Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with the PSP ChannelStrip, part of iPad Music Production: Auria.
Once you have your tracks recorded and your regions edited and arranged, it's time to start mixing your song. At its most basic, mixing involves adjusting the overall volume of each track in relation to the other tracks in order to create the most pleasing and impactful version of your song. But in addition to adjusting the track levels, mixing can also involve adding effects, padding tracks left to right in the stereo field, adding EQ and Compression to the project as a whole, and much more. So in this chapter we're going to touch on several concepts and tools you will need to understand in order to mix your song in Auria. I would like to start by looking at the PSP ChannelStrip.
Each track in the mixer window has an FX button, and tapping it brings up the ChannelStrip for that track. The ChannelStrip is a collection of effects and processors that apply exclusively to the track they are on. This allows you to do things like add a Compression or tweak the EQ of a specific track without affecting the sound of the other tracks. This is called the PSP Channel Strip because it was developed for Auria by a company called PSPaudioware, but we'll just call it the ChannelStrip. PSPaudioware develops dozens of audio plug-ins for computer-based DAWs, and now they are porting many of them over to Auria.
Let's start on the right side of the channel strip. Notice this Fader here, since the ChannelStrip takes up so much screen space, it can be difficult to get to the fader of the track you are working on. That's why this fader is here, it controls the level of the track just the same way as the regular fader. Notice if I move that fader, the fader on the track moves as well. Similarly, you'll find the Mute and Solo buttons here as well. Notice both light up as I tap them, and if you tap the PAN/AUX tab here at the top, you'll get access to the panning and auxiliary dials that are found on the channel too.
So it's easy to control those aspects of your track without having to move the channel strip window around. Additionally, this is also where you'll find the Track Freeze, Saturation, and Polarity switch buttons. We've already seen the Track Freeze button in action. It's useful when your project gets too taxing on your iPad's processor, and you start seeing messages to that effect. Freezing the track in place temporarily writes all the FX settings to that track and prevents any other edits from being made which freeze up processing power. Saturation can be used to add warmth to your recording. According to the Auria user manual, it emulates a sound of an analog style recording.
Now since there are no settings, it's a simple on/off switch here, you can judge for yourself whether enabling it helps your track. And the Polarity button is used to invert the polarity of the channel when your track is out of phase with another track. This can happen when two or more mics are used record the same performance. Mics that are out of phase can cause frequency cancellation, which can have a negative effect on the sound of your mix. So the Freeze Track, Saturation, and Polarity buttons are found here exclusively, but everything else here on the right side of the channel strip is a mirror of what's found on each track. Now the rest of the channel strip is comprised of three main components.
We have the Expander, the Equalizer, and the Compressor. And you enable each of these by tapping the buttons below. There is the Expander, the Equalizer, and the Compressor. But in order for any of them to have any effect, you have to make sure the Bypass button is not enabled up here. The Bypass button as you might guess by passes or mutes all the processors, whether they are turned on or not. I'm going to make sure that's turned off. Now I am not going to get into the exact use of each of these processors, that would be an entire course in and of itself, and in fact, if you really want to learn how to properly apply these processors to your tracks, be sure to check out the courses at lynda.com in the series called Foundations of Audio.
We have one called Compression and Dynamic Processing, as well as one called EQ and Filters, and both will give you the detailed info you need to use those tools properly. But for now, let me give you a brief rundown. The Expander is typically used to reduce or eliminate unwanted noises in your recording, like ambient noises, hums or other sounds that might have bled into your recording. For example, may be I want to isolate the kick drum on the kick drum track. If you listen to it as is, you can hear a lot of the other drums and cymbals bleeding through. I'm going to solo the kick drum track, and let's just listen for few seconds.
(music playing) So you can hear a lot of the snare drum on that track. So in this case, I can enable the Expander by clicking its button. Again, I'm making sure the Bypass button is not enabled in this case. I'll just do a quick adjustment here by setting the ratio to Gate, and I'm going to reduce the Threshold. Now let's see how it sounds now. (music playing) And now we're hearing primarily kick.
