse, so I just use it and, uh, that's my answer.

Malcom: know that, uh, that option existed.

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah. It's kind of wild, but yeah, it's, it's there. Um, so I use that on the, on the mixed bus often. Um, then the vocals and final thoughts. Um, not really a question, but it'd be cool if you could expand on this a little more. And, and by the way, Wayne, I'm just reading what you submitted, but you can correct me anytime. If some of this is not accurate anymore or you already have your answer, just jump in and tell me. Um, I barely apply autotune to backing box, uh, because I think that they're pushed back in the mix, so they don't need it as much as the lead vocal. Uh, but you'll like, but I like your heavy handed approach better and it makes more sense. So as long as the artifacts aren't audible. Right. Um, yeah, it's pretty much what I said earlier about tuning the heavily tuning the backing vocals. I kind of understand your approach there too, where you don't apply tuning to backing vocals as much because they are back in the mix anyways, so they kind of makes sense, but to me it makes them sit in the mix even more if I tune them heavily because I think they blend better with the rest of, like, with the bass and the guitars and all of that. It's. It becomes part of the arrangement more. And if they are not tuned perfectly, they stick out a little bit naturally. And I, I want them to blend and that's probably why I like to tune them that much.

Wayne: Yeah, I seem to remember that since I asked you that question. , um, in mixes that I've done, I've been more heavy-handed with the backend vocal autotune, and I prefer your way of doing it. So it was just something that I wasn't doing, but I am now doing because of mixes unpacked, I guess.

Malcom: Oh, cool.

Benedikt: Alright, cool. Thank

Malcom: Yeah, I'm, I like that as well. Like I would rather heart. More heavy handed on the, like stuff that's in the background because you're not gonna hear the artifacts hopefully. Um, and then let the lead vocal kind of maintain more of a human characteristic.

Benedikt: Cool. And then, uh, the final thing you said is another excellent course. Thank you Wayne

Malcom: you. Wayne

Benedikt: I thought the comparison at the end between the rough mix and your finished mix was outstanding. A perfect example of why we should get our songs mixed professionally. I mean, except your Wayne and can mix yourself. Right.

Wayne: Well, yeah. But I mean, there's, it, there's that thing as well of like an outside perspective. Like I'd still prefer somebody else to mix my.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, you're right. You're right. You're totally right. And I would love, honestly, that is something I would love to explore more. Uh, I, I, I thought about this quite often where I thought like, I should get some of my stuff mixed by other people. I mean, I don't track anymore. So what would I, what would I mix? But maybe I should track a song, um, and let give it to someone else just for the learning experience. I

Malcom: Well, with your own band, maybe Benny.

Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. That would be a great learning experience for sure. Um, cool. So you say, I'm sorry I don't have many questions. It all made sense to me. Great , love to hear that perfect. So yeah, and I, I still agree though that for most DIY artists, and I will say that forever, uh, for most DIY bands, getting your songs mixed makes the most sense, even though everybody wants to mix. Um, I think that it's very hard to do, right? And like almost every single time, um, a professional mix beats the DIY mix that a band can do, you know? So, um, yeah, enough said, we said it on a podcast too. So I really believe that is true, but I also believe that, um, I also know that mixing is fun and people wanna learn it. So we happy with it.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. Well, and mixing is of course valuable. Well tracking as well. I think that's like a big takeaway we try and drive home is keeping your rough mix so that you actually can hear the song that you're creating as it's developing incredibly.

Benedikt: Sure, for sure. And courses like mixes unpacked are so valuable even if you don't mix, because it shows you what needs to be done to your source tracks depending on how they're attracted. Right? So the quality of your source track tracks can improve a lot by knowing what it actually takes to mix a song and what has to be done, if things are problematic or what, what can, what beautiful things can be done if the tracks are good,

Malcom: Yeah. And, and like reverse engineering sounds, it's, yeah, like, like just knowing the whole front to back picture is, is so helpful.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So Wayne, um, would you give us the questions that were submitted in the chat, please? And I will just double check if those people who submitted it are here, because then they might just call in as well. Uh, so just, just give us the questions.

Wayne: Okay. Um, well, I'll read them in the order that they came in. Um, so this one's from Martin Cruiser. I'm sorry if I'm pronounced in your name wrong. And it is, do you think drum samples or program drums are a good starting point to learn how to mix drums or would you prefer to start directly on real drums? Recorded yourself?

