Tips for Mixing in Context of an Arrangement

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http://theproaudiofiles.com // http://mixthru.co // A video on mixing with the context of an arrangement in mind.

Transcript excerpt:

Hey, folks. Matthew Weiss — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com, and mixthru.co.

I’m going to give you a little tutorial video here, and it’s going to be one of my more conceptual ones. I’m a big proponent of really getting the fundamentals down, but the second level of mixing is putting the fundamentals in context of the music.

So, without extrapolating on that any more, here’s the section I’m working on.


And there’s a bridge section that occurs right before this chorus, which sounds like this.


So, back to the bridge real quick…


So there’s a couple of things going on that I want to address, because if you’re listening to this, I think the first inclination is to say, “Okay, well this sounds fine, so what’s the problem?”Well, if we start digging into it, first of all, the contrast between this bridge section and the chorus that I just pointed out, it’s clear and it’s there, but is it really the most it could be? I don’t think so. I’ll talk about why in a moment.

The other thing is I feel like there’s a certain dryness to this section that isn’t exclusively because of a lack of reverb.


Right? That two and that four beat are very tight right now, and I don’t know if that’s really what’s best for this section. What I’d like to hear is a little bit more release on the end of both the tambourine and the claps, and the other thing that I’m thinking is this tambourine just sticks out too much to me. Even though the level feels right, it’s just a little bit too bouncy in the top end.


Like, it feels like somebody just layered a tambourine on it, instead of a tambourine that’s sort of blending in with everything.

So the first thing I’m going to address is this clap. To make the clap more present and stronger without making it louder in the mix – because I think it’s balanced – a good way to do that is to use compression, and compression is not only a good technique for that, but it’s also something where we’re going to extend the release of the clap in the process.

So I want both things. I wouldn’t mind a meatier clap sound, and I also definitely want more of that wind that’s coming off the end of the clap. Then I’m also going to use a little bit of distortion to make the clap a little crustier and to make it kind of blend with some of the other crunchier sounds that happen to be in this section.

So here’s the before.

[mix, before and after]

And what’s important to note is note only does the clap get more present, but it does it without getting brighter. It does it without necessarily getting louder, and it does it in a way where it feels thicker, not just that it’s more there, but that the duration of it is also a little bit longer, and those are the subtle differences, because if I just wanted more clap, I could just turn it up, but I want more clap in the sense that it grabs the ear more and that it extends through the rhythm of the track in a more cohesive way.

Then, to address the tambourine, because I’m adding this distortion to the clap and because I’m trying to get this sort of crustier, analogier sound, and because there’s too much brightness to the tambourine, all of these things lead me to use a very unique processing on the tambourine.

I’m going to use a SansAmp, and I’m going to use it to extend the note, I’m going to use it to roll off high end, and I’m going to use it to change the texture, and all of those things are going to aid the overall feel and emotion of what I’m trying to go for on this bridge.


Just to hear that a little more clearly, I’ll go to an earlier section real quick and play a before and after.


So, I’m extending the note, I’m making it feel more distant, I’m rolling off top end while retaining a certain amount of presence to it, I’m changing the texture to sound a lot more “analogy,” a lot crustier and dirtier, and what’s going to happen in the process of this, is because I am rolling off so much top end from the tambourine, when the chorus then kicks in, we’re going to feel that contrast more dramatically.

[song plays]

And the tambourine I think is the lynchpin of all of this. It’s the corner stone of making this all work, mostly because the note extends in a really flattering way.

Like, here’s without it.

It’s really tight, right? Then here’s with it.



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Used tags are arrangement,Bridge,Chorus,claps,compress,Compression,compressor,context,Distortion,EQ,matthew weiss,Mix,Mixing,mixing claps,mixing percussion,mixing tambourine,Percussion,plugins,Pro Tools,tambourine,the pro audio files,theproaudiofiles.com

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