Brian Malouf explores the idea of using subtractive EQ, using an EQ device to "ride" vocals in dense passages within a mix, and demonstrates how to achieve a musical "performance" to accentuate a singer’s own performance in this informative and unusual tutorial. Prior to the advent of 100% automatable mix tools and plugin parameters, this mixing technique was not possible.
- [Voiceover] I sometimes adjust the apparent level…of a vocal or instrument, not simply by moving the channel…fader up or down but rather to manipulate…just certain frequencies, certain focus frequencies for gain…change and this can be a really effective technique…within a really dense section of a mix…so that you're not brining up frequencies that you don't…need for clarity but rather just the frequencies you need.…This also can involve tucking frequencies…that you don't need.…So the ones that you like do stand out.…But, I wanna play for you half way through this chorus…and into the verse to demonstrate how the density…of the track changes and then what I did to fix…where the vocals sat as the track moved around it.…
Listen - ("Miss Can't Be Wrong" by Max Liberty)…Okay, so now I'm gonna go to the beginning of this chorus…to give you a better shot at it and I'll start…with my kind of older technique,…and this is before the advent of the next technique…I'm gonna show you was available to me.…
So let me solo these two vocals and show you…
Brian starts with the basics of creating a mix template and getting a good raw balance of the instruments in the mix. He then dives deep into signal processing techniques on many types of instruments, including drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, percussion, strings, and brass. He'll pick out and treat individual tracks with compression and EQ, add space with reverb and echo, and modulate the sound with flangers and phase shifters. Pro Tools is used throughout the course, but the techniques will work equally well with the DAW of your choice.
- Customizing a mix template
- Understanding the interplay of volume, panning, EQ, and dynamics
- Processing drums
- Processing lead and background vocals
- Gain processing
- Treating the bass guitar and synth guitar
- Placing piano in the mix
- Treating strings and brass