Malcom: I've

Benedikt: Martin, are you here, by the way? Can you, can you just tell us in the chat if you're here and if you are available to call in? Because then if you have follow up questions, you can just ask us directly. If you're not here, we're just answering it that way and we can start an, uh, answering the question. Okay. He's, oh,

Malcom: That is fair Martin. Feel better, man.

Benedikt: Yeah, I get better soon. , thank you for the question though. So if I un Yeah, thank you. Exactly. Thank you for sticking with us here. Although you're sick. So, , um, If I understand the question correctly, is it about learning how to mix drums and whether to do it with programmed or real drums? Right. Or is it about engineering drums and like choosing samples and that sort of stuff?

Wayne: No, it, it's about mixing drums and he's, he's asking whether it's better to, what would be a better starting point for learning to mix drums if they're either samples or would it be better to, um, mix live drums?

Benedikt: Okay. What's your take on that, Malcolm?

Malcom: So my take is that, uh, Mixing live drums is harder . Um, but that makes it better for learning, I think because you're gonna have to learn how to deal with bleed and phase coherency isn't necessarily taken care of for you. Um, most good reputable program drums are going to give you in phase drum recordings, um, where if you are recording them yourselves or getting, you know, self recorded drum tracks sent to you, you sometimes have to do that problem solving and you'll learn a lot about, uh, like what makes a good drum sound through that problem solving through that cleanup process. Um, so it's kind of like the longer, harder road, but I think it's the way to go, um, ultimately if, if it's a possibility cuz not everybody has access to live drum tracks.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, and, and I think it just presents a different set of challenges because not all lifetimes are created equal, so, and. Um, you with program drums, there's less problem solving, as you said, um, bleed phase, that sort of stuff, but also how it's recorded. Like real drums could be recorded really dull in a tram space, for example, and require a lot of presence to be added. While program drums might already be processed and very bright. And if you do the same thing, they sound completely unnatural. So I've heard that often when, when people send me stuff, uh, feedback, sometimes the drums sounds crazy clicky and bright because they see mixed moves that people do to real drums and they apply that to their program drums that might already be processed, and then it ends up being overly bright

Malcom: right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's another good perspective though, is that doing both is really the ultimate, because if you get to work with some good program drums, it kind of sets a bar for where the quality level is in like the, this day and age, it's like, it's so easy for people to have good sounding drums now with stuff like the room sound drum libraries, or even like the built-ins, like Logic ones pretty darn and good, you know? Um, You have to be able to figure out how to hit that level with whatever tracks you get sent. , which isn't always easy.

Benedikt: Yeah. So I'd say the best way to learn is get a drum sample library with unprocessed sounds. So you learn what a good source tone sounds like. Then compare that to real drum recordings that you've done, and see where the differences are. And then once you have raw drums that sound close to where the, the, the program drums. Then, uh, you just have to know that there's different challenges when mixing one or the other. Um, but until, until the two are very different, it's hard to tell what is, what is better. I think because there is like general, there's general things we often do to drums that you can absolutely practice with program drums, but then there is, you know, always the exception and, and several challenges that you only get with real drums. But I think, yeah, I think at first you should focus on, um, you can only really compare the two if you have real drums that sound anywhere near the, the program drums, because otherwise it's completely different.

Malcom: Yeah. Great.

Benedikt: I hope that helped. Uh, Martin, feel free to, to, um, put a follow up question in there. Um, sorry, hard to give a definite answer here, but you can, you can definitely practice drum mixing with program drums. You just have to be aware of if they are already processed and you have to have a sound in mind. You know, maybe they don't require a lot, um, of, of processing,

Malcom: And I mean, if Martin, I don't know where your skill level is with, uh, programmed mid drums, but like learning how to program and work with that formatted drums is like a, a must in today's, uh, audio skillset. So if you're, you haven't got that yet, totally go down that rabbit hole. It's, it's like a, a must have skill.

