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Mixing tip: Bump the chorus about +1.5db to +2.0db

Rick Rubin

Here's a tip that I believe came from Rick Rubin.

We all know to push the elements in the chorus, right? It's kind of a no-brainer. When mixing we usually bump the lead vocal or whatever instrument is the main melody of the chorus to separate it from the rest of the track and establish the hook. This is mixing 101. Well, Mr. Rubin has gone one better...

The chorus is the money part of a song. Without a good hook in the chorus the listener won't be inclined to stick around so now your "hit" song will be just another song that they skip. Rick has a little trick up his sleeve that helps push the chorus even further.... He bumps the master fader!

Yep, he performs the ultimate no-no while mixing - touching the master fader.  I was taught that the master fader is the last bastian of output from the console to the mix down medium. It needs to be set at zero and not touched - at all! As it happens, Rick Rubin doesn't pay attention to the rules of recording and has this little trick up his sleeve.

"When the chorus starts push the level on the master fader from +1.5 db to about +2.0 db and then bring it back down the for the next part."

Genius! Why is it that the simplest of changes to the norm produce such magnificent results? I ask because I tried this recently on a song I was mixing and it made a HUGE difference. The key is to leave enough headroom so that you feel the energy in the song, but don't hear more distortion in the mix.

If you do this with your mix already being slammed up to 0.0db your mastering engineer will not be happy with you at all. He may even consider you a hack. And no mix engineer wants that now, do they?

Surround Sound Mixing – Part 3 of 5

This is a guest post by mix engineer, Unne Lilijeblad over at www.mix-engineer.com. This is the third article in a five part series about his experience with mixing in this still under utilized medium for listening to music. In the last article Unne talked about the being disappointed with DVD audio discs. This week he talks about recording and mixing in stereo.

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

Unne Lilijeblad - Mix Engineer

 

Recording and Mixing in Stereo
There are many different ways of creating a stereo mix. For example, when mixing multiple mono sources, such as recordings of an electric guitar, an electric bass, a saxophone and a vocalist, done with one microphone each, they can be panned across the stereo image through the use of the pan knobs found on all mixing consoles and in all DAW:s. The pan knob divides the signal between the two speakers. Turn the knob to the left and it will send more of the signal to the left speaker and less to the right, resulting in our ears interpreting the sound as if it originated somewhere to the left of center.

Another way to achieve a similar result is through the use of delay. With a real acoustic sound, such as someone clapping their hands in front of you, but a little to the left, the sound waves reach your left ear slightly before they reach your right since the distance from the source to the right ear is greater than the distance to the left. To achieve a similar effect while mixing in stereo, you can delay the signal being sent to the right speaker slightly, and the result will be that the listener “hears” the sound coming more from the left. There are limits to how much delay can be used though, because at a certain point, we start distinguishing the two signals as separate signals instead. This technique also always causes phase issues to some degree

Read More »

Just Sing The Damn Song!

This is a repost of an article written by Robin Hilton, producer and co-host for the popular NPR Music show All Songs Considered. He brings up a question I've discussed many times with music colleagues.

"What's more important? The lyrics or the melody?"

Personally I'm a melody man. A song's melody is very important to me, but the vocal melody is what I really listen to - and hum. Others, like my wife, will know every lyric to every song she hears upon her first listen. I, on the other hand, will probably only get the lyrics to the chorus until I've heard the song about 5 times. Even then I'll probably only know the lyrics to the first verse.

Anyway, Robin gives us his insight and has a questions for the audience at the end of his piece. Enjoy!


by Robin Hilton

Angry little boy

Just Sing the Damn Song!

If you missed it, on our recent SXSW preview show, I revealed one of the secret ingredients you can add to a song to get Bob Boilen to love it: speak singing.

He's a total sucker for it. If an artist rattles off his or her lyrics in more of a spoken monotone than a sung melody (like Lou Reed), you can reel Bob in, hook, line and sinker.

Conversely, I can't think of anything that turns me off from a song faster. I don't want to mention any names, but let's just say albums by Leonard Cohen or the Joy Division or The Hold Steady aren't exactly the first records I reach for (all brilliant artists, just not my thing).

You can read the entire article over at npr.org.

Music Marketing Lessons (from a Furniture Store)

This is a repost from David Hooper over at Music Marketing [dot] com. It describes how excellent customer service can really enhance the experience you provide to your customer/client/artist. I like to think that I provide this type of service as well and if I don't I wish you, my clients, would tell what I can do better.

After all, it's you I really want to help make great art. I want the experience of helping you make that art to be the best it can possibly be. Enjoy the article.


Written by David Hooper

If you're wondering how companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google are kicking ass and taking names, even in a "down" economy, here's the answer...

User experience.

This stuff isn't just for the supernerds who program iPhone apps and websites; it's something you can use in your music marketing and it's a lot more simple than people make it out to be.

For example, take a look at this letter I received in my mailbox yesterday...

 

Music Marketing Lessons (from a Furniture Store)

Try this in your Music Marketing

 

You can read the rest of the article over at Music Marketing [dot] com

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