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Audio Mixing and Mastering

Learn the skills and techniques that are used by the professionals for mixing and mastering audio.

Audio Mixing and Mastering

Learn the skills and techniques that are used by the professionals for mixing and mastering audio.
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Find out about all the ideas and concepts that will be discussed in this course. You are about to get a whole new perspective on mixing and mastering techniques.
Meet the instructor: David Hughes. I've been working in audio production for over 2 decades and there is so much to learn, know, and utilize in this industry. I'm making this course to share some of my knowledge with you. I can be a creative mind at times or I can be a bit of a perfectionist, but it all boils down to the end result. That's what I want to help you find through these courses. A more polished and professional sound for your final mixes. Each of these videos will explore a different technique, so we'll be bouncing around from song to song as we work on different aspects of each mix.
You should always be tracking in 32-bit float or higher resolution. Let me show you the main reason why tracking in 24-bit or lower can come back to haunt you when you start to mix your tracks.
1:06:00
Learn techniques related to vocal mixing. Here you will find techniques for using EQ, Compression, and various other signal processing techniques for vocals. If you're adventurous, try some of these techniques on other types of audio tracks. You never know what new and interesting ideas you may discover.
The audio production industry is moving more towards the digital domain every day. Now that most plugin manufacturers are creating emulations of famous analog consoles, you can harness the awesome power of those console channel strips. Let's take a look at the UAD SSL channel strip and I'll show you how to apply a channel strip to your vocal tracks to give them a more rounded and even sound that is reminiscent of the vintage consoles.
Everyone likes to have big wide vocals that really pop out of the speakers and engage the listener. Here are some thoughts and ideas that I have implemented in my mixes to get a bigger spread to my vocal mix.
Giving your vocal tracks that extra bit of shine can really make your mixes pop and stand out from the rest of the music in the world. When you apply just a touch of 'shine' to your mixes, you will also find that you don't need to use a lot of compressions to find a good spot for your vocals in the mix.
Compression and limiting can be used to get a vocal to sit in a mix. When you have the dynamic range of a vocal under control, you have the ability to find the right spot for it amongst all your instruments. You don't have to smash a vocal with compression and limiting to get it to level out. Here you will get some insight as to how transient and peak level control can be used to find a place for a vocal in a mix.
This technique is not for everyone or for every mix. Yet sometimes you want to have something else to color and texture your vocals. Adding distortion to your signal chain can help vocals fit into a heavy mix. If you need to really compress and thin your dynamic range then you will probably like to experiment with this technique. I stress that you should use this only when needed and even then you should lean on the lighter side and work your way up to a heavier distortion if the mix demands more.
This is one of my secret weapons when I'm working on a mix that may require less processing, but still needs the vocal to rise above the music in the mix. You could use this technique in almost any mix to help your vocals rise and there is almost always some positive result from using this technique. Give it a shot and see how your mixes will transform when you apply the short reverb technique that I've developed.
When you record a band live with lots of bleed between the microphones, you'll need to focus on what track is going to be your main track. Typically that track is the vocal track. Here I'll show you how to use that track to build and shape your mix and make the vocals work well with all the other tracks you need in the mix. This will help you control the bleed and make the most of the performance when it is played back for listening.
Using multiple delays can really enhance your mix. Giving you more motion in your mix allows you to find new ways to draw attention to different aspects of your mix. This video will show you one technique I like to use on vocals to accent different parts of the lyrics to keep the music moving in multiple directions.
Your BPM grid may not always give you the space you need to create a delay effect. In this video, I have a vocal line that I want to delay just a half note to create a call-and-response type of effect. Since the vocalist has some swing to her timing, I'll be showing you how to create a new track and 'nudge' the 2nd track exactly 1/2 note to get the desired effect.
A different reverb sound on your verse vocals and your chorus vocals can build up a new dynamic within your mix. Let me show you how I like to use 2 different reverbs on each of the vocal parts to get a new feel and dynamic that helps separate the mood and feel of each section of a song.
Now it's time to tame those wild riffs that just shred through your mix. Guitars are lead instruments by nature and can have a big impact on the overall sound of a song. Getting guitars to play nice in the mix is not always an easy task. Let's look at some of the ways that you can start to blend them into your mix.
Heavy metal guitars can be a bit muddy and too heavy straight from a mic'd cabinet. Using EQ to clean up the tonal balance of your guitar tracks can provide the clarity you need to sit them into the mix. Let me show you how I like to EQ guitars when the distortion gets to be a bit too heavy on the bottom end.
Let's look at a double-track guitar session that needs a bit of reverb. It's important to determine how the reverb will blend in with the original guitar tone to make it sound as if all the guitar tracks are in the same space within the mix. I'll be using an auxiliary send to control the EQ and the level of the reverb as it is mixed into the guitar bus.
The pulse of a mix is in the rhythm section. The bass guitar in a mix can drive that pulse and get your body moving. No matter what style of music you are working on, there is always a certain amount of attention that the bass guitar will demand. Let's look at a few of the techniques that I use on a regular basis to find new and creative ways to get the bass where it needs to be in the mix.
Everyone likes to hear deep bass that has a lot of power. When you find that your bass lacks that extra oomph that it needs, you should try out my recipe for a bass boost.
Heavy mixes sometimes need a bass that has some grit and growl. Using a parallel processing technique in this video I'll show you how to blend a distortion sound into the bass mix that will give you that aggressive sound that you seek.
I know this one sounds a bit strange. You're probably saying, "David, Bass is mono." Well, you're technically correct, but that is not an absolute fact. All sounds can be moved to the stereo spectrum if needed. Let me show you one situation where it's more beneficial to the mix to have a big wide bass sound.
The punch and thump is the cornerstone of your mix. When you get the kick to the perfect spot in your mix it feels like everything else starts to fall in place. These videos will give you some new ways at how you approach the mixing for your kicks and subs.
If you're mixing music for playback in clubs, then you have a few vital things to consider. This video is going to help you think about some key factors that you need to consider when you aim for a final sound that will be played in a club setting. If your kick sounds good in a club sound system, you will find that DJs will regularly return to your music for their playlist selections.
Make your kick punch through the mix! Get that big sound that really drives a mix and gets hips in motion. Let's look at some keys to getting a punchy kick with EQ and signal processing.
Get in the groove with your percussion tracks. Drums can set the pace and rhythm of your music, so it's really important to make sure they have the right tone and space in your mix.
All those drums that are not your kick or snare can bring life and depth into your mix. Let me show you how I like to combine and mix toms into a track to get the right sound for the music.
Now let's have some fun with synths! The strange and unusual virtual instruments that you have collecting dust in your plugin folder are about to become some of your everyday tools. Being able to control and manipulate your synths will open so many doors for you to find new sounds that will enhance and build your mixes to new heights.
Using key inputs is one way I like to make a motion in synths. Now you could spend hours cutting up your waveforms or you can just trigger them from a key input. Most gate plugins have a key input feature. Let me show you how I used an old high hat track to trigger a synth into more motion.
When you need your synth tones to hold on and sustain deeper into your compositions, you need this technique. The good news is that this technique can be applied to almost any track in your session. So buckle up and get ready to really expand your production workflow as we take a look at building a longer sustain to a synth track.
Synths that have motion are always more playful in a mix. You don't have to do too much to get a synth in motion. Let me show you how I set up a stereo delay to make a synth more active in a mix.
This is where we go off the deep end and try some new mix techniques that are quite unusual. These are ideas that I've developed that will either make a huge impact on a mix or absolutely destroy it. It's just one of those things that you've got to try out and see if it works. Not all of these techniques will be useful for all mixes, but I hope you find something here that opens your mind to exploring some new ideas.
Let's add some effects to the effects. How about we modulate a track that is already side-chained to the main track. This isn't that wild of an idea, but it is somewhat unorthodox. Let's push some buttons and see what happens.
Your DAW has a gain plugin that allows you to adjust the level of your signal. This isn't a crucial mixing technique, but I find it quite useful when I want to work on my volume levels with the faders. The gain (trim in Pro Tools) plugin allows you to set a reasonable level for your output so that you can blend it more reasonably with the faders in your post-production workflow. I know this may seem odd to you, but check out this video and see if this is something you want to start working into your mixes.