Benedikt: Yeah. And also if you learn how to mix drums and you can turn off the processing from the samples and do your own processing, if you really master that skill, you will end up with better results because the, the pre-processed samples sound great, like impressive out of the box, but they don't fit your song. They can't because they're made out of, out, out of context. And so if you can learn how to mix and, and do those processes, do that processing yourself based on the song you're working with, that will always be the better result. So it definitely pays off to learn drum mixing, even if you're just using samples. Cool. Um, Oh yeah. Uh, thank you for being here, Stefan. Stefan says he has to go. Merry Christmas. Yeah. Happy holidays. Merry Christmas to you too, Stefan. Glad you were here. Cool. Now, uh, next question, please, Wayne.

Wayne: Yeah. Uh, Martin says, great answer. Thank you, by the way, for, for that one. Uh, right, this is a great question. Um, this is from Chris.

Benedikt: Mm-hmm.

Wayne: I'm currently recording a band, and I wonder what's your approach on editing in between the different, in between the different instruments, or do you prefer to have everything recorded first and then do the editing, quantizing, et cetera, afterwards?

Benedikt: I can start answering my, that question from my perspective. So I feel like editing on the fly is a skill you should practice, I think, and you should be able to do some basic editing while you're tracking for sure, because it just speeds up things, it makes, uh, editing quicker at the end of the, of the whole process. And it's, and I think depending on, I mean I'd say the per, like, you don't have to edit, in my opinion at least, you don't have to edit perfectly in between instruments, but it should be tight enough so that everybody can play well to what has already been recorded. So what I mean is if you start with drums and you don't edit them and then you record, uh, guitars first of course Malcolm, right? And then bass , um, then, uh, you might track to if, if there are mistakes or like some sloppy playing in the drums, the whoever is recording next, they will, they are likely to mimic that or to play to that. And then at the end you have to edit both. So instead you should, I think, correct the drums first to get a tight performance and then track to that. It doesn't have to be super perfect, but I think when you are already edit, you might just as well like edit it

Malcom: Get it done.

Benedikt: And yeah, and you can always tweak things at the end if, for field reasons or whatever. But I prefer to edit the drums first. I don't, I have to say, After that, I usually track everything without editing in between. Um, unless there's something really often nobody else can play to that really. But once I have the drum tight, the drum's tight, I, that's usually enough for me. And then I edit the rest at the end. But I know people who edit after every single instrument that they track. And I wonder what you do there, Malcolm.

Malcom: Yeah, I've done both ways. Um, I would also say just finish the drums, get it done. Cuz you don't wanna have to try and set them up. You, you're not gonna be able to set 'em back up. So once you finish drums and tear it all down, you're not going back. So if you edit it before you tear it down, you get to be like, Hey, are you happy with this entire perform? Because if you're not, we better hit it before we take the drums down. Um, so big fan of getting the like stamp of completion on it before moving on with things like bass and guitar, especially if you're recording a clean di, I'm a little more forgiving about getting that at fully finished before moving on. Um, there's just a lot more power what we can do there. Um, but I am like still editing as I go. Like while they're getting ready, they're tuning for the next take. I'm just nudging the clip that we just used for the part before, closer into time and getting things pretty tight that way. And then once we're finished the song on bass, because that's what comes after drums, you would then do a listen through with the song. No Reaction, Benny. Okay.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah,

Malcom: uh, you'd do a listen through the song and again, be like, okay, are we happy? Are we ready to move on? All right. Bass setup's gone. Guitars is gone. So I never really move until everybody in the room can give the thumbs up and say that they're not gonna complain about something later. I, I like to think about it as if it was kind of in like, attached to how their performance was. So if we're not happy with how it sounds, why would we assume it's gonna be fine later? It has to at least hit that bar of like, that was a good take. We're ready to try the next section. Um, and if editing, just like a very quick edit is all it's gonna take to get that done, I'm just gonna do it on the spot.

Benedikt: I think it's very important though that you only do it on the spot if you, if you're quick and you don't interrupt the session. So when, when people are in the room and you have, so you wanna keep the momentum up and the, the, you know, the vibe up and, and what I've done in the past, and this doesn't work out very well, is I would, I would make the band wait while I'm editing their vocal takes be or whatever, because I don't wanna move on until it's, it's right. And that kind of kills the vibe. So I would just accept the unedited stuff and move on with the next instrument. If it would, if it would mean that the band has to wait for it, I'll, I will only do it in the breaks or while they're doing something else so that I don't interrupt the session. That's, I think, really important.

