We had our first mix project session for Drax reborn as a team in the Audient 8024 studio and we were fortunate enough to have Guy Cooper in this session. Before we mixed we recorded the percussion using only bongos with an sm57 microphone with me playing them.
Recording bongos was not as smooth as I thought, one reason being the timing of the drums and the guitar. I requested to have the click track increased so to try and play along with the track. At least it’s another learning curve for me to make sure we have the right take in every recording and to at least do the recording together with percussion on the very day.
Guy Cooper gave us very good advice. “A mix is much faster and easier to do when the right recording of all instruments is done in that session”. That will ensure that no retakes and also if we come ready prepared knowing the songs and have had intense practise everything would go smoothly. That was my take home advice and I will gladly make use of it in the next projects to come.
Most engineers have a different ways to approach a mix. Last week we had Guy Gray who prefers to to do the analog mix. As for Guy Cooper he prefers the doing the mix in the box. I would say both engineers have fascinating ways of approaching their mix. He has so much exposure to pop rock and the first advice he gave was to work on the drums and the bass. The drums being out of time we had to try and put them in time and the interesting part was that we did not use beat detective or elastic audio. Guy advised that we try do manually to set the timing and we spend about 5 minutes and got it right. The next thing we put some work on EQ on the drums and bass guitar as these bring the punch and the drive for the whole band. Adding filters helps with changing the sound from its original state to a modified state. Each track had a filter to get rid of any external noises such as white noise or spillage from other mics and we also added compressors and limiters a on to have loud sounds go quiet and quiet sounds go loud using plugins.
Once we were happy with the balance of instruments we then started working on the vocals adding EQs and effects such as reverb and delay. I find the use of bypass very useful as it gives you the original sound and the modified sound reflecting how much work has been processed. once we were satisfied with the vocals we made sure that all was balanced. Another take from Guy is that let vocals are the song and need to clear so to be heard, instruments are just accompanying vocals in as much as it is punchy and groovy. Having done all this process we went back to have a look at how the limiters, compressors and EQ whilst the song was playing and doing more adjustments as we all have different ways of hearing. I would say we spent a good amount of time on this song although much advice from Guy was we should be able to do the mix within 2 hours to the most. The best experience is to continue practising on how to mix especially with studio monitors.
A satisfying session we had and very grateful for learning from an experienced mix engineer.