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Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

Mixing with delays


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Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

with Brian Lee White

Video: Mixing with delays

While reverb will be our go-to effect for simulating an acoustic space and letting an overall vibe to the aesthetic of a mix, Delay can achieve the same depth and space defining effect as reverb, with more control over the tail. Because delay is characterized by distinct echoes or taps, it may not be perfect for very complex rhythmic parts, but works excellent on vocals, guitars, synths and other melodic instruments. For example, a delay is a great way to make a vocal sound huge and special without washing it out or obscuring the lyrics with the density of a bunch of reverb.
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  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 39s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 24s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 8s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 22s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 48s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 22s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

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Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
9h 18m Intermediate Aug 20, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Once recording and editing are finished, audio engineers can take advantage of the training in Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools to punch up the final output. Digidesign Certified Expert Brian Lee White covers all the basic mixing tools that every producer and engineer should know, from using EQ to add clarity and focus to using compression and limiting to maximize track levels within a mix. Brian stresses the importance of setting up a solid mixing plan prior to any work in Pro Tools, and gives advice on the best plug-ins for each stage of the process. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Using the Pro Tools Creative Collection to add clarity, punch, width, and depth to a mix
  • Recording real-time automation moves for future replication
  • Building healthy and profitable mixing habits when putting a final mix together
  • Knowing when to process the audio of a track
  • Using saturation effects to capture that "analog" sound
  • Working with limiting and multiband compression during the mastering process
  • Dealing with plug-in delay and latency in a mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Mastering
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Brian Lee White

Mixing with delays

While reverb will be our go-to effect for simulating an acoustic space and letting an overall vibe to the aesthetic of a mix, Delay can achieve the same depth and space defining effect as reverb, with more control over the tail. Because delay is characterized by distinct echoes or taps, it may not be perfect for very complex rhythmic parts, but works excellent on vocals, guitars, synths and other melodic instruments. For example, a delay is a great way to make a vocal sound huge and special without washing it out or obscuring the lyrics with the density of a bunch of reverb.

Because delays are also distinct taps, they can really help reinforce the tempo and the groove of a song in a way that a reverb cannot. So, if we look at the delay returns in Take Me Down, we've got a few different delays. I have a Short Delay and a Long Delay. We could see these are setup via Sends and Returns and the Long Delay specifically is fed into some additional effects. If I look at my Sends F-J, also fed into the Big Plate.

So, it's common to feed delays into other effects to get sort of a reverbed delay. Now if we specifically look at the Lead Vocal delay, again, this is really going to help the Lead Vocal come out and sit in the special place in the mix, not obscured, but big. So, let's solo this up. It looks like here during the first verse, the delay is automated to come in and out on a specific word. So, let's move it to the First Chorus, Memory Location: 31, and listen.

(Male singing: So take me down, take me down and my feet will follow, wherever my heart goes.) (Male singing: I'm come around, I'll come around, like I always. I'll keep my feet on the ground.) So that's the Long Delay and the long Delay is a quarter note on the left-hand side and an eighth note on the right-hand side. So, we're kind of getting this ping-pong effect. There's a little bit of groove added. So, the reason we might offset these delays with a little bit of the groove setting to kind of adjust the delay time is so that we can kind of remove them from the other rhythmic elements that are happening in the mix.

So the other snare hits on the down beat, high hat, things like that. I don't want to obscure the delay or obscure those rhythmic elements. So, sometimes it can be cool, especially on the vocal to kind of offset your delays a bit. If you offset them too much, you can kind of sound rhythmically inaccurate, but if you make them just a little bit lazy or kind of swing them a bit... Now, if we look at the shorter delay called Short Delay-- Again, this is a stereo delay. It has a left and a right-hand side, but we're using significantly shorter times under 100 milliseconds.

This is going to sound less like a discrete tap and more like a doubling of the sound. Let's listen. (Male singing: ...down, take me down and my feet will follow, wherever my heart goes.) (Male singing: I'm come around, I'll come around, like I always. I'll keep my feet on the ground.) So it's almost approaching sort of that slap-back style Elvis delay. Just a little bit longer in the delay time, and I could get kind of that slap-back effect.

When you use delay times, getting towards 50 milliseconds and lower, it sounds less like discrete taps and more just sort of like a doubling or a thickening of the same sound. You can even try using really short delays, sort of stereo pan, to kind of get a thickening effect on different instruments and tracks. So, if we moved to the guitars, we also see some delay there. This is a good time to mention that some of the guitars, specifically like this Mod Electric Guitar track, it's actually going to have delay already on it, coming into this session.

The reason for this is it was actually tracked with the pedal on the guitar. Now, this kind of brings up the topic of when you're performing a guitar part or any instrument part, and it's going to have delay on it, it's generally a good idea to have the performer play or perform with the delay as opposed to adding so much of it later. It's definitely going to give them a different feel with the instrument in their hand, if they can hear that delay. So, if you're going for that kind of U2 edge style guitar part, it might be a good idea to track with the delay or just track with the delay plug-in on in Pro Tools.

That way you can change it later a bit. At least, it's going to give the performer a sense of what that's going to sound like and they can react to that dynamically. Now, on the Guitar Solo, I'm using some of the long and short delay, quite a bit of the long delay. And that's going to just kind of push that back in the mix and kind of make it sound a little bit bigger. So let's go to the Guitar Solo section here. We can listen to that. (Music playing) And then in context.

(Music playing) (Male singing: Let me drink you away, let me drink you away.) So, I didn't want to use too much, but just kind of push it back, kind of give it a bigger sound for the solo. So you can see it with these few examples. Delay is a great way of placing sounds in the distance or keeping them upfront while extending them through to the back of the mix. I've done mixes that use delays as the primary depth device as opposed to using reverbs, and sometimes I'll get away using no reverb and only delays or very short reverbs in a mix.

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