Wayne: This is another question from Martin. We usually double track our rhythm guitars and pun them hard, right and hard left. But oftentimes it's hard for me to get them working in the mix. Usually our guitars are either too harsh and stick out way too much, or they're just perishing next to all the other elements in the mix. What is your approach to get the rhythm guitars right, and I'm talking about mainly distorting guitars in the punk rock.

Benedikt: Okay. Um, uh, Martin, feel free to add to this if you want to. Um, but I think you get, I, I get what you. So you pan them hard left and right. So do I. And so does Malcolm, I think most of the time. Right. So that is, that is not a problem. Um, in and of itself. You say you get them, you have a hard time getting 'em working in the mix. They're too harsh. Okay. If they're too harsh, they would also be too harsh if you pant them somewhere else, I think. I don't think that's the problem. Um, and it doesn't have to do with panning necessarily, but the sticking out way too much thing. I think I know what you mean. I hurt mixes and I've, I've made mixes like that myself in the past too. I remember where, uh, it feels like the guitars on the outsides are kind of disconnected from the rest. It can feel like you have, um, especially with, with, and, and knowing that you use programmed drums, especially with that, it's, it's often the case where you have a kick snare, bass, um, vocals up the center, then nothing in between really. And then the, the guitars on the sides, especially with program drums with very, very clean sounds. Maybe not much of the room, um, um, mics and stuff. You can't. Sorry, can sometimes seem like isolated drums in the middle, then a hole, and then whatever's on the sides. I, I've heard that and I've, I've made mixes like that where it's just too clean. Two separate two, you know what I mean? Mike Malcolm. Well, there's like almost a disconnect between what's on the sides and the drums. So that might be it, um, might be a matter of adding some sort of room information to it all. Could be, could mean adding some just small bit of ambience to the guitars maybe could mean to use more of the room mics. Could mean to, um, use, to turn up the, the kit mics, the, the overheads more. Maybe you only use them as symbol mics when the pro with the program drums and maybe you don't have any sort of snare and tom information on them. That, that often makes things so narrow when you only have the close mic and then the symbol somewhere is like drums in space, you know, but not connected.

Um, so that could, that's what I'm thinking. Um,

Malcom: that, that's where I'm headed with A two, I think, is that it almost seems that I we're, we're kind of guessing here, but I would say this, uh, to me seems like it's actually probably just that they're not getting glued in by any other element in the mix. So you might need more, uh, like symbols or overheads, room mics, um, kind of pushed up and wide, right? So it's also usually a hard panned track, um, to reinforce and glue in with those guitars. Um, the mid-range on a bass guitar is another great instrument to tie the guitars into the mix with. Um, and, uh, like in mixes, unpacked, using like that stereo widener I did on the base. Get the, like mid-range of the bass out to those guitars and bridge that gap a little bit more as well. So it's like by attaching it to other instruments, it might start to not seem as harsh and uh, like kind of disconnected.

Benedikt: Yeah, I, I agree. And then there's the other side of it where you say, and I think that's what you mean here, that they sometimes can. Um, lost in, within all the other elements of the mix, they can be, um, not audible enough. So that's the opposite of, of them sticking out. So I think it's hard for you maybe to find the sweet spot where they sit, right? They either jump out at you too much or they kind of disappear in the mix. And I think it's kind of the same issue because if, if you have guitars that's stick out because they are not really glued to, to the mix. Um, if you turn them down, you will reach, uh, you won't, you won't get to the point where they sit, well, they will always seem too loud. And then when they're not, they're immediately too quiet, basically, oftentimes. So I think that that could be the case here too. Um, or maybe you try to make 'em less harsh and darker, but then they kind of d. Um, we're only guessing, but what could be the case here also is sometimes I see people roll off the entire top end if they think something's harsh, instead of targeting the exact frequency that is sticking out. So you can keep the brightness and the presence, um, and, and tame the harshness. So you only address the narrow part of the frequency, um, spectrum that is actually annoying and leaving the rest intact. Or you turn down the harshness and compensate for it by bringing up the top end in a broader musical way again. So you're filtering out a certain frequency and then you boost with a broad iq, uh, you boost the presence. Again, that could be a thing where you contain the harshness without making the guitars disappear. Um, some people overuse tools like Sooth or Notches. They do like, they notch out way too many frequencies, and that makes it less har, less harsh, but also kind of disappear in the mix.

