In this mixing tutorial, Brian Malouf pulls back the curtain on how to deal with a group of instruments that many mixers encounter very infrequently: brass sections. Brass sections are a somewhat rare animal in today’s pop music culture, but are enjoying a renaissance today, and Brian shows you the not only the devices he uses to get a live - piece horn section to speak, but to also make them sound "vintage" and special at the same time.
- [Voiceover] Brass instruments, trumpets, trombones,…the saxophones, they're all enjoying…a bit of a resurgence in pop music,…and they were once a staple of any well-produced single.…It sort of meant that there was money behind your record…if you had horns on it.…I want to show you a couple of my go-to techniques…to get a punchy and present brass sound,…and all within your mix,…so let's play a little bit of Allen Stone, Freedom.…Thank you Allen for letting us use this.…("Freedom" by Allen Stone)…Solo now.…
(brass components of "Freedom" by Allen Stone)…Alright, start taking effects off.…(brass components of "Freedom" by Allen Stone)…Here's what the horns sound like…without any ambience added.…Let's hear that in the track for a second.…Go back.…("Freedom" by Allen Stone)…So I added the reverbs back in to demonstrate…that inside the track I don't necessarily…really want to hear the reverb,…but I just sort of want to feel it.…
Because when I turn them on and off,…it's not like, oh, wow, what a huge difference.…You hear it when they're soloed, obviously,…
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