Referring to an actual mix note from Allen Stone, Brian tackles the request to make both a lead vocal and a Wurlitzer piano "crunchier". Soundtoys Devil-Loc, Soundtoys Decapitator, Massey TapeHead, iZotope Nectar, and Waves SSL Channel are featured.
- [Narrator] So I want to read a note that I received from Allen Stone for this medley of tunes. There was one segment of the medley, this was recorded live, where he wanted to make the Rhodes and the vocal crunchier. So, I wanted to come up with a way to have them blend together and be different than the songs that come before and after it. That was the only one he wanted to affect and that's kind of tricky with a live recording because you're looking for consistency. But he hadn't given me too many notes on this so I wanted to accommodate.
And, so, let's listen to a snippet of the song that came before "Naturally", which is the name of this tune that we are going to work on today in the medley. (plays "Naturally") So here's how the vocal sounded. You can hear the bleed from the other instruments. I'm going to go back a little bit to play the piano. It's a Wurlitzer. Pure and clean, nothing too...
Crazy with that. And so, the request was... On the transition between this song and the next one that the vocals suddenly get crunchier and also the Wurlitzer gets crunchier. More distorted is the other way I would read crunchy. So remember, the word crunchy when given to you or when you want to say something like that means distorted, over-driven, those kind of descriptors.
So, you can see this is the automation line. You'll see that these three devices come into play as the song changes from one to the next. I'm going to solo the Rhodes here. (solos Rhodes piano) Not an unusual sound for a Wurlitzer to have.
I keep switching back between Rhodes and Wurlitzer, I think this is a Wurlitzer piano. I didn't think those same devices were going to be good for the vocals, so I gave him drive with tape-head here which made him sound a little more distorted than prior. And this was a processor I had had on his voice for the entire mix. So, the only thing that really changed was the amount of saturation distortion on the output.
And then, on Decapitator, here I even named it "tough vocal start". Let's see what it sounds like. (solos vocal track) Another way to describe that is, maybe you'd say it put a little hair on the voice, a little rattle, a little rub. Just enough to make an attitude adjustment in the vocal, to make him sound like he's singing a little harder. And that went along nicely with what we did to the Wurlitzer to make them both kind of fit in the same space, separate and apart from the three songs before and the one song after it.
I call that an attitude adjustment, sonically.
Join multiplatinum producer, engineer, and mixer Brian Malouf as he covers the many terms that musicians and non-musicians use to describe music. Brian explains the meaning behind the comments and also demonstrates techniques that can be applied to a mix in response to the notes. He covers lo-fi mix techniques, EQ techniques, changes to levels, adapting the ambience, making vibe and energy adjustments, working with compression options, and revising the placement location of elements in the sonic sphere.
- Lo-fi glossary
- Volume glossary
- Ambience glossary
- Location glossary
- Attitude adjustment glossary
- Compression glossary