Malcom: Yeah.

Benedikt: So there's various reasons for that. sorry. What was that?

Malcom: well, You can like kind of neuter the, the guitar tone if you're not careful by just taking out too much of the like, harshness and then all of a sudden there's no substance and it just is hollow sounding

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: Um, but one other train of thought that this could be a result of, uh, is just too much distortion, which is hilarious cause we've been talking about how much we left distortion this entire chat.

But, um, the more high gain a guitar tone is, the more white noise it is and the more hardship will, you know, eventually seem. Um, but it'll also lose its note definition and like the, the part of the signal that lets us know that it's emb melodic instrument. Um, you know, especially once you introduce symbols and stuff where it's just now it's gone. You can't really tell what the guitar is playing and it's just white static. Um, so it could be a case of too much distortion.

Benedikt: Very good point. I haven't thought about that, but totally. Um, also the dynamics are gonna be lost. So the individual pick attacks will not jump out at you as much if you come, if you use a lot of distortion, which means you hear the attacks when it's very loud, but then it's disconnected and jumps out. And then when it's quiet enough, uh, as you said Malcolm, you don't hear the notes, the cords, but you also don't hear the dynamics anymore. And it becomes, yeah, it becomes covered up by every, by anything, uh, everything else. So yeah, that might very well be it to, if a guitar is, if a guitar has some dynamics left, if the chugs still have the oomph and the pick attack, and if the, the, the strumming pattern is still there, then uh, you will hear that and feel that even though the guitar is quiet, but if it's like overly distorted, that sort of stuff will be gone below a certain, certain volume.

Malcom: totally. Yeah. Especially in punk rock, I feel like the aggression's all about the right hand, more so than the distortion, right? It's just, it can be pretty clean and still sound very aggressive.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. A cool trick for that by the way, is what if you, if you wanna use a lot of high gain, like a lot of gain or like high gain tones, A cool trick that people use for that reason, or partly for that reason, is a lot of metal bands use a tube screamer in front of a high gain amp. And what it does various things, but one thing it does is you can actually turn down. So that's the way I use it often. It works beautifully. So what you can do is you can turn down the gain on the amp so that without the tube screamer, uh, it feels like not enough gain. So palm mutes are kind of dying almost, and you have to pick really hard to get the sustain you want. And it's kind, it just feels like a little, like not enough gain, just you wanna turn it up a little more. And if you then, um, turn on the tube screamer without any, without adding any gain on it, just keep the gain all the way to the left. Just maybe boost it a little bit. But it's mainly the sound of that box. Um, any variation of tube screamer will do for that. Even the, the plugins, what it will do is, uh, it compresses it a little bit. You can also use a pedal compressor that's similar, but the tube screamer has a way of doing that. That's why it's so popular. It compresses your di a little bit and, and, uh, tames the lows also a little bit. Makes it a little more, yeah, it's just a form of compression, I feel like, and it adds that little bit of sustain back that you have lost because of the, the low gain you are using. And then you can play with a minimal amount of gain, but still have the sustain and the, the fat sort of. Thing you want with palm mutes and all of that. So that, that's a trick that I use where I use har like hardly enough gain on the, on the amp, but then boosted with a tube screamer just a little bit. And that's, uh, how I can use a high gain amp with not much gain, but a little bit of compression going into it. It's a delicate balance, but that, that's a way of, of doing that. And if I don't do it, if I just turn up the gain on the amp, I feel like the low end is sometimes muddy and out of control. Uh, the buildup with the palm mute, the chugs is just, just too much. Sometimes it's just not enough core definition anymore, but that combination of some sort of compression going into the amp or just the tube screamer turned on, plus less gain on the amp works really well.

Malcom: Goldy, yeah. Or uh, like a boost pedal can sometimes just be used to hit the front end of your amp just a little bit harder. It's just a different sound than if you just turn up the gain of it's, it's a different reaction.

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay, so experiment with less gain. Um, experiment with using room information. Also, it might be a drums issue as well as a guitar issue. So it might, maybe the drums are too narrow, too separate and not, like, don't feel like a, a kit that is also filling the holes in between the sides, basically. So that might be an issue. Um, maybe you're overdoing it with taming the harshness. And so in, in all these things combined, probably if you do all these it, you should see an improvement, I think.

Malcom: Yeah. Thanks Martin.

Benedikt: Okay, cool. So he says a lot of good points. Thank you. Especially those about distortion. We use a lot of distortion in rehearsal, which sounds great because you can feel the guitars, but the amount of distortion does not always work for recordings. Yeah. And you might be surprised how, how good it can feel even in the, the jam space with less distortion because you typically get more of a movement and more of a, that more dynamics out of the amp, which you can a, in my opinion, actually feel more than the distortion.

Malcom: Yeah, it's uh, it's one of those scary when soloed, but in the mix you're probably gonna be stoked. Get everybody in the ba in the room to clean up just a little bit and then play a song and you'll be like, oh, that sounds really good.

Benedikt: Yeah. Oh, and then one final point here. Maybe you're doing what a lot of metal bands do too. Maybe you scoop out a lot of the mids. Uh, that's the typical rectifier thing. Like if you stand in front of a mesa rectifier and you scoop the mids, it already sounds kind of scooped, and then you scoop out more mids and you boost the lows and the highs on its own massive, right? You have that massive low end, and you have the, the aggressive top end, and it just sounds. And then when the whole band plays together, it completely disappears and you're left with some rumble and some his basically with nothing in between. And this is a very classic thing. So maybe that that adds to that too. Maybe you have a lot of distortion and also scoop out too much of the myths because all the music that the stuff that you need for the guitar to not disappear is in the mid-range. And uh, the stuff below, you need that to feel the guitar. Yes, there needs to be a sense of, of air being moved, but not too much. And the stuff above is like pick attack. Some of that is necessary, but not too much. But in between is where the music is. And if you remove too much of that combined with a lot of distortion, that can give you exactly that, in fact that you're describing

Malcom: Definitely so many points of contact to investigate there, but I'm sure you'll sort it out. Martin, I see that Richie says, thanks for the great explanations. Learned a lot as always. Thanks, Richie. He's, uh, a name in the chat is Jok. That idea,

Benedikt: Yep.

Malcom: That's great.

Benedikt: Well, thank you, Richie. Uh, glad it helped. Very, very cool. Yeah, and, uh, if you wanna get your hands on mixes unpacked on those courses. As I said, if you're on the email list, you'll, you'll know when we open it up again. And if you're interested in becoming a member of the surf recording syndicate the coaching program, it all starts with a completely free one-on-one call, no strings attached where I can show you what, how this would work. I can give you feedback on your music where you are right now, listen to where you wanna be and talk about how you could get there. And if you go to the self recording bent.com/call, we can do exactly that and then you can become part of the syndicate. And if you do that, you have access to all of our courses that come out while you're in there. So, um, you might as well do that. Uh, but either way, we're happy to have you in the community and if you're on our email list, you'll get to know any, any, uh, release, anything we're doing. Let's wrap it up then,

Malcom: Yeah. Well actually, you know what? We, we, we put this in today's episode, which won't be out for a little bit, but, uh, if you had a question that you're not gonna be able to get onto here today, um, and to ask us, we've been encouraging people to ask on Instagram, and we'll add it into a podcast episode at a future day.

Benedikt: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And, um, let me see. Yeah, totally. We also, we al um, yeah, listen to that episode, but yeah, I, I wanna, um, I totally agree with what Malcolm just said. Just use any opportunity you have to reach out to us because we will respond. Uh, we will, we are happy to do that. And we will feature you on the podcast. We'll, uh, answer your questions on, on air and, uh, so yeah, just do it.

Malcom: Okay. Again, thanks to everyone, really appreciate you all joining.

Benedikt: Perfect. All right, Christus, thanks for that Nice and informative evening. Really enjoyed it. Yeah, we, uh, we too. Thank you for being here.

Malcom: Thanks, Chris.

Benedikt: Then we're gonna wrap it up. I hope you guys all have great holidays, like happy holiday, happy New Year. If we won't, don't meet again. Until then, it's not, it's not long before the new year.

And, uh, see you in the new year with more new, exciting stuff inside that community.

Malcom: Bye everyone.

Benedikt: Bye everyone.

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