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About This Multitrack - Mike Senior - 20-09-2012 04:48 PM

You can find the multitrack files for this project in the 'Mixing Secrets' Free Multitrack Download Library.

Before posting a mix, please read The Three Commandments!
Please post your mix as a new thread, rather than as a reply to this sticky.

Here's some more project info you might find useful:
  • About The Raw Multitracks: This is a lovely-sounding multitrack all round, and also a very nicely paced arrangement, so it's a great one to begin with if you're just getting to grips with the fundamentals of mixing.
    • The main live drum take here features beautifully balanced stereo overhead mics, supplemented by close mics for kick, snare, and two toms.
    • The bass line is a DI part, and the stereo-miked acoustic guitar has also been DI'd and processed using convolution to produce an additional pseudo-miked stereo track.
    • Two overdubbed mandolin parts and two solo cello overdubs round out the backing arrangement.
    • The lead vocal is supplemented with a single backing vocal during the choruses.
  • Challenges You're Likely To Face:
    • Even though this multitrack is quite simple, there are still phase considerations to take into account given the multi-mic/DI approach taken with the drumkit and guitar.
    • The acoustic guitar suffers from some hand-damping thuds and slightly overbearing pick noise.
    • The arrangement is rather busy in terms of detail, especially in the mandolin and cello parts, and there's a danger that this can distract from the vocal message. In addition, the consistent guitar strumming makes it more difficult to achieve a sense of ebb and flow in the music.
    • With any acoustic music, one of the tough things is always to try to retain a solid balance and rich sustain without ending up with an over-compressed result.
  • Some Mixing Tips: Although I've not mixed this particular track myself, here are some suggestions that come to mind:
    • The overheads sound so good here, that it makes most sense to build your drum sound around those, rather than starting with the close mics.
    • The tom tracks are more like another set of overhead mics than a pair of close mics, so why not use them that way? You can always mult out the odd tom hit if you need to feature that differently.
    • Don't be afraid to chop the audio about a bit here to get the best out of the arrangement, and to support the singing/lyrics as strongly as possible.
    • Parallel compression and automation are likely to give the best results on a track like this, because of the way they can add sustain and maintain the balance without wrecking the nuances of the short-term performance dynamics.
    • You shouldn't need much in the way of send effects to make this track shine. Indeed, it'd be very good practice to try to build up a mix of this track without any send effects at all.
    • This is the kind of track where the vocal is so important that I'd consider automating not just the fader level, but also the EQ if necessary.
    • I remixed this song for Sound On Sound's October 2012 'Mix Rescue' column, which not only shows how I approached mixing this production myself in practice, but also includes a selection of audio files demonstrating the effects of some of my processing, layering, and effects decisions.
    • You can also download the full Reaper project here, which includes screenshots of any third-party plug-ins I used so that you can inspect the settings even if you don't have them on your own system.

If you have any other general questions about this multitrack, just reply to this post and I'll see what I can do.

RE: About This Multitrack - DanUpdegraff - 09-04-2013 11:04 PM

Hi Mike,

I downloaded your Reaper project (and Reaper 4.32 too). When I opened the project, all the faders were set at 0 (except track 2 which is -2db). Is this correct? After replacing a lot of the missing plugins with my own, the levels are way off from the final MP3 you mixed. (Perhaps the fader settings don't load if a plugin is missing?)

RE: About This Multitrack - takka360 - 09-04-2013 11:13 PM

you need the plugins Mike used.You say you are replacing plugins with your own ?
Some people also mix at 0 db and work the master fader

RE: About This Multitrack - Mike Senior - 10-04-2013 05:46 AM

(09-04-2013 11:04 PM)DanUpdegraff Wrote:  I downloaded your Reaper project (and Reaper 4.32 too). When I opened the project, all the faders were set at 0 (except track 2 which is -2db). Is this correct?

That's pretty typical for me -- I set most of my balances with gain plug-ins, rather than with the faders, simply so that I can use the faders for automation in their region of highest resolution (around the unity gain mark).

Quote:After replacing a lot of the missing plugins with my own, the levels are way off from the final MP3 you mixed. (Perhaps the fader settings don't load if a plugin is missing?)

I don't think that's the case, but you have to make sure you've loaded in the GGain and GFader plug-ins correctly to get my balance. As for overall level, remember that I always bounce the mix out for separate mastering-style processing -- although in this case the mastering processing wasn't tremendously heavy.

RE: About This Multitrack - Mike Senior - 10-04-2013 09:05 AM

It's also occurred to me that you may need to load in the appropriate impulse responses if there are any SIR2 instances in there. If they're not in the download, then you should be able to get them from Echochamber here:

RE: About This Multitrack - DanUpdegraff - 10-04-2013 04:59 PM

Okay, thanks Mike. I am missing about 40% of the plugins you used, especially both the reverbs. Having you confirm the faders are correctly set at 0 really helps. The difference in volumes has to be in the plugins I am using, plus I made guesses on gain reduction and makeup levels based on the screenshots. I can trust my ears now to finish off the mix.

Very cool to see how much level you use on the parallel compression tracks. I was using way too little, and my mix was pretty weak as a result.