The All-Things-Audio Blog

Shortening Kick Decays

mixing Mar 12, 2018

If you’ve got a song (especially faster paced) with a deep soaring bass and punchy fat kicks, there’s no way they can inhabit the same space without making or your mix muddy or running out of headroom.

By shortening kick decays you get tighter low end and clear up mud. A lot of time your kick sustain isn’t going to be very audible, especially coupled with a deep sub bass. Having that extra sustain is just taking up room that doesn’t need to be taken up.

If you're not sure how to tell how long it should be, try bouncing out software kicks so you can see visually the length of the decay on the kick and shorten it. It's as easy as dragging in the tail end of the kick and fading it out. Like this:

There is a balance of how long you want the decay to be and how it plays with the feel and rhythm of your song. Be smart and use your ears. And remember, friends don’t let friends get clogged mixes. Shorten your kick attack.

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Gaining a Vision For Your Mixes

mixing motivation Nov 17, 2017

If you don't have a vision for how your song will sound, you're going to be shooting in the dark and just end up twisting knobs and getting nowhere. By determining the sonic end goal of a song before you start, it will speed up your mixing tremendously.

Before you mix, determine what makes a "good mix" and write down a list of goals and milestones you need to hit to achieve that "good mix." A great practice is pulling up a song that you're going to use as a mix reference. Write down what you like about it and see if your song has something similar. Don't COPY it sonically. Pick out what you like and then give your song a listen through with a pen and paper. Write down where your song is and where you'd like to end up.

For example. Let’s say you use Justin Bieber's All Around the World (link to song) (one of my favorite mix reference tracks, it sonically is fantastic to my ears) as your reference track and you love the beef of the kick. Listen to your song and see if your song...

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Limit Your Options

mixing plugins workflow Jun 02, 2016

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m always talking about ways to save time in the studio. It’s all about finding the best and quickest way to get something done, whether it’s utilizing your plugin workflow or limiting your options. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Here are 2 painfully easy and free ways to limit your options that will save you a ton of time in the studio.  

 

Pick one EQ

Pick one EQ plugin to use on a song & move on. ONE. WAY too much time is wasted debating which EQ would suit best. I don’t care if it’s the latest API or Neve modeled whatever with the saturation knob that takes it to the next level… I don’t care. Pick one. And if it is the Neve or API, good on you. That works perfect, but pick and commit.

Pick one compressor

Pick one compressor plugin and commit. MU, 2A, VCA, 76, whatever your flavor, in the end it doesn’t matter. I get that compressors...

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Tape Saturation

distortion mixing tape Apr 13, 2016

Tape machines (or tape modeled plugins) are a great way to add that “analog warmth” to your digital mixes. They add a nice fat bottom end and a smooth top end. Sometimes analog warmth is just what you need to tame the occasional unpleasant digital highs. But that’s just the beginning! Tape machines can do so much more for your mixing.


Smoothing out harsh guitars
One of the most common ways to smooth out harsh guitars is by using tape saturation. It does something magical to the top end that isn’t achieved by a simple EQ move. It seems to bring down the gross, unnecessary high fizz without making it muffled. Using a low IPS helps to create a more “lo-fi” sound.


Taming transients
Oversaturating or overdriving a tape machine helps tame transients by crushing the top end of the transient. Think of it as a kind of compressor. Compression can glue together overly transient material. By overdriving a heavily transient source (like a snare drum) you can...

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