Now this just a very quick example of what you could do with the Expander. I would definitely spend a lot more time adjusting the settings in a real mixing situation. Now the next section is the Equalizer or EQ. EQs are used to control the levels and relationships of specific frequencies in your recordings. For example, if you're hearing a little too much bass in the recording, you can cut out the lower frequencies without altering the mid and high frequencies. Basically, the EQ here in Auria is divided into the high and low pass filters, the low and high middle filters, and the low and high shell filters. You also choose whether the EQ or the Compressor will be first in the signal chain, meaning do you want to EQ the raw sound as it was recorded or after it's been processed through the compressor.
Sometimes you can end up with two very different sounds. As I've been mentioning, the EQ button turns the EQ on and off. So, for example, maybe I want to apply some EQ to the snare. I'll tap the FX button on the snare track, you can see it's changed to ChannelStrip2 Snare. I'll make sure Bypass is off, EQ is already on here, and I will Solo the snare. And I really want the snare to pop a little more and maybe eliminate a little of the kick drum that's bleeding in the channel as well. So I'm going to activate the High Pass Filter.
I going to roll off the frequencies that are below about 90 Hz, and I'll take care of a good amount of that kick drum. And it might be nice to really hear those brushes hitting the snare drum. So I'm going to activate the mid to high frequencies band selector, and I'm going to boost the Gain, so I can hear better as I sweep through the frequencies to figure out where the sound of the brush is hitting the snare really jumps out. So I'll play the track as I adjust the settings. (music playing) So pretty boxy there, all right, so I think right about there at 2.5 K sounds pretty good, but now I need to reduce the Gain.
(music playing) So now the snare is really jumping out for me, but let me play a little bit more, and you can hear what it sounds like with and without the EQ. (music playing) And again, definitely check out Foundations of Audio EQ and Filters if you need a refresher on EQ Settings. Now the third section is the Compressor, which is used to decrease the dynamic range of your recording, allowing you to raise the level of the entire track without clipping.
Compressors are useful with recording that have wide range of volume where you might have difficulty hearing the quieter parts, while the louder parts come across too aggressively, that presents a classic mixing challenge. A Compressor contains a louder of parts of the recording while boosting the quieter parts, to give you a more even sound recording, effectively reducing the dynamic range of the performance. Let's use our bass for the example here, I'll Solo up the bass, make sure bass is selected, you can see ChannelStrip5 Bass, turn off the Bypass. So first, I'm going to turn on the Soft to provide a smoother attack on the compressor.
And I'm going to give this a decent amount of compression at say 4 to 1. I'll set the attack to about 50 milliseconds, and remember you can keep an eye on the display at the top to see exactly where you are setting these settings, and I'll set the Release to slightly longer, maybe about 650, and that will increase the sustain of the bass without chopping up the transients, meaning the initial spike or attack of the notes. And lastly, I'm going to increase the Output Gain a bit to make up for the Reduction and Gain that comes from Compression.
Of course, I'm going to make sure the Compressor is actually on, and let's give that a listen. (music playing) Now listening to it, I actually noticed that it got a little bit quieter with the compressor, so I do need to add a little bit more Gain. Now in the Compressor there's also a Make- Up Gain button, which can help bring the track back up closer to its original level. All right, let's listen again.
(music playing) All right, that sounds much better at this point. Now again, I'm not getting into the details of how to use these processors in this course, because they each require a significant amount of time to explain and learn, and they are covered extensively in other courses on lynda.com.
Now there's one other section of the ChannelStrip here on the right side, and this is where you add Inserts and Plug-Ins to your track, and we'll take a look at this section in the next movie.
This course will be updated regularly as new features are added to Auria, so check back often. Working with a different app? Check out other installments in this series, including iPad Music Production: GarageBand and iPad Music Production: AmpliTube.
- Creating a new project
- Importing audio
- Using external audio inputs
- Recording tracks
- Using Auto-Punch
- Overdubbing a track
- Trimming regions and adding fades
- Using auxiliaries
- Using automation
- Creating snapshots
- Exporting your project