You know what’s awesome? The band Milagres. You know what’s more awesome? Recording them at WFUV with my coworker Erin Wilson. This was one of those rare sessions that needed to be mixed in post – there was just too much going on to pull off mixing it live. But frankly, as soon as I heard 30 seconds of music I knew I’d love the chance to revisit the multi-track. Which I did, having received feedback from the band. Then I thought it would be cool to superimpose the live performance on a screen capture of the ProTools mix, so you can see both at the same time. The song is “Glowing Mouth” from their new album of the same name.
Here are a few things you may notice looking at the mix window:
- Only stock EQ, compression and a little gating – no crazy plugins. Any equalization or compression applied during tracking was recorded (and it was all fairly conservative).
- There are no sends! I used the effects we recorded during tracking.
- The outputs show that the audio was returned through our console, mainly to access our buss compressors (which are presently hardwired).
- The mix is deliberately fairly mono, except at the end when the second guitar enters.
- The kick seems to trigger a tone generator, set around 30 or 40Hz, but it’s actually being played by Eric Schwortz on a sampler pad. It may not be be obvious, but that could go disastrously wrong during a live performance. The sync between Eric and Steve Leventhal on drums is ridiculously impressive!
- Lots of automation for various reasons.
- 0:57 – you’ll see the EQ on the output of bassist Fraser McCulloch’s MIDI controller, which in context, was too bright.
- 1:11 – low shelving boost on the sampler to bring the output of its sub tone up to a workable level, relative to its other sounds.
- 1:55 – cutting out boxy overtones from the kick-out mic.
- 2:58 – filtering out undesirable overtones from the snare’s batter head, around 250Hz and its first harmonic around 500Hz. Then adding a little meat around 140Hz.
- 5:36 – Took the snare mics out during the build to help build anticipation. The snare effects, which were recorded previously, are still in the mix on the FX track. In effect, you could look at this like using a pre-fader send to an effects unit with your channel fader at -96.
- I was tempted to automate down mic bleed more than I did, but ended up mixing around the bleed anyway. A necessary compromise, I suppose, when mixing 5 loud sources recorded in one square room.
- The lead vocal is too sibilant. I used some de-essing, but any more than already applied started to noticeably change the mix due to bleed in the vocal mic.
- The kick sound changes once Eric trades the sampler for a guitar towards the end. I could have jacked up the kick there a couple decibels to keep it up front.
- Overhead L is panned right, and Overhead R is panned left. Whoops. Lefty drummers confuse me.
- The mix was brought up to around -9dB RMS at the loud B-section (0 ref = FS sine wave, 300ms window) using Endorphin (which is free).
Anyway, go buy this album. The music rocks and the guys are great people!
And for no reason at all, here’s my man cave as I work on this post.