You may know how to use a compressor, EQ, and have a stable grasp on your mixing workflow. Great! Now it's time to broaden your knowledge and learn some new techniques from a seasoned professional. This video series is here to help you expand your knowledge of mixing and find new ways to incorporate a new workflow into your audio production.

This course is designed to show you different scenarios of approaching your audio production workflow. Each video in this course will show you a new technique that is used here at Shine On Studio to mix or master audio for a professional result. Obviously, the outcome will be dependent on the source material that you are working on, but you will gain insight into how to approach your workflow in a new manner. I've been developing and using these techniques for over 20 years and have developed a reputation for having a unique style of producing and editing audio. Now it's time for me to share these concepts with you so that you may be able to start working on developing own style of production. Please feel free to combine techniques shown in these videos and then develop your new ideas to customize your production.

I will be using Pro Tools as my primary DAW in this course. The concepts and techniques can be used in the DAW that you are currently working on. I will occasionally discuss Pro Tools terms and techniques, but that will not be the main focus of this course.

This isn't a standard mixing class, so beginners may have difficulty with some of the terminology. I will do my best to give clear explanations of all the techniques that are demonstrated in this course.

What will you learn in this course?

You will learn some alternative ways to mix. This course doesn't demonstrate mixing from scratch.

Who should take this course?

Anyone seeking to learn more about audio production.

Requirements

You should have a basic understanding and the terms associated with audio production.

Find out about all the ideas and concepts that will be discussed in this course. You are about to get a whole new perspective on mixing and mastering techniques.
Meet the instructor: David Hughes. I've been working in audio production for over 2 decades and there is so much to learn, know, and utilize in this industry. I'm making this course to share some of my knowledge with you. I can be a creative mind at times or I can be a bit of a perfectionist, but it all boils down to the end result. That's what I want to help you find through these courses. A more polished and professional sound for your final mixes. Each of these videos will explore a different technique, so we'll be bouncing around from song to song as we work on different aspects of each mix.
You should always be tracking in 32-bit float or higher resolution. Let me show you the main reason why tracking in 24-bit or lower can come back to haunt you when you start to mix your tracks.
1:06:00
Learn techniques related to vocal mixing. Here you will find techniques for using EQ, Compression, and various other signal processing techniques for vocals. If you're adventurous, try some of these techniques on other types of audio tracks. You never know what new and interesting ideas you may discover.
The audio production industry is moving more towards the digital domain every day. Now that most plugin manufacturers are creating emulations of famous analog consoles, you can harness the awesome power of those console channel strips. Let's take a look at the UAD SSL channel strip and I'll show you how to apply a channel strip to your vocal tracks to give them a more rounded and even sound that is reminiscent of the vintage consoles.
Everyone likes to have big wide vocals that really pop out of the speakers and engage the listener. Here are some thoughts and ideas that I have implemented in my mixes to get a bigger spread to my vocal mix.
Giving your vocal tracks that extra bit of shine can really make your mixes pop and stand out from the rest of the music in the world. When you apply just a touch of 'shine' to your mixes, you will also find that you don't need to use a lot of compressions to find a good spot for your vocals in the mix.
Compression and limiting can be used to get a vocal to sit in a mix. When you have the dynamic range of a vocal under control, you have the ability to find the right spot for it amongst all your instruments. You don't have to smash a vocal with compression and limiting to get it to level out. Here you will get some insight as to how transient and peak level control can be used to find a place for a vocal in a mix.
This technique is not for everyone or for every mix. Yet sometimes you want to have something else to color and texture your vocals. Adding distortion to your signal chain can help vocals fit into a heavy mix. If you need to really compress and thin your dynamic range then you will probably like to experiment with this technique. I stress that you should use this only when needed and even then you should lean on the lighter side and work your way up to a heavier distortion if the mix demands more.
This is one of my secret weapons when I'm working on a mix that may require less processing, but still needs the vocal to rise above the music in the mix. You could use this technique in almost any mix to help your vocals rise and there is almost always some positive result from using this technique. Give it a shot and see how your mixes will transform when you apply the short reverb technique that I've developed.
When you record a band live with lots of bleed between the microphones, you'll need to focus on what track is going to be your main track. Typically that track is the vocal track. Here I'll show you how to use that track to build and shape your mix and make the vocals work well with all the other tracks you need in the mix. This will help you control the bleed and make the most of the performance when it is played back for listening.
Using multiple delays can really enhance your mix. Giving you more motion in your mix allows you to find new ways to draw attention to different aspects of your mix. This video will show you one technique I like to use on vocals to accent different parts of the lyrics to keep the music moving in multiple directions.
Your BPM grid may not always give you the space you need to create a delay effect. In this video, I have a vocal line that I want to delay just a half note to create a call-and-response type of effect. Since the vocalist has some swing to her timing, I'll be showing you how to create a new track and 'nudge' the 2nd track exactly 1/2 note to get the desired effect.
A different reverb sound on your verse vocals and your chorus vocals can build up a new dynamic within your mix. Let me show you how I like to use 2 different reverbs on each of the vocal parts to get a new feel and dynamic that helps separate the mood and feel of each section of a song.
Now it's time to tame those wild riffs that just shred through your mix. Guitars are lead instruments by nature and can have a big impact on the overall sound of a song. Getting guitars to play nice in the mix is not always an easy task. Let's look at some of the ways that you can start to blend them into your mix.
Heavy metal guitars can be a bit muddy and too heavy straight from a mic'd cabinet. Using EQ to clean up the tonal balance of your guitar tracks can provide the clarity you need to sit them into the mix. Let me show you how I like to EQ guitars when the distortion gets to be a bit too heavy on the bottom end.
Let's look at a double-track guitar session that needs a bit of reverb. It's important to determine how the reverb will blend in with the original guitar tone to make it sound as if all the guitar tracks are in the same space within the mix. I'll be using an auxiliary send to control the EQ and the level of the reverb as it is mixed into the guitar bus.
The pulse of a mix is in the rhythm section. The bass guitar in a mix can drive that pulse and get your body moving. No matter what style of music you are working on, there is always a certain amount of attention that the bass guitar will demand. Let's look at a few of the techniques that I use on a regular basis to find new and creative ways to get the bass where it needs to be in the mix.
Everyone likes to hear deep bass that has a lot of power. When you find that your bass lacks that extra oomph that it needs, you should try out my recipe for a bass boost.
Heavy mixes sometimes need a bass that has some grit and growl. Using a parallel processing technique in this video I'll show you how to blend a distortion sound into the bass mix that will give you that aggressive sound that you seek.
I know this one sounds a bit strange. You're probably saying, "David, Bass is mono." Well, you're technically correct, but that is not an absolute fact. All sounds can be moved to the stereo spectrum if needed. Let me show you one situation where it's more beneficial to the mix to have a big wide bass sound.
The punch and thump is the cornerstone of your mix. When you get the kick to the perfect spot in your mix it feels like everything else starts to fall in place. These videos will give you some new ways at how you approach the mixing for your kicks and subs.
If you're mixing music for playback in clubs, then you have a few vital things to consider. This video is going to help you think about some key factors that you need to consider when you aim for a final sound that will be played in a club setting. If your kick sounds good in a club sound system, you will find that DJs will regularly return to your music for their playlist selections.
Make your kick punch through the mix! Get that big sound that really drives a mix and gets hips in motion. Let's look at some keys to getting a punchy kick with EQ and signal processing.
Get in the groove with your percussion tracks. Drums can set the pace and rhythm of your music, so it's really important to make sure they have the right tone and space in your mix.
All those drums that are not your kick or snare can bring life and depth into your mix. Let me show you how I like to combine and mix toms into a track to get the right sound for the music.
Now let's have some fun with synths! The strange and unusual virtual instruments that you have collecting dust in your plugin folder are about to become some of your everyday tools. Being able to control and manipulate your synths will open so many doors for you to find new sounds that will enhance and build your mixes to new heights.
Using key inputs is one way I like to make a motion in synths. Now you could spend hours cutting up your waveforms or you can just trigger them from a key input. Most gate plugins have a key input feature. Let me show you how I used an old high hat track to trigger a synth into more motion.
When you need your synth tones to hold on and sustain deeper into your compositions, you need this technique. The good news is that this technique can be applied to almost any track in your session. So buckle up and get ready to really expand your production workflow as we take a look at building a longer sustain to a synth track.
Synths that have motion are always more playful in a mix. You don't have to do too much to get a synth in motion. Let me show you how I set up a stereo delay to make a synth more active in a mix.
This is where we go off the deep end and try some new mix techniques that are quite unusual. These are ideas that I've developed that will either make a huge impact on a mix or absolutely destroy it. It's just one of those things that you've got to try out and see if it works. Not all of these techniques will be useful for all mixes, but I hope you find something here that opens your mind to exploring some new ideas.
Let's add some effects to the effects. How about we modulate a track that is already side-chained to the main track. This isn't that wild of an idea, but it is somewhat unorthodox. Let's push some buttons and see what happens.
Your DAW has a gain plugin that allows you to adjust the level of your signal. This isn't a crucial mixing technique, but I find it quite useful when I want to work on my volume levels with the faders. The gain (trim in Pro Tools) plugin allows you to set a reasonable level for your output so that you can blend it more reasonably with the faders in your post-production workflow. I know this may seem odd to you, but check out this video and see if this is something you want to start working into your mixes.

About the instructors

Shine On Studio

Professional Audio Production
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I opened Shine On Studio in 2001. Since then I have worked on thousands of audio recordings for music, television, documentaries, commercials, audio books, guided meditations, voice over, and some things I never imagined. I've learned how to make a solid living in the audio production business and I'm here to share some of my insights and techniques with you. If you'd like to know more about my professional background, you can visit my